Mallika Sherwat was the Item Queen of 2011, grooving to a Razia in Thank You, following up with more jhatkas and matkas in Bin Bulaiye Baraati’s Shalu Ke Thumke, topping the charts with Double Dhamaal’s Jalebi Bai and finally, doing a Munni Badnaam Hui with a Kalasala Kalasala and Sonu Sood in the Tamil remake of Dabangg, Osthi.
But the actor has not signed up for a single special appearance track in a movie this year. Instead, the unpredictable Mallika has gone ahead and signed two films, Lucky Unlucky and Love Kismet Paisa Dilli (KLPD), that you would describe as middle-of-the-road cinema. They are with new-age directors, Afzal Rizvi and Sanjay Khanduri, opposite Sonu Sood and Vivek Oberoi respectively.
"They are great scripts, rooted in real life with scope for performance. I had loved Sanjay’s Ek Challis Ki Last Local and told him that anytime he was making a movie that had a role suited for me, I’d want to be considered," says Mallika, adding, "Working with writer-directors who have the guts to cast me in roles that are completely opposed to the glamorous image that I’m usually trapped in, has made this one of the happiest phases of my career."
She recalls how she arrived from Los Angeles to find a huge crowd gathered around her car and the windscreen had shattered. Naturally she assumed the worst thinking there had been an accident. "And then Vivek pops up and from that moment it was all fun and games that continued on the sets," she laughs.
Quiz her on reports about her wanting a make-up man from Hollywood, Jeffery Paul, who had prettied her up to walk the Oscar Red Carpet and charged Rs 1 Lakh per day for KLPD and Mallika retorts, "What would I do with a make-up man when I’m not even wearing make-up in the film? All this juicy gossip not only keeps the reader entertained but us too. You learn not to take it seriously. I’ve become like the Laughing Buddha who takes the good with the bad and enjoys both."
She plays a Jat sprinter in Lucky Unlucky and a Delhi girl in KLPD. During the shooting of the latter, she was thrilled to re-visit her haunts in the capital city. "It was so much fun shooting in the North Campus. It brought back memories of my Delhi University days. We even dropped into De Paul’s where we would bunk classes to meet for coffee," she exults.
"Delhi has changed a lot since, one of the biggest changes being the Delhi Metro that figures in this story that unfolds in the course of one night. But despite all the changes Dilli is Dilli and I’m loving it."