For the first time I will be at Cannes without a movie to promote and the pressures of interviews. I can enjoy the beauty of the French Riviera,” says Mallika Sherawat, who will attend a charity gala hosted by AMFAR, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the support of AIDS research and cure.
“A close friend has been HIV positive for 20 years. This is the third year in a row that I’ll be attending the gala, anything to help the cause.”
It has invested $325 million since 1985 and Mallika is pushing AMFAR to come here. “Most people have no idea that India is an AIDS hotspot. It is spreading and the government doesn’t seem to be bothered,” she rues.
The AMFAR gala has attracted A-list celebrities like Prince Albert of Monaco, Nicole Kidman, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez. Mallika, the only Indian celebrity to attend it, is excited about meeting Michelle Williams: “My brother Vikram will be escorting me, unless I find a handsome Frenchman.”
She will be wearing gowns by Dior and Dolce & Gabbana, and diamonds by leading French jeweler Boucheron. “The snake, the waiters in Barack Obama masks and the over-the-top gowns were to draw attention to the movies I was promoting — The Myth (2005), Hissss (2010) and Politics Of Love (2011),” she says.
“This year, it’s for a cause, but I’ve got to make sure I get my style statement right as critics already have their pens out to rip us and our stylists.”