Is Mallika married?
There are two Mallika Sherawats, probably more, I'm not sure. But there was one Mallika who would ring me persistently before the release of her career-making film Murder crying over how unjust Bollywood was to her and her ilk who came from outside.
"You only like Kareena Kapoor," she once pouted in her pre-Murder days. "She's your favourite and I feel so jealous." Then she sobbed about how badly Kareena had treated her during the making of Jeena Sirf Terre Liye where Mallika, then known as Reema Lamba, was ignored, snubbed and all but expelled into outer space by the star.
I almost felt sorry for this shivering moaning child from Rohtak exposed to the cruel blows of destiny.
Suddenly the blows vanished. And there emerged another Mallika whom I got a glimpse of a day after Murder opened to wolf-whistles. Very frankly, I was surprised by her performance in Murder - Mallika's powers of self-renewal were evident in how far she had moved since her last film Khwahish.
Now I was treated to an even more rapid process of renewal, as she went straight from being anxious and vulnerable to confident and defiant that too within two hours of the film's release.
I remember her excited call from some north Indian town (was it Jabalpur?) informing me about how men were rushing to see her at every theatre showing Murder. "I've never seen such sexually charged crowds before!"
Sexually charged? I wondered if that was good or bad. When I expressed concern about her safety, she turned the pout on full blast.
"Subhashji, I just don't feel safe any longer (after Murder). I live alone in Mumbai and anything can happen. For a small town girl it's very unsettling to be put through so much unwanted attention," she said.