Mallika Sherawat's digital debut

The subject matter is based on an incident that happened to me in real life.

Mallika Sherawat has made her online debut with the reality web-series The Story. In her episode, the actress recounts a real-life encounter with an online stalker who wanted her to trade in her short-skirted avatar for a more desi look.

Talking about her experience shooting for the show, she says, “It was a very good experience, and the team is very nice. The subject matter is based on an incident that happened to me in real life. We chose it because it’s something that happens all the time in India. I had a tough time shooting it because I had to go through a lot of real emotions on screen. The director wanted me to get violent and slap someone, among other things, and that was very hard.”

Celebrities, and actresses in particular, usually dread talking about things that have happened to them off-screen, but Mallika has no qualms about it. “You should lead by example. According to a recent report, India is the most dangerous place in the world for a woman. It more dangerous than Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. When I read that, I connected it with my story, and found that it’s very true,” she says.

“Women are coming out of the kitchen and working late hours at call centres and other places. It’s important for them to know self-defence so they can protect themselves if the government and the justice system cannot. Housewives are also subjected to domestic violence,” adds the actress who’s received fighting lessons from Jackie Chan himself.

“I was shooting a film with Jackie Chan a few years ago, and I learnt self-defence from him for six months,” she chuckles.

Delving into details of the story narrated by her on the web-series, Mallika says, “It’s about this man who used to stalk me and write me letters asking why I’m wearing short skirts and spoiling Haryana’s name. Women are judged if they wear short skirts, and this man took it personally. He wanted to see me in a saree, with a pallu. Indian society is hypocritical. It has different rules for men and women.”

This is not the first time that the actress is standing up against misogyny and abuse. She’s also the brand ambassador for the Free A Girl Foundation which works to rehabilitate child sex workers. “We rescue girls, rehabilitate them, and help them get law degrees. They begin their careers by working as interns at law firms,” she says.

She says that people’s perception of celebrities’ lives being all hunky dory is a fallacy. “It is not true. We have our own set of problems. We are always being judged. We are always open to judgement by other people,” she says.

Meanwhile, Mallika has bought the rights to remake The Good Wife, and she’s making an Indian adaptation of it. “I am producing it and acting in it. I am very excited because mine is the central character, and it has a vast emotional range. It’s not a character that’s black or white – it’s grey. She fights for the underdog and is an emotional person, but you’ll often question why she behaves in a certain way,” she says of her upcoming project.

— Sanskriti Media

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