India is 'regressive, depressing', says Mallika Sherawat

India is "regressive for women" and a "depressing" place to be, says Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat, explaining why she divides her time between India and the US.

Saturday, May 25, 2013 | 5:58:18 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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mallika sherawat

India is "regressive for women" and a "depressing" place to be, says Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat, explaining why she divides her time between India and the US.

She was speaking the 66th Cannes International Film Festival, at an interaction at The Variety Studio. Mallika has flaunted the link of her interview on her Twitter page.

Talking to Variety's Steve Gaydos, the 36-year-old Indian actress, who divides her time between India and Los Angeles, was highly critical of her country, particularly for women.

"I made a conscious decision to divide my time between Los Angeles and India," she said.

"So when I enjoy the social freedom in America and go back to India, which is so regressive for women, it's depressing. As an independent woman, it's really depressing."

Hailing from Rohtak in Haryana, Mallika entered the Indian film industry in 2003 with "Khwahish" and grabbed headlines for her cleavage-baring clothes and over 15 screen kisses.

She also starred in popular Hindi films like "Murder" and "Welcome".

She went international with Jackie Chan-starrer 2005 film "The Myth", and then did Jennifer Lynch's "Hisss" and William Dear's "Politics of Love".

Mallika's first visit to the Cannes fest was with Jackie Chan for the promotion of "The Myth".

The actress is now busy with an Indian film, "Dirty Politics".

Talking about it, she said: "The film began six months ago and it's a biopic. It's a story of a woman who is a nurse, she gets involved with a politician and gets murdered in the end. It shows how the government reacts to it."

Mallika went on: "India is a hypocritical society where women are really at the bottom as compared to men. And here was this woman (in the film) who actually had the courage to stand up to this politician who kind of raped her, molested her, abused her and record his misgivings and release it to the press.

"You don't do that in a country like India, and she had the courage to do that."

She claimed she was the first actress in India to kiss on screen and wear a bikini.

"And instantly I became a fallen woman and a superstar at the same time. Because there is a moral code - that this is what a leading lady can do on screen and this is what she can't do.

"But I did everything I am not supposed to do."

Mallika shared how there now was a "new wave of young Indian directors, producers and writers who are inspired (by) American cinema, European cinema and are making meaningful films. But it's a very small section".

She even took credit for bringing a wave of change.

"I was one of those actresses who said that in 21st century, how are you going to show passion on the screen? It can't be symbolic any more, and we've got to kiss on screen. So yes, there's a change happening, which is very positive," she added.

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Posted on: 27 May 2013 at 11:35pm
i don't live in india so can't talk about if its depressing or not as the person who lives there knows better...
there is one thing i can't understand nowadays india started witha trend of films where actresses are nearly naked...kissing openly...words n abuse that they it call a new cinema then sorry for me its call disgusting...nowadys its nealy impossible to watch a movie with family n kids...

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Posted on: 27 May 2013 at 9:43pm
I dont like the exaggeration and tone in which she has said this about India as a whole however she does have a point. India still has a long way to go especially when it comes to gender equality. India is certainly not a depressing country but there certain acts done by certain ppl which just break ur heart n doesnt quite give the real picture of what India really is like on a global platform. It will perhaps take decades for India to progress to such a level that we can truly see women being considered equal to men.

BTW Mallika there's no need for u to take credit for any progress. All u hav done is made an attention grabbing statement on an international platform n u gotta be careful how u word ur statements cos ur gonna be suffering some unhealthy backlash for this.

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Posted on: 27 May 2013 at 12:33pm
Well talk about being Delusional O_o

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Posted on: 27 May 2013 at 12:05pm
Wearing or not wearing a piece of clothing does not make us regression or progressive . If Anyone thinks it does then I would say that person has very limited knowledge ... Malika has proved so in this article by us regressive ...and then calling herself the first women to wear a Bikini and skin show ...Seems to have forgetten abt Sharmila Tagore , Zeenat Aman , pRaveen Babi , Simi Garewal ...nd All of Dev anand sensuous heroines ...Rk's films Drenched heroines ...who Kissed , made love , skinned showed ...much before she even existed ...
Nd if U dislike our country to this extent ...let me tell u , the feeling is mutual

Edited on:27 May 2013 at 12:06pm

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Posted on: 27 May 2013 at 9:37am
I remember watching Zeenat Aman in a bikini back in the 80s I guess. So no Ms. Sherawat, get your facts right. *Sigh* Another one of her gimmicks.

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Posted on: 26 May 2013 at 10:58pm
oh ya really Ms Sherawat, u were da 1st one 2 wear a bikini?? :D. Now dnt embarrass urself!! I agree dat women r not treated at par with men bt things have changed a lot. And India is changing.
And b.t.w adopting an American lifestyle does not mean one is progressive!

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Posted on: 26 May 2013 at 10:23pm
Madam you haven't seen the world yet.. a major part of thew world dislike India and let us not eliminate America as well from this. I guess you are referring your part of time and section you deal with with.

Your comment has insulted a lot Of Indians.. Why don't you enjoy you total time in US..

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Posted on: 26 May 2013 at 8:49pm
Being an Indian she shouldn't have said such things in an international platform. Yes , the women are facing many problem in India but still many ethical value persist in India. Well her point of view .

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Posted on: 26 May 2013 at 4:30pm
Miss Shehrawat!!! Why do you divide your time between India and America...we dont need a person like you who just projects herself mere an sensual object for man...May be indian society is hypocrite but you are not less either..!!!!

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Posted on: 26 May 2013 at 3:12pm
This is absolutely ridiculous- to go on an international platform and make these sweeping statements is asinine. India is a country of one billion that has a patriarchial society no doubt but it is hardly flat out regressive for women - there are women who are strong and free who are in leadership positions such as industry, banking, politics. And she bringing change by stripping is laughable- I have absolutely nothing against stripping its personal choice but for heavens sake lets not glorify it. It just reflects her intellect. Can we ban such people from speaking on public platforms? For her personal glory she is willing to shred her country to pieces and that to without reason or thought. I would have been fine if she said india has its challenges with a colonial past and slow industrialisation resulting in a largely patriarchicahl society's and had provided a balanced view of India's faults

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