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Bollywood wannabe in Hollywood

Published: Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 17:09 [IST]

The Myth has been demolished. We all know mmmmmmm...Malika Sherawat was on screen in this celebration of esoteric tripe for all of 9 minutes. Then we heard she was doing something with Tom Cruise. Don't ask what! Now she makes claims of another Hollywood assignment. Oh, please!

9 minutes out of Andy Warhol's howl of fame? Not quite...The Myth isn't going to make Mallika a global phenomenon. What it does is to prove once and for all that Shabana Azmi or Mallika Sherawat ....Bollywood is crazy about getting noticed abroad. Years ago Shabana was all charged about being signed by Blake Edwards for the movie Pink Panther movie. So were all her diehard fans, like yours truly. Finally her role turned out to be as minuscule as Mallika's clothes.

"But I got paid handsomely and was treated like a true princess," Shabana still defends what's arguably her most embarrassing international sojourn. Would Shabana have done her 10-minute evil princess' act in a Bollywood film?

...Cut to present times. Would Mallika do her 9-minute show-all princess' act for a Ram Gopal Varma flick? Obviously not! Mallika was offered an item song for Varma's James. She told the producer she would do it if there was a nice meaty role attached to the song. Ramu got Riya Sen to do the item.

Wait, one is a little lost here. Mallika has a problem doing an item song for Ram Gopal Varma. She has no problems being seen doing practically nothing in a Jackie Chan flick. Strange!

Not only that, when Chan chugged to Bollywood for one days' promotional tour for The Myth, Ms Sherawat clung to his arm like a life-boat. "She made it quite clear that she wanted to be seen with Jackie in every frame of the photographers' lenses. And she went to extreme lengths to make sure she was Jackie's girl for the 24 hours that he was here," said a publicist for the project. Flattered out of his pants, Chan openly told the press corps that he had agreed to come only because Mallika had called and pleaded with him to do so.

This embarrassing confession came after Chan threw more tantrums in Mumbai than Zsa Zsa Gabor and Britney Spears put together. Oh, he didn't want to talk to the press members individually, didn't want interactive sessions with fans....didn't want to be in Mumbai for more than 24 hours...didn't want this and that.....

Good Lord! By the end of his visit , Chan's Mumbai hosts were on the brink of a collective nervous breakdown. But the final straw was the confession that he had come only for Mallika.

Wow! Should we be grateful to her for getting the demi-god of kick-the-butt cinema into our wretched country, or not?

Why do we take this kind of behaviour from international celebrities who grant us a bit of their precious time and attention? Achcha chalo, at least Jackie Chan is a major star, and we could be forgiven for falling at his feet. After all we prefer Ben Kingsley to Naseeruddin Shah as Gandhi.

Even when American porno star Brande Rodericks came to Bollywood for a long-forgotten movie we rolled out the 'wrecked' carpet and blew the bugles as though she were Jennifer Aniston with a silicone implant.

Worse....Meera from Pakistan comes to our country, avails of our hospitality , gets signed for female-centric films and goes back home to bad-mouth Bollywood and Aishwarya Rai.

Why do we encourage the Meeras of the world to behave so badly with us? Why do we need them in the first place, when we have such a fine and glamorous gallery of actors in Bollywood?

Let's applaud biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor who have repeatedly said they've no interest in Hollywood and would rather devote their time and attention on home ground.

And I love John Abraham's cautious attitude when he confesses to me, "I don't want to talk about my international project until they solidify. I don't want to end up sounding like just another Bollywood wannabe in Hollywood."

The example of Aamir Khan looms large over Bollywood. After the global success of Lagaan he appointed himself an Hollywood agent. Nothing happened.

So the next time you read about some Bollywood two-bit hero claiming he has been signed by a "big Hollywood studio" to play the lead, please tell him to shut up. Hollywood doesn't need Bollywood stars. And we don't really need actors from outside to let us know what stardom is all about.

Because we in India have the biggest star in the world. And his name is Amitabh Bachchan. 

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