MUMBAI: It was during the time when Om Puri did an item song with Mallika Sherawat in Bin Bulaye Baraat that he had raved about the oomphy lady.
“Contrary to her image she is so decent, she should be called Mallika Sharaafat,” Om had exulted, expressing a wish to “work at length” with the shareef Sherawat.
It seems someone up there heard On Puri. Mallika has now been cast opposite the seasoned actor in K C Bokadia’s Dirty Politics, a film based on the alleged murder of the nurse Bhanwari Devi allegedly by a topnotch politician of Rajasthan.
While Om plays the politician, Mallika is cast as the temptress who seduces the politician and then gets sucked into a murky political game culminating in her murder.
Apparently Mallika was Bokadia’s first choice for the role. But the remuneration played the villain.
Says a source close to the project, “Mallika quoted a fee that was way too high for Bokadia’s budget. Every actor in the film from Om Puri to Jackie Shroff and Atul Kulkrani is working at a subsidized rate. But Mallika wouldn’t budge on her price. Finally Bokadia did something really smart. He sent Mallika 20 mins of the shot footage to impress on Mallika now central she would be to the dramatic conflict.”
Mallika saw the footage and was bowled over. She apparently agreed to compromise on her price.
Producer-director Bokadia confirms Mallika’s presence in the film. “I did have some problems in convincing her. But she has finally agreed. Because her role is very very powerful. Mallika plays a Rajasthani street dancer whose murder triggers off a high-level investigation.”
Bokadia has coverted the nurse’s character to a Rajasthani street dancer to accommodate Mallika’s oomph quotient into the plot. “I’m giving her three potential chartbusters composed by Sanjeev-Darshan (sons of retired composer Shravan) to dance to. One of the songs Mere ghagre ne ghamaasan kiya would set the screen, street and stage—wherever Mallika performs it—on fire.”
Apparently Mallika would be taking lessons in traditional Rajasthani dancing from actual street performers in Rajasthan to get the dance movements, down to every twirl, just right.
Bokadia doesn’t deny the Bhanwari Devi angle for Mallika’s role. “Mallika’s character is inspired by Bhanwari Devi. But we’ve created another chain of circumstances for Mallika’s character’s murder. And by the way, she is named Anokhi Devi.”
Sources close to the project say the changed name and profession for the Rajasthani politician’s torrid scandalous involvement with a beautiful woman are being done to avert legal trouble for a film based on scandal in Rajasthan that rocked parliament and shocked the junta.
But then shockers from Sherawat are no longer a surprise.