Mallika Sherawat (born Reema Lamba) is an Indian actress and a former model. Known for her bold onscreen attitude in such films as Khwahish (2003) and Murder (2004) Sherawat has been frequently featured in the media as a sex symbol. She then appeared in successful romantic comedy Pyaar Ke Side Effects (2006) which won her much critical acclaim.
Since then, she has appeared in successes like Aap Ka Suroor - The Real Love Story, Welcome (both 2007)- her biggest commercial success so far- and Double Dhamaal (2011). She is one of the few Bollywood stars trying to crossover to Hollywood, with films like Hisss (2010) and Politics of Love (2011).
Sherawat was born Reema Lamba in Rohtak, Haryana to a Jat family. Mallika was born in the family of Seth Chhaju Ram, a leading Jat philanthropist. She was born on 24 October; though the year is unknown. She adopted the screen name of "Mallika", meaning "empress", to avoid confusion with other actresses named Reema. "Sherawat" is her mother's maiden name She has stated that she uses her mother's maiden name because of the support that her mother has provided her. Although relations with her family were strained when she entered the film industry, now Sherawat's family have accepted her career choice and reconciled their relations.
Sherawat went to school at Delhi Public School, Mathura Road. She has obtained a degree in philosophy from Miranda House, Delhi University. During the initial days of her career, she claimed to have come from a very conservative small town family, and that she faced many hurdles from her family in pursuing her career. However, Mallika's family has refuted this as a story created by her to give her an aura of a small town rustic girl who made it big in Bollywood. It has been reported that she was married for a short while to a Jet Airways pilot Captain Karan Singh Gill.
Before entering films, Sherawat appeared in television commercials with Amitabh Bachchan for BPL and Shahrukh Khan for Santro. She also appeared in Nirmal Pandey's Maar Dala and Surjit Bindrakhia's Lak Tunoo music video. She debuted in films with a small rôle in Jeena Sirf Merre Liye where she was credited as Reema Lamba.
Sherawat attracted notice with her appearance in the 2003 film, Khwahish. In 2004, she starred in Murder, a film inspired by Hollywood's Unfaithful.She was noticed for her bold rôle with critic Narbir Gosal writing, " ...she has the chops to pull off a role like this one. She´s confident and sexy as Simran and handles her emotional scenes with dignity." She received a nomination for Best Actress at the Zee Cine Awards for her performance in Murder. The film went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year.
Since then, Sherawat has been known for expressing her opinions in public, as well for the reaction to some of her statements.
In 2005, Sherawat acted in The Myth, a Chinese film, co-starring with Jackie Chan. She played the rôle of an Indian girl who saves Chan's character from a river. The Myth was her first International film. Her appearance at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the film grabbed a lot of attention with Time Magazine's Richard Corliss calling her "the next big thing".
Her performance in the 2006 film Pyaar Ke Side Effects, co-starring Rahul Bose, won her praise from around the industry, with critic Raja Sen commenting, " Mallika steals the show with her disarming candour." and the film also did moderately well at the box office.
Her first release in 2007 was Mani Ratnam's Guru, in which she appeared in a special song, "Mayya Mayya". She also played a guest rôle in Himesh Reshammiya's Aap Ka Suroor - The Real Love Story and reportedly charged Rs. 15 million for a 10-minute appearance. Her last release of 2007 was Welcome, which also did well at the box office receiving blockbuster status, her performance similarly received rave reviews with noted film critic Taran Adarsh writing, " Mallika Sherawat is electrifying."
Sherawat at White House Correspondents Dinner
Her 2008 releases were Ugly Aur Pagli and Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam. Both films were unsuccessful at the box office. Sherawat's next Bollywood release was Double Dhamaal, which went on to becoming a moderate success at the box office, receiving above average status at the box office, by Box Office India. She also appeared in item numbers in films such as Thank You (Razia Gundon Mein Phas Gayi), Bin Bulaye Baraati (Shalu Ke Thumkey) and in Osthe (Kalasala), which is a Tamil film. In 2012, she also featured in an item number in Tezz (Laila). As of May 2012, Sherawat is expected to appear in two films which will feature her in full fledged rôles, which are Kismat Love Paisa Dilli, in which she will be essaying the rôle of a Haryanvi, and Lucky Unlucky. On 23 April 2013 it was announced that Mallika would star in a reality dating show called Bachelorette India - Mere Khayalon ki Mallika.
In 2009, Sherawat starred in a Hollywood film named Hisss, co-starring Irrfan Khan and directed by Jennifer Lynch. The film, based on the legend of N?ga, is an independent co-production between the United States and India. Endeavour Independent has bought the distribution rights of Hisss. Sherawat promoted the film with live snakes at the Cannes Film Festival 2010. Hisss was released in all major Indian languages on 22 October 2010.
Sherawat starred in another Hollywood film, Politics of Love, aka Love, Barack, directed by William Dear. She plays Aretha Gupta, a devoted local Obama volunteer coordinator. The film is a romantic comedy set during Barack Obama's campaign for the US Presidency. First look of Love, Barack was unveiled by Sherawat at Cannes 2010. It was released in 2011.
Sherawat won the 2008 Renaissance Artist Award at the 16th Annual Diversity Awards held in California. On 14 August 2009, Sherawat received a career recognition Honorary Citizenship of Los Angeles for her career achievements and charitable efforts.
In 2012 Mallika featured with American pop star Bruno Mars, in his parody video of Salt-N-Pepa Whatta Man for a comedy website