By Kanika Parab
What should I wear to the Tarantino premiere tonite? Would something scandalous be appropriate? This is the tweet Bollywood's sex symbol Mallika Sherawat sent out before the Los Angeles premiere of Quentin Tarantino-directed Inglourious Basterds, teasing her fans, seductively setting the tone for what we saw on the red carpet later that night -- a black dress with a see through front, skimpy bits of black covering her modesty. Scandalous indeed.
Now it wasn't the embodiment of elegance, this S&M -meets-Xena-the-warrior-princess look. Not everyone liked the dress. In fact, some critics ripped it apart, calling it her 'Inglourious Moment'. But everyone wrote about it. And that's exactly what she wanted, this Bollywood star who's been known to use shock value as her formula to success. Her first Hindi feature film saw her nonchalantly asking a chemist for a pack of condoms (which she later put to good use, of course), followed by her next big banner film, which also made headlines for its racy content. While international publications preferred to showcase pictures of Tarantino and the star cast of Inglourious...Indian media -- online and offline -- were abuzz with Ms Sherawat's Los Angeles premiere ticket. Some even ran headlines like 'Hollywood's New IT Girl' and 'Mallika Upstages Jolie', as the curvaceous Bollywood star stood her on in front of the stick-thin Angelina.
The dress in question -- love it or hate it -- is more than just a dress. As Ms Sherawat is well aware, it has the power to make heads turn, shutterbugs click, journalists write, and if we're being dramatic, make or break her already begun foray into Hollywood. The actress is currently involved in the post-production work of her forthcoming Hollywood flick Hissss, a project she bagged on recommendation of The Myth co-star Jackie Chan, and has reportedly signed another film, where she will play a character partly inspired by Kamala Harris, attorney General of San Francisco.
Add to this, Ms Sherawat has also been hobnobbing with the right peeps in LA -- hip hop star Usher met the actress and promised to dedicate a song to her, Ozzy Ozbourne hung out with her before a concert and talk show host Oprah Winfrey planned an India trip with the actress, which was cancelled at the last moment because of the flu scare. She's even got a coveted Hollywood milkshake named after her, joining the likes of Paris Hilton and David Beckham; she's the first Indian celebrity to get invited to Twitter's LA headquarters, and if that wasn't enough, Los Angeles has awarded the actress honorary citizenship!
Now will the revealing dress, reportedly from Frederick's of Hollywood's Black Label Collection, give her well-networked existence in Hollywood that extra push? It's possible. After all, Hollywood does have a history of scandalous dresses raising career graphs! Remember J-LO's threatening-to-come-undone green Versace outfit at the Grammy's in 2000? The green palm-leaf patterned dress pushed an on-the-verge-of-a-musical break-through Jennifer Lopez to the good side. "For me, it was one of the eye-opening moments of what a dress could actually do. And I was on the cover of the paper the next day, because of that Versace dress," the star had told People magazine. There's also Elizabeth Hurley's revealing black Versace piece precariously held together by safety pins. After Hurley wore it to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral, she became a household name overnight.
Dress for Headlines. They all do it. But not everyone makes the cut. Looks like Mallika has her hopes pinned on this one.
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