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Mallika Sherawat is known for being progressive: Brian White

September 26, 2011

by Divya Pal

Popular for doing meaningful cinema, American actor Brian White sounds upbeat about Indian films and Bollywood item songs in particular. With Bollywood A-listers Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, also Brian's favorite actor, exhibiting no qualms in accepting such offers to woo the audience, Brian would also like to take up the challenge.

Your movie " Politics Of Love" is about the romance that brews between an Indian Amercian and African Republcian that lead up to US presidential election in 2008. Do you think the viewers can have a difficulty in relating to the movie as it has lost its topicality?

No. In USA, we are talking about 2012 election and Barack Obama continues to remain the central figure. And the movie speaks about putting political parties above race an issue which will never lose significance. The movie goes very well to the upcoming 2012 elections, I believe, Mallika and I are excited about this project because a mainstream Amercian actor has got to work with a mainstream Bollywood actress. The last time something like this happened was years back for Mira Nair's "Mississippi Masala". Our movie talks about an African American Republican, which many people haven't seen in real life and a female Indian Amercian democrat which hasn't been created ever. We have broken stereotypes with such roles.

Both Mallika and you attended an Indian film awards event at Toronto recently to promote your forthcoming movie. Were you able to get an insight into Bollywood?

Yes, that was a great opportunity to reach out to people from the Indian film industry. I appreciate Bollywood because one not only gets to see sensible projects but one also gets to understand the benefits of smart budgeting. In America, we waste a lot of money. Frankly, Bollywood can help us learn a lot. I also met Shah Rukh Khan at the event. I got to know about SRK when I watched " My Name Is Khan (MNIK)". It is the most emotional movie I have seen so far. To me, "MNIK" is the greatest example of filmmaking. So when I met him at Toronto, the fondness grew. He is the most talented actor on the planet.

Mallika Sherawat is often featured as a sex symbol in Bollwyood. Did you know she drew a lot of attention in India for the bold roles she essayed in Bollywood projects?

Yes, I'm aware that she is known for being progressive but that helps because it creates a bit of controversy that further works for the film. In "Politics of Love", we don't really have passionate lovemaking scenes because we wanted it to be a family film. Mallika is a fantastic person and that is why she is so special. If you ask me whether she is irresistible, I would say, 'I'm a married man and I don't focus on that aspect'. As far as work goes, she is a through professional. And her performance in ' Jalebi Bai' was great!

So you are game for Bollywood item numbers?

Yes, why not? As I said earlier, I'm a great fan of " Jalebi Bai". I don't know what Jalebimeans. (We tell him it is an Indian sweet circular in shape) Aaah, may be that's why Mallika does such circular arm movements. Since I'm a professional dancer, I will be able to do justice to item numbers. It'd be fun to do a true Bollywood number.

Are plans underway to take up Indian projects?

Very much! Mallika and I have been talking to actors about possible collaborations and perhaps me coming to Mumbai to do Bollywood flicks. It would great to make some movies on your home turf. We are planning to screen our movie in India soon. I would also like to explore opportunities with Indian fashion designers and do campaigns to create brand awareness in India. While I will be busy doing all this, I won't mind if my wife does some shopping. I know, in India, she will only shop, shop and shop.

Parminder Nagra, an Indian American actor, was recently quoted as saying that she doesn't get lead roles due to her Indian origin. This speaks about Indian/Indian-American actors still seen as the marginalized section in Hollywood. Have you also lost work because of your skin colour?

Whether you are Indian, Latino, African American or African, you are outside of mainstream Hollywood. And if we do an analysis there are less roles for us. I think the more we make films like the "Politics Of Love" which appeals to all the markets, the better. For, we will open up roles for ourselves. Mallika and I have taken a step to change all of that in the industry. People do pass racist comments. But as an artist it is our job to change their thought process and develop short-term memory. You remember the good people and the bad people. It is good to forgive or you might keep the toxic energy inside you and feel sick. You have to be a strong person to be in this industry. I follow Mahatma Gandhi's quote "Be the change you would like to see in others".

But actors like Frieda Pinto, Aziz Ansari and Kal Penn have given great performances. Kal is a friend whom I met while he was supporting for Barack Obama in 2008. I respect his decision to quit White House job to follow his passion. Had I been in his place, I would have done the same.

Courtesy of articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com