Her film appearances have been few and far between but Mallika Sherawat has been a fairly constant presence at global red carpet events. And that image of a glamour girl is what she is hoping to change with her turn as the "realistic Delhi girl" in her new film "Kismat Love Paisa Dilli".
Mallika, who has been tagged a sex symbol after films like "Khwahish" and "Murder" and has dabbled in some Hollywood films, admits she can't change the image but would like to show audiences the serious actor as well.
She is pinning her hopes on her role as the no-nonsense girl in "Kismat Love Paisa Dilli" (KLPD) to achieve that.
"It's not in my hands to change (people's perception). It's really not. But I would definitely like to add a few more things to the perception (of the people)," Mallika told in an interview.
In director Sanjay Khanduri's "Kismat Love Paisa Dilli", which releases Friday, she will be seen romancing Vivek Oberoi.
"This film is a thriller and has a great north Indian culture in it. After a long time, I am playing the-girl-next-door. Usually the parts that come to me are overtly glamorous. This is a realistic, no nonsense Delhi girl," she said.
"I am hoping to show my actor side more. My fans saw a glimpse of that in 'Pyaar Ke
Side Effects' and 'Ugly Aur Pagli'," she said.
Expressing confidence in Khanduri's craft, Mallika added: "He is a maestro as a director. He knows his craft very well. He knows exactly what he wants."
The girl from Rohtak who has been in the US for the last several years says she didn't find any difficulty in relating to the role.
Mallika made her debut in the Hindi film industry with "Jeena Sirf Merre Liye" but got fame with "Khwahish" for the 17 kissing scenes with co-star Himanshu Malik. She locked lips with Emraan Hashmi in "Murder" as well.
She got some appreciation for her acting skills in romantic comedy "Pyaar Ke Side Effects".
The actress believes that she has grown in the the last 10 years and says there have been "many ups and downs".
"Earlier, when I used to have a hit, I used to be ecstatic. And I would go into depression when I would have a flop; I used to go into depression. But you can't take all this too personally," she said.
"Experience changed me. As you grow older and do more films, you don't take these things that seriously. For me, Hollywood also opened up. So I realised it's all a part of the game; you just need to play it well. You can't take things personally," she said.
"I have no regrets. Where is the time for regrets," she said.
"The Myth" and "Politics of Love" are some of the international projects she has worked in. But Bollywood will remain a priority.
"Bollywood can never take a back seat. The kind of warmth and love that is here doesn't exist anywhere," she said.
Talking about the response to Hindi films abroad, she said: "They are curious about Bollywood. The language is a big barrier. They don't understand Hindi. But they love the format, specially the songs and the colours which are used in the songs."
She credits Danny Boyle for opening the gates of Hollywood wider for Indian actors.
"After 'Slumdog Millionaire', doors are opening and things are changing. People (there) are realising that there is a life outside of America," she said.