Photograph: Omkar Chitnis
Cosmo: If not an actor, then what?
Malavika Mohanan: “A National Geographic photographer I think, because I love travelling and wildlife as well as cinematography.”
C: What are you most excited about at the moment?
MM: “On the personal front, I’m doing up my new house and I’m really thrilled about the interiors—picking things for it, seeing it all take shape... Professionally, work is super-busy. I’m working on a couple of really exciting projects, including a multi-lingual film with Vijay Deverakonda. It’s a very interesting character and I can’t wait to see it come alive on screen.”
C: What are the top three things on your bucket list for 2020 ?
MM: “A girls’ trip to Spain with two of my BFFs from school. We’ve been planning it for years now, but it hasn’t happened. I also want to do more wildlife-oriented travelling in the coming year—Tanzania, Kenya, Ranthambore, etc. And I’d like to sign a film with Ranveer Singh. I absolutely adore him!”
C: Malavika, in three words...
MM: “Adventurous. Always hungry. That’s three, right?!”
C: Have you ever used your celebrity status to get a favour?
MM: “To get a seat at my favourite restaurant when it was fully packed.”
C: What’s the best part about being a celebrity?
MM: “You get so many gifts!”
C: And the problem with fame...
MM: “That you’re subjected to judgements by everyone! People feel that, because you’re a public figure, they can comment on your face, nose, weight, hair, outfit...everything. Being a girl in the Indian culture already comes with a long list of dos and don’ts, and that gets amplified a 100 times more when you’re in the public eye. People troll and sl*t-shame female actors so much more than they would a male actor.”
C: Tell us a secret no-one knows about you.
MM: “I’m petrified of butterflies! I’m not kidding...it’s a real thing, called lepidopterophobia. Even Nicole Kidman has it.”
C: What’s the first thing you notice in a man?
MM: “How fit (or not) he is. Fitness is always a turn-on, it shows self-care.”
C: And the instant deal breaker?
MM: “Narcissism. Ugh.”
C: Any hidden talents?
MM: “I haggle really well. My close friends always drag me along when they go street-shopping, because I’m so good at bargaining.”
C: A show you’re addicted to?
MM: “I’m in love The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and have been hooked on to this show!”