You might have thought Mallika Sherawat was stepping onto the red carpet of a Hollywood premiere. But this was no movie set; it wasn't even Hollywood. Now, Mallika is a movie star. Big time. So big, she's just "Mallika" to her legions of international fans. She's a Bollywood Bombshell, and her fan base doesn't just grow by the film, it grows by the tweet.
Which explains why Mallika was feted at Twitter's headquarters. It was a cosmic convergence of Bollywood and San Francisco's hippest web startup. "I got hooked on Twitter," she says, "because I missed my fans, and I like it better than long e-mails." Mallika insists that she writes all her own tweets. Twitter, for its part, appreciates the attention. "I think it's a testament to how well we're known," says Twitter's self-proclaimed "HR Diva," Sangeeta Narayan. "People like Mallika jump onto Twitter, and we really don't have to work hard to get celebrities." You can say that again. Google may be known for bagging politicians, but nobody gets celebs like Twitter.
Sherawat, widely known as the "Kissing Queen of Bollywood" first broke out of the Indian film scene to become an international star in 2005 at the Cannes Film Festival.
On Tuesday, she signed autographs for local fans and met face-to-face with Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone It's a good match, because Mallika (@MallikaLA on Twitter) is an international ambassador of sorts for the blogging site. She has a respectable following of more than 6,500 users on the service who subscribe to her tweets.
As she's spreading the word about Twitter overseas to Bollywood fans, she's also evangelizing Bollywood here in the U.S. Sherawat is currently based in Los Angeles, where her upcoming film Hisss, which costars Irfan Khan of Slumdog Millionaire fame, is getting edited.
Sure enough, after emerging from her limousine, the diva signed not just glossies, but tweets as well. Then, upstairs, she gave an impromptu Bollywood dance lesson to Ev. Ah, the perks of starting a hot startup.
You can find more video of Mallika's visit at www.qik.com/budman