Mumbai: Actor Mallika Sherawat says she lost out on a number of projects as male actors could not stomach her opinionated nature and replaced her with their girlfriends.
The actor, who got a breakthrough with "Murder" almost 15 years ago, said when she looks back at all those people, they look like fools.
"I lost film projects because they thought I was opinionated. I would hear from heroes 'don't cast her she speaks a lot and has a lot of opinions.' They would prefer their girlfriends instead of me in projects.
"I can list at least 20-30 movies that I've lost. But it didn't make me bitter. It was my gradual evolution. Now when I look back, they look like fools, all of them," Mallika told PTI.
The 42-year-old actor said when she started to speak about social issues, including the mindset of people towards women, no one took her seriously.
"When I spoke about women's issues, there were people in Bollywood and the media who thought I wasn't a patriot and weren't ready to listen. I know actresses who attacked me. But I love my country and hence this regressive mindset we have against women needs to change," she said.
Mallika says today with the arrival of digital platforms, things are looking up for all those actors who could not do much in the "traditional, formulaic Bollywood" set up.
"Actors are seeing a freedom which wasn't there before. Now is the golden period where you get meaty parts and express yourself freely. There's censorship, films are formulaic.
"Traditional Bollywood is very fearful, they don't want to take a risk if the formula is working. There are exceptions like 'Stree', 'Andhadhun' and 'Badhaai Ho' but we make 1500 films a year out of which only a handful stand out."
She will be next seen in ALTBalaji's horror comedy "Booo... Sabki Phategi", directed by Farhad Samji.
The actor said she has never been part of an over the top comedy like this and hence had to be careful to not miss comic beats.
"It was tough for me because you can't afford to go over the top or underplay. You have to match the mood of the series as well. Comedy isn't an easy genre to do. Making people laugh is very tough. You can look ridiculous if it isn't done right," she added.
The actor says one of the reasons for her to pick the project was also producer Ekta Kapoor.
"I relate to her a lot on so many levels -- as a single woman, as a member of Bollywood. It's very patriarchal. I can imagine how difficult it must've been for her to reach where she is today. She always stuck to her ground."