Bollywood beauty and international model Mallika Sherawat has been tear gassed and beaten up by three masked intruders in her own Paris apartment block, police revealed today.
The horrific attack on the 40-year-old Indian sex symbol comes just a month after reality TV star Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in a neighbouring flat.
It was last Friday night when Ms Sherawat and French businessman lover Cyrille Auxenfans, 45, arrived at her residential building in the upmarket 16th arrondissement of Paris at around 9.30pm.
Le Parisien newspaper today describes how the criminals wore scarves across their faces and ‘without saying a word, sprayed their victims with tear gas before punching them.’
The attackers then ran away, leaving a shocked Ms Sherawat and her friend to call the emergency services.
A criminal investigation has been launched, with detectives working on the theory that the assailants were attempting a robbery.
Mr Auxenfans, who specialises in real estate, owns the flat in the building where the crime happened.
Mr Auxenfans is a frequent visitor to Mumbai – the capital of the Bollywood film industry – where the couple are often seen out on the town together.
Officials said both suffered minor injuries, and investigators were trying to uncover the motive for the attack after it emerged that no items were stolen.
A police spokesman added: ‘A full investigation to find the assailants is underway.’
Ms Sherawat has a huge following in India, where she has starred in more than 20 movies, and also appeared in the hit US television remake of Hawaii Five-0.
As well as a being a showbusiness star, Ms Sherawat is an outspoken feminist who frequently complains about attacks on women in her own country.
While promoting her film ‘Bachelorette India’ two years ago, she called India ‘regressive’ compared to countries such as the USA.
She later explained: ‘I made a conscious decision to divide my time between Los Angeles, America and India.
‘So now when I’ve experienced that social freedom, when I go back to India, which is so regressive for women, it’s depressing. As an independent women, it’s really depressing.’
Ms Sherawat, whose real name is Reema Lamba, frequently highlights atrocities in India, including honour killings and gang rapes.
‘India is a hypocritical society where women are really at the bottom compared to men,’ she told Variety magazine at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, on the French Riviera.
Ms Kardashian left Paris immediately after a gang of five robbers got away with millions of pounds worth of jewels from her own Paris flat on October 3.
She and a security guard had guns pointed at their heads and were tied up by the gang, who are still at large.
Such attacks are a huge blow to the worldwide image of France, which is still under a state of emergency following a spate of terrorist attacks.
Paris is the most popular tourist city in the world, but increasing violence has seen visitor numbers plummeting.