Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hot Mandira Bedi in Kolkata?

It’s a question Mandira Bedi has been asked ever since IPL bowled us over: Why’s she missing in action? “I’m watching all the games and am staying on in Kolkata just to catch the match.

But it’s a pity that we kept talking about the wedding of cricket and entertainment, and now, when it’s happened, I’m not part of the baraat! I would have loved to be a part of it,” she smiles, as we note a hint of disappointment.

“But I’m grateful for what the channel has given me. Before 2003, I was a one-dimensional person, doing only TV and theatre. The World Cup made me an anchor and connected me to the game. I learnt a lot on the job. I suddenly found myself in the midst of technical discussions, sitting among experts. There’s been a lot of growth since then,” confesses the cricket buff, whose current favourite is Shane Warne.

“In India, everyone is very possessive about cricket. It’s very male-dominated. Many people were outraged at the start of the 2003 World Cup but I managed to win some of them over,” smiles the animated anchor-actor, letting us in on a little-known dimension of hers — “I’m a personality of extremes. When I’m happy, I can chew off someone’s ear chattering, and when I’m sad, I retreat into a shell.” And when she starts talking about her forthcoming film Meerabai Not Out, we can see what she means! The role is clearly close to her heart. “If I saw anyone else playing the role of Meera Achrekar, I’d say, now that’s a role I’d love to play! The only thing Meera and I have in common is cricket. There’s a reference to me in the film, where someone tells Meera, ‘Yeh toh Mandir Bedi lagti hai!’ And she retorts, ‘I don’t look like her, she looks like me. And I wear full clothes!’” Mandy says, breaking into a chuckle.

The joke is not lost on us, as we ask her about the bold shoot she did for a men’s magazine recently. “My parents were very disturbed by it.

I have an imaginary list of things in my head, and I tick them as I go along. This is something that was there on my list, which I’ve ticked off, never to do again. I’ve recently done a swimsuit shoot for a health magazine, and shared the images with my parents before they were published,” says the fitness freak who’s all for size zero, provided it’s not at the cost of her health.

Coming back to her films, Mandira says, “Kumble has a guest appearance in Meerabai..., which will release shortly after the IPL. My next movie is titled Mumbai Chakachak.” We ask her if she’ll be seen in a Raj Kaushal film, and she quips, “There was a lot of friction when we worked together in the past, and so we’ve decided not to bring our professional relationship home. You know, some husbands and wives have a pact that they’ll never work together... It’s safer!”

But Mandira ‘Shanti’ Bedi is not known for playing safe — she talked cricket in noodlestraps, refused to be part of “regressive” serials and dared to don any hat that caught her fancy. Here’s hoping that the imaginary to-do list in her pretty little head only grows longer.

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