From Television to Tamil & Telugu Cinema

MEET MANDIRA BEDI in candid conversation with NAMITA GUPTA on her role in the upcoming Tamil films, a Telugu film, a Malayalam and a Hindi film, besides her other passions.

Short hair, lean frame and eyes that can light up an entire room, Mandira Bedi has come a long way since she first appeared on television as Shanti and the shy girl in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. From making waves on the small screen, to hosting Cricket World Cups, actor and anchor Mandira Bedi is back in the news again. She’s currently shooting for four films – Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi and is reading many scripts, besides continuing to host shows. All this, while keeping fit as a fiddle.

At the onset we ask the leggy lass to throw some light on the movies she’s shooting for down south and how did she bag those roles. “These days with the way I look, my short hair and all that, I get offered a lot of Badass roles – either as a cop or a gangster. In the movie Tashkent Files, I was playing a social worker, but that was an aberration. Normally it’s all the cops and gangster roles coming my way. Social Media has become a very important facilitator these days. My Tamil film came to be because my director followed me on Twitter. He was writing the character of a big super cop that time and he liked all the posts that I had put up and told me “I can’t see anyone else but you playing this role” and I started shooting for the Tamil film. And then for the other film, the director of Saaho, Sujeeth was making this high octane action thriller on a budget of Rs 300 Cr with Prabhas and was looking for someone to play a negative character. Again, he followed me on my social media posts on Twitter and Instagram and said this character is a gangster and Mandira wears sarees very well, so I can see only Mandira in this character. He met me and said I follow you on social media and there I was. The film is slated to release on 15 August this year in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. There’s another film that I’m shooting for right now called Romantic in Telugu and the director again told me she was following me on social media and that the role she had was tailormade for me,” states Mandira.

Fitness is now second nature to her, as she reveals, “I exercise, I run and I’m a vegetarian but I eat eggs. Whenever I travel I never forget to take my sports shoes with me, because exercise is one thing that you can do anywhere and everywhere. Even if you’re staying at a place where there’s no gym, you can always walk. My daily schedule includes gymming, swimming and weight training.” Owner of a fashion line, Mandira who has also showcased at Lakmé Fashion Week, adds, “I launch my new collection of sarees twice a year.”

About her travels and hosting events, Mandira shares, “I host a lot of corporate events and I was approached by Airbnb when they were officially launching in May 2016. I had heard of Airbnb, but then I had not stayed at one. Everytime I visited Delhi I would stay with my parents, but that time my parents were not in town, so I stayed at this lovely apartment with a very warm host and it was different. Then I also stayed at one during the Airbnb Experiences launch but in a different property with a beautiful terrace garden. After that I’ve loved staying at Airbnb properties across the world and they’re all so different, each with a character of its own. In hotel rooms I can’t really make out one from another. I travel a lot on work and travel for me is a way to ensure mental and physical well being. There is nothing like waking up in a new city, yet having your own space and start your day with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast for me is very important and when it’s home cooked, nothing like it. I like to travel on an agenda and plan my day ahead. We do two family trips in a year – summer and winter. I also travel with my son sometimes when he has holidays or it’s a weekend, as he likes to travel too.”

With so much travel, we wonder how she balances her family life, her son Vir and work and she explains, “Ten days in a month when I travel, that time does not belong to me as it’s work time, so my husband Raj and I have a deal that either I’m travelling or he’s travelling. We’re not travelling at the same time. When I’m travelling, I know exactly what’s going on back home, but I’m not a full time mom at that time. But 20 days that I’m at home, I make sure that I make every arrangement around my son Vir. I drop him to school and then I go for my shoot. I pick him up from school and then continue my work. If I’m hosting an event in Mumbai, he sometimes comes to my hotel room and we hang out together, so that’s how I balance it all.”