Mandira Bedi: Started as a presenter in cricket because I wanted to be accepted
At an event in Gurgaon, Mandira Bedi spoke about her journey in showbiz
Recently, GurgaonMoms organised a special interactive session with actress and fitness enthusiast Mandira Bedi at a city hotel. The session, conducted by Neela Kaushik, founder, GurgaonMoms, was about the actress’ journey from playing the feisty journalist in Shanti to her stint as a cricket presenter and now a ‘fitness influencer’. “I don’t know how I became a fitness influencer. Every day, I just share a picture of a video. It keeps me honest. If that motivates even one person along the way, I am fine with that,” Mandira said at the event.
The session started with Neela Kaushik asking Mandira about her life before she became a household name by the means of her TV show Shanti. “I realised very early in my life that I wanted to do something creative. So, I did my post graduation in Social Communication Media. Then I was interning with Prahlad Kakkar. Adi Pocha, who is the director, writer and creator of Shanti, was getting one of his ads made by Prahlad. He told me that they were looking for an actor to play the role of Shanti. It was totally out of my comfort zone but I still went for that audition,” she said. Talking about auditioning for the show, she added, “They had told me to come wearing a business suit. That time I did not own a business suit so I went wearing a pair of jeans and white shirt. They called me for a second audition. Again, I was not wearing a business suit. Third time, I went wearing my lucky salwar-kameez. Depending on my mood, I would wear this bindi that I used to draw with liquid eyeliner. It was an arrow pointing downwards and when Adi saw me, he was like, ‘Oh my god! What was I thinking, how could it have been a business suit? This is Shanti’. It all worked out well. I look back at it as an acting school. People lived vicariously through my character, they would get very involved and that was very special for me.”
‘EVERYTHING CHANGED AFTER I STARTED ENJOYING MYSELF’
Talking about her stint as a presenter in cricket, mandira shared, “I just went there thinking I want to be accepted. But it was quite the opposite. For me, it was like people are not just passionate about cricket but they think of it as their religion. I was worried about being liked and accepted.” She added, “Another thing was when you are going live in front of the camera, words once uttered can’t be taken back. So if you make a mistake, it is all there. That was a very difficult first week for me. I would cry after every segment and all the other commentators would be like, ‘I am going to get a cup of coffee’ because they did not want to deal with that. I would think that if I didn’t quit, I’d get kicked out.”
But Mandira admits that it was just her self doubt getting to her. She said, “The channel’s representatives sat me down and said, ‘We have auditioned about 1,000 girls, we know what you have and you are going to stay so you might as well start enjoying yourself. You are a presenter so start enjoying yourself’”. She further said that eventually she started coming into her own and got comfortable with the job. “As they say, heaven and hell is in your head and honestly, I was in hell for the first week because I had so much going on. The moment I switched that off, I started enjoying myself and everything changed after that. At the end of those six weeks, people got to know me as Mandira Bedi and not through the characters I had played till then,” she added.