Bollywood is not for everyone.
Some realise it sooner and tread different paths to make different achievements in life, while others keep trying till the industry throws them off.
In this giant rigmarole of realisations and refusals, we have seen many of our beloved celebs fading out into oblivion, leaving us wondering, “where are they, how are they...?”
This “Missing Report” series digs deep into the untold stories of such missing stars, and today we are covering Mamata Kulkarni.
The girl from a middle-class family had no interest in the glam world but was driven by her mother’s high aspirations. So coy, a teenager Mamta had teared up when asked to drop her dupatta during a screen test.
She booked her debut in 1991 with a Tamil movie, Nanbargal, directed by Chandrashekar who introduced the actress to Bollywood the following year with the Hindi remake of the same movie that released as Mera Dil Tere Liye. But, it was with Tirangaa that hit the theatres with an assorted star cast of Raaj Kumar and Nana Patekar in 1992 that gave her countrywide recognition.
The actress went on to work in several films, starred opposite the likes of Aamir Khan in Baazi, Akshay Kumar in Sabse Bada Khiladi, Salman Khan in Karan Arjun, and Saif Ali Khan in Aashiq Awara. However, none of these films fetched her any reputation as an actress; her presence in most was relegated to being the love interest of the hero who would drive the story framed around him. There wasn’t much for the ‘heroines’ to do but circling trees standing tall amidst lush green expanses.
An image that she successfully established for herself was that of being uber-bold, and posing topless for the Stardust mag concreted it further. The 90s weren’t prepared for that kind of a brave statement and a pack of activists descended upon her home to throw some garments at her.
She wobbled through these troubled waters some more, but after she accused director Raj Kumar Santoshi of making undue advances toward her boomed into a massive controversy, her career was done with for good. The last remembered movie of her is China Gate, but an average audience reminisces over it more for Urmila Matondkar’s chart-topping item number chamma-chamma, overlooking the leading actress who was left fuming over her scenes chopped in the editing room.
Her subsequent films, like the Malayalam Chandamama or the musical thriller, Chhupa Rustam, did little to support her tumbling career. In 2003, she was seen in a Bangladeshi film, Shesh Bongsodhar which marks the end of her acting stint. What followed after her disappearance from the industry was rather exciting for the suspense it carried. After keeping herself hidden behind obscurity for over a decade, Mamta Kulkarni’s name hit the headlines again in 2016.
Being “married” to Vikram Goswami, who was accused of running a global drug cartel the former actress was suspected of being actively involved in the dealings. The couple was arrested by Kenya police and there were speculations about the United States' Drug Enforcement Administration looking out for them. Also known as Vicky, the alleged drug lord was serving long-term imprisonment in Dubai. It was then when Mamata married the jailbird after converting to Islam, and eventually was set free.
However, speaking to a new channel for a televised interview, the Beqabu actress asserted, "The reason behind his arrest was not because he was involved in drug trafficking. Instead, it was a family dispute and Vicky just happened to get dragged into it.”
Though she denies her husband’s involvement in drug dealings, Thane Police named the kingpin of an international drug operation after ephedrine worth 2,000 crores were recovered in a drug haul in 2016. Two years later, she lost possession of three plush apartments in Mumbai after failing to appear in the court for this case and both were declared proclaimed offenders. Mamta who had fled India long back hasn’t been heard of since then, but if you would want to go by reports published in Gulfnews, the former Bollywood sizzler is perhaps staying in Canada these days.