“There is nothing that drives me towards television anymore” – Mandira Bedi

Anish Mohanty

Mandira Bedi started her career in 1994 with the iconic show ‘Shanti’ and since then, she has been a part of several popular TV shows both as an actor and an anchor. There have been films in between and now, she is enjoying working in the digital space. In this interview, she talks about her 25-year long journey in showbiz, her latest show MX Player’s ‘Shaadi Fit’, her fashion label, that one role which is closest to her heart, why she does not enjoy working in television any more and more.

‘Shaadi Fit’ is your third project on the web after ‘Smoke’ and ‘Thinkistan’. How do you look it as this relatively new medium?

I had also done cameo in ‘Romil & Jugal’. I belong to that generation where there was just one channel. There was Doordarshan and then Zee and Star came in. It is hard to count the number of channels there now. Video-on-demand is the future. There is nothing that drives me towards television anymore either as a viewer or an artiste.

You have been married for several years now. Is there any particular advice you gave to the couple which stayed with them?

I have been married for twenty years now. No marriage is perfect. Even through the rough times, it is important to keep the channels of communication open. I think one important advice I gave to a lot of people on the show that it is important for people to talk to each other. It is important not to take each other for granted.

You have played so many memorable roles. Is there any one which is your favourite?

My firs role will always be special to me. I was never supposed to be in the entertainment industry. I was headed towards a career in advertising. Being an actress was never in my scheme of things. I was offered Shanti by somebody and I just lapped it up without putting too much of thought into it. It was like a school for me as I had no background in acting.

You started your career in 1994. After all these years, you have continued to remain relevant. So many actors from your generation are not as active as they used to be or have vanished altogether. How did you manage to do grow from strength to strength?

It is really kind of you to say this. I have never planned my next move. I feel I am very blessed that I have got someone looking out for me. I never thought I would work for so long. It is only recently that I started believing that I would work for as long as I want to be. In my 30s, I had started thinking that my career would anytime soon. I delayed having a child as I thought the moment I become pregnant, it would be the end of the road for me. I have just gone with the flow and have got wonderful opportunities along the way.

You launched a fashion label two years back.

Yes, that was my Plan B in case my acting career came to a halt. But, plan A is working is working so well, that I don’t have enough time for plan B now. I still manage to come out with two collections every year.

What do you enjoy more – acting or anchoring?

There was a time when I was doing just anchoring jobs and people were not offering me interesting roles. Of late, I have been getting these wonderful roles bot in cinema and in the digital space, so I am doing a bit of both. The beautiful thing about anchoring is that it is real. You have to think on your feet and your own personality comes out in front of the audience. As an actor, you can live through another human being, play out roles you might never play in real life. It is hard to choose just one from the two and I am happy doing both.

What are you doing next?

There is a season 2 of a show in the pipeline. There is a Tamil film I shot for recently. I am also shooting for a Telugu film at the moment. I am happy doing films and web shows at the moment. As far as TV is concerned, daily soaps have a certain format. You are required to shoot for 21-22 days a month and if the show is successful, it goes on for years. I am not prepared to do that anymore.

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