Mandira Bedi says ‘I put motherhood on hold for 12 years due to my career’
At 47, Mandira Bedi looks as glamorous in a saree as she does in her noodle straps, and doesn’t shy away from shedding make-up to bare her real self. A popular face on TV, right from her debut in Shanti to shows such as Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu, and in movies such as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (1995) and this year’s The Tashkent Files and Saaho, she has come a long way. For her, “it has been a journey of self-exploration”.
“In my 20s, I was carving a space for myself in the world of entertainment. My 30s was the time that was riddled with insecurities. Now in my 40s, I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt. There is self-love, and acceptance,” she says.
Mandira shares she was often told that women don’t have a long shelf life in the entertainment industry. “I thought my work is going to stop any day... looking at other actors working more than me on TV and films made me feel very insecure,” she admits.
The actor is happy that for 12 years she was closely involved with cricket, hosting matches on the ground and in studio shows too. But Mandira shares that she hit a low phase when replaced by another presenter in 2010, and confesses it made her “feel horrible”.
Recalling how it began to affect her emotionally, she adds, “When people would ask me why did I leave cricket or pity me saying ‘Oh, you aren’t doing cricket anymore’, I would have a sinking feeling in my stomach. It took me time to accept the change and realised that I didn’t leave cricket, it was they (organisers) who moved on to somebody new.”
But her career as a sports presenter meant the actor, who married director Rraj Kaushal in 1999, delayed her pregnancy by 12 years. “I gave birth to my son when I was 39, in 2011, as my contracts didn’t allow me to get pregnant. I was scared that if I get pregnant, it will be the end of my career,” she says, adding, “The entertainment business is brutal. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my husband, who has made our marriage a success.”
Mandira also admits she had severe anger issues. “I consciously decided to change my aggressive nature and went down the path of hypnotherapy. I used to judge people by my own standards and realised I’ve always been very hard on myself. There was no self-love. But now, I’m a different person altogether. The mantra I live by now is to accept, and not expect,” she says.
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