Travails of a tapori
How sad for Saif Ali Khan. All your life you practice your best humble response to an award. “I never expected it. I don’t feel like I deserve it,” you say. The last thing you expect is to have a howling horde sing chorus. Just as Saif was polishing his shiny Padma Shri, Uddhav Thackeray made sarcastic remarks about undeserving ‘taporis’. To be fair, the sarcasm didn’t last too long, since the Sena’s Attention Deficit Disorder swiftly took them next to SRK’s house to protest his ‘support’ of Pakistani cricketers. Add Aamir Khan and the Sena could make some money off a guided tour of Bollywood homes.
Oh, Sania Mirza. Who else are they going to blame the end of your engagement on? There was your civilised statement of the discovery of incompatibility, but what fun is that? When compared to speculation, we mean. That former fiancé Sohrab Mirza had a bad attitude. That his family was not going to allow her to play tennis anymore. Or that, of course, she has been spending too much time with the newly single Mahesh Bhupathi. Oh Sania, if you want to have a stunningly silent end to an engagement you need to call Karisma Kapoor and the Bachchans.
So sure everyone has a relationship pattern or a break-up pattern. But really, this is a bit much. Can’t Salman Khan sulk and throw things like normal people? Must he always do a huge movie in an exotic location and cast a girl as lead who looks like the lapsing lover. We have barely gotten over the shock (sure it’s been a while but we are sensitive that way) of seeing little Sneha Ullal in Lucky dressed up to look like Aishwarya Rai. And now we have to deal with Salman’s new heroine in Veer. She does look a lot like Katrina Kaif. Or are we imagining things?
If you are a fan of Aravind Adiga, rejoice. His new novel is set in Mumbai and (insiders say) reads better than The White Tiger. Having got Booker winners out of the way, let us turn to the Internet’s comic sensation and journalist Sidin Vadakut. His first work of fiction Dork: The Incredible Adventures of Robin ‘Einstein’ Varghese is out. Robin is like Adrian Mole in his perfect combination of vanity, pathos and super silliness. Oh, and Vadakut tells the wonderful truth about MBAs.
‘I’d Like For People To Think Of Me As An Actor’
MANDIRA BEDI, Actor & TV personality
Between being an actor and a cricket commentator, which would you choose?
I would choose cricket. There are two things that drive our country. One is cricket and the other is the film industry. Bollywood, however, takes a back seat to cricket because it is region specific. Hindi films are popular only in the Hindi belt but cricket binds the entire country. I enjoy my tryst with cricket because even people down south know me.
On a date, what would be a deal-breaker?
I have a thing against people who brag a lot, who name-drop. In this business, there are a lot of people who are like that.
If you were to design the Indian cricket team uniform, what colours you would include?
It has to have the tricolour because you are lucky enough to be representing the country. Now we are used to the Boys in Blue, it has to be blue.
What would make you give up acting?
People do not look at me as an actor anymore. They look at me as a host. I would like to start acting again before giving it up. I miss acting. I do a lot of theatre and that’s the thing that keeps me alive. Otherwise the work that I do either on television or for corporate events, people look at me as just a host who interviews people.
What misconception about your life bothers you?
I would like for people to know that I am an actor. I started with a television show called Shanti many years ago and it ran for almost four years. When cricket happened, people started knowing me as Mandira. Now whenever I get offers from Bollywood, there is hardly any role, either a second lead or an item number, people don’t know what to do with me. They don’t know whether I can still act.
Do you feel grateful for being a celebrity?
I feel that quite often, actually. It’s nice. Small things like if a restaurant is full, you get an entry because of your name. Doors open for you.
If you were to go back in time and apologise to someone, who would it be?
I don’t think I have really hurt anybody that I’d like to go back and apologise to. I have tried to live my life in a way that I don’t hurt anyone. I think I had anger issues. There are a lot of things that I say in anger that I don’t mean and maybe there’s someone I need to apologise to for that. Sometimes I hold a grudge, and I think life is too short for holding grudges.