} EXCLUSIVE: In Candid Chat With The 'Package Entertainer' - Mandira Bedi

An Actor, Fashion Designer, TV & Sports Presenter to a Corporate Anchor Mandira Bedi has tried everything and aced it all. A well-known name in the entertainment industry and a leading example of making it in a male bastion, Mandira is balancing everything with so much ease that it seems too good to be true. She is perhaps an apt example of a Power Woman.

Having said all that what describes Mandira the best, we interacted with her to find out more about her fascinating journey and know more about this power house of Talent!

Q1. From being an Actor, Fashion Designer, TV & Sports Presenter to a Corporate Anchor, you have redefined the term ‘Package Entertainer’, Tell us a bit about your journey in this industry? 

This has been a very long journey and I started 25 years ago. I entered the entertainment business with a show called Shanti – first ever daily soap on Indian television followed by couple of more daily soaps and then came cricket where for the first time people didn’t know me as a character name, they knew me by my name followed by a lot of hosting of music reality shows and dance reality shows which was very surprising since I can’t dance (laughs). But anyway, I got lots and lots of lovely hosting gigs. I have done cricket for 10 years, so that’s been very fun and very exciting and now I am in a new phase in my life where I have suddenly offered a certain kind of roles along with all these kinds of shows that I host. And I also started a label a couple of years ago where I design sarees. So, I mean a week in my life, I must say right now is varied and different, I mean there is no monotony in my job. One day I am designing sarees for my collection, the next day I am hosting a big show after that I am doing an acting job, I am doing a lot of regional films and the web world has opened up as well. 

Q2. You have several years of experience in hosting Corporate and Sports Shows, how is anchoring different in Sports event as compared to Corporate shows?

Well, I mean at the end of the day anchoring is anchoring and you need to have presence of mind because sometimes things might not go the way you want them to, sometimes things happen earlier than they should or later than they should and you have to manage the situations so that is one thing about anchoring. So, whenever you are doing anything that’s LIVE you have to have the presence of mind to be able to bring it back on track if it does go off track. Having said that, each corporate event is different. I have done stuff from every single industry, I mean be it banking, advertising, FMCGs, I have cut across. I have probably worked with every kind of companies that there is to work with. I have worked with tire companies, cement companies along with a lot of mobile service providers as well as mobile handset & electronic companies. I mean there is so much work out there.  

Being a mom, I also get invited to a lot of household and mommy brands as well so it kind of cuts across a lot of industries. I mean of course you don’t know everything about particular industry and that’s okay you do your research and you make sure you have done some rehearsal and that’s how it works. Sports however you need to have much more in depth into things and I have done not just cricket, I have done stuff connected with football, golf and kabaddi as well. I mean you just have to do little more research. 

Q3. An anchor can be often expected to step up their act and “Save The Show” when faced with unforeseen difficulties. Have you ever been in such a situation, and if so, how did you wade through it going beyond the assigned script?

Oh yeah! (excited) I just did an event last week. It had a Minister who was coming. And very often what happens is because they have a very busy schedules, they may give you a time but won’t be able to make it and specially with all that is going on very recently, this minister had committed to be there, and he really wanted to come too. We expected him to be the chief guest and he didn’t come at the time that he was supposed to come, so we had to start with the award without him. So, there was always this backup option, where if he comes on time this is the flow that we will go with and if he doesn’t come on time then we will go with another flow! But then the thing is he didn’t come on time and he just wasn’t coming and we had to continue with the awards and at one point we were like nearly done with the awards and he still hadn’t come and while I was on stage I got a message on a cue card saying that he said that he is going come so we have to extend the show a little bit and make sure that it continues and they also said he wants to give away a couple of awards  so we have to wait till he comes . So we had to find fillers and find some people to give some speeches and sure enough when one of those filler speeches was happening, the Minister did arrive and the moment he arrived you gotta very kindly cut off the guy who is speaking at the moment and get him on board, because once the minister comes he is short of time, we gotta then speed things up. So, I mean this happened just like four days ago, so it happens all the time. 
I mean with LIVE events there’s always up and down that happens, there’s always stuffs that gets brought forward. 

Also, I will never forget I did something for Freaky Frames and it was at the Renaissance in Powai and I remember there were around14-15 awards to be given and I came on stage and I am about to step on the stage and the backstage person tells me listen we are not starting with the award one we are starting with award eleven and then I am like after introduction I am going to award eleven? Yes! And then from eleven we will be switching to four and then to seven and then to nine and then these cue cards where coming to me as I went along with it. 

And then I had to just juggle it and you have to do that because actors also don’t always come on time and they want to give the award and leave. So, it’s like, I mean things like that have to be managed.

Q4. Tell us about the best Corporate event that you have been a part of?

Well I hosted for Abbott, this is my third time I am hosting for their event. So, it’s nice when people call me back. There are couple of banks that I have worked with again and again. One of my favorites is a company called BKT Tires that I have done. It all started with an event I did for them in Bhuj in the blazing heat where my stage was a tire with the size of a bed. So I stood on this tire  and I hosted the entire show and it went of so well that after that their next off site was in Greece, so they took me there and then their next event was in Melbourne and they took me there too and now their next event is in Italy and I am going to Italy next month for their event. So, they really like me, and I feel very blessed to work with these people and people also want to work with me again. So, I have a couple of favorites!

Q5. Since its Women’s Day, any word of advice you would like to give budding artists who are looking to carve their niche in the entertainment space?

Well, I just want to say that when you want to be an anchor or a presenter, I think the most important thing more than anything else is confidence and a little bit of your personality has to come in to whatever you do. Because anybody can stand on stage and read from some cue cards and very often I have to do these vanilla kind of events where it’s just some sets of words that you have to say. And personally, wherever I can I try to add a little something of my own because I say why they pay me and why are they bringing me on board to do an event for them, if I am not adding any value of my own. I mean anyone can stand on stage and just read out the entire script. 
So recently I did something in Pune which was a set of awards where the script had lots and lots of words but I kind of brought a little humor into it and I think its important to add some of your own value into the whole thing. Having said that I mean opportunities sometimes don’t come where you can crack a joke and sometimes events are very serious where they want you to stick to the script and go with the flow and that also fine. So, I think what is very important is that you need to go through the script, and you need to be comfortable with the script and the pronunciations. Most importantly, you need to be confident and need to bring your personality into whatever you are doing. 

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