Mandira: From Shanthi to cricket

Ambassador for Vasana
Currently in Colombo, Mandira has now been appointed an ambassador for Vasana Sampatha of the National Lotteries Board (NLB), along with Kanchana Mendis, Sri Lanka's very own television celebrity. "I think it is a privilege to be associated with a Lottery Board that is self regulatory."

The NLB at a press briefing outlined its self-regulatory measures - to educate people about spending wisely (not their bread money), and to ensure that children do not buy or sell tickets (in which chase the agency will be cancelled). The NLB has also been making major contributions to developmental projects.

By Esther Williams
It is perhaps her charming personality that the Sri Lankan audience loves so much. She is practically a household name having had roles in Shanthi, Pragathi, Sujatha and Damini, some of the popular television dramas. What makes Mandira Bedi so appealing - is it because she talks to the real 'Shanthis' who face problems that only women understand?

"The real life Shanthis are so caught up in their work and problems that they have no time to sit idle and watch TV," the actress says, adding that she speaks to women who want to be like Shanthi. "They relate to me in an inspirational way." Many who have watched her shows have told her that they gained confidence from the show. Back in India, Mandira is in another popular Hindi TV series called 'Because mother-in-law was a bride at one time (translated).' It is a mother-in-law - daughter-in-law thing that as all soap operas do, then diverts into other issues, where she plays a negative role. She is also playing a bossy housewife in a Hindi comedy called 'Papa has become a hero (translated).' Surprisingly, Mandira has never had any kind of formal training. Having finished a course in Mass Communication, she was working in an advertisement film production firm when someone spotted her and asked her to go in for an audition. There was no going back since then. Speaking of the big screen, Mandira says, "Most Indian films have no roles other than the hero and heroine." As she does not see herself wearing flimsy costumes and running about trees, she is not too keen at the moment. This, she says is changing, as there are more art movies that call for character roles, even in supporting characters.

Mandira is also a cricket lover, soon to be appearing in Max's Extra Innings. It was quite by chance that she came upon this. An ardent cricket fan, Mandira was in Sri Lanka during the last ICC Championship Trophy. The producers of the Cricket Show called her in and after a lengthy interview process selected her.

"I seem to understand Cricket!" During the forthcoming World Cup, the programme will be telecast for two hours before the match and one hour after the match. While 60% of it would be hard-core cricket, 40 % would take in the lighter side of players, their likes and dislikes.

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