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‘Got stared down’: actor Mandira Bedi reveals how cricketers ‘made her feel out of place’ when she was anchoring cricket shows on TV

“You know I made it easier for all the women hosts out there because I took the brunt,” Mandira Bedi quipped. 

Actress Mandira Bedi, who was one of the first few women who ventured into hosting cricket tournaments with the ICC Cricket World Cups in 2003, has opened up about her experience when she used to host pre-match shows at cricket tournaments. In a recent interview during Pinkvilla’s Woman Up season 3, the actress spoke about the intimidation and challenges she faced during her journey as a cricket host and commentator almost two decades ago.

The actress revealed how she was ‘stared down’ by many cricketers she interviewed. When Mandira asked them questions, she stated that many of them would think to themselves, “What is she even asking?” She also claimed that their responses were frequently unrelated to her questions, which made her feel intimidated.

She discussed her experiences as a host and commentator, as well as her attempts to get acceptance in a cricket niche circuit and the difficulties she faced in combating the patriarchal mindset of those around her.

“Nobody accepted me to begin with, certainly not the people sitting on the panel. I’m friends with all the ex-cricketers now who I worked with back then as well but they didn’t like that either. They didn’t like that there was a woman wearing a saree, dressed up, talking cricket. Nobody fed me any lines, nobody fed me any questions. I was there to represent the layperson who doesn’t know every technicality of cricket, who does not know every nuance of cricket.”

“So, I was there and I was told whatever question comes to your mind at that particular point of time if you’re thinking it ask it. I was given that freedom. Of course, I got stared down by a lot of the cricketers like- what’s she even asking, why is she even asking that. They answered whatever they wanted to answer nothing connected to my question and that can be very very intimidating but I kind of was assured by the channel, it was Sony, that backed me and chose me from 150-200 women. They said that we’ve chosen you with the reason we think you have what it takes to stay, so go ahead and be yourself and start enjoying yourself,” the actor added.

“You know I made it easier for all the women hosts out there because I took the brunt,” Mandira Bedi quipped. 

Mandira Bedi was one of the first women to present and commentate on cricket matches. In 2003 and 2007, she hosted the ICC Cricket World Cups. In 2004 and 2006, Mandira hosted the Champions Trophies. She was also a host for Sony Max during the second season of the Indian Premier League. She was also in charge of IPL 3 coverage for ITV, a British network. 

Raj Kaushal, Mandira’s filmmaker husband, died in June of last year. She has two children, a son named Vir (10) and a daughter named Tara (5). Bedi started her career at the age of 21 as a model. Mandira Bedi first rose to prominence when she played the titular role in the acclaimed Doordarshan soap opera Shanti in 1994. She made her feature film debut with the Bollywood movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge in 1995. Since then, Mandira has appeared in numerous tv shows and films in the course of a career spanning over two decades. Apart from being an actor, Bedi is a popular fashion designer who owns a saree brand.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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