Colors of Courage: Breaking stereotypes to discussing postpartum depression Mandira Bedi is a true inspiration

Mandira Bedi is an inspiration for women, from defying stereotypes to championing selfdom.

Updated on Apr 15, 2022   |  02:40 PM IST  |  166.2K
Mandira Bedi
Colors of Courage: Breaking stereotypes to discussing postpartum depression Mandira Bedi is a true inspiration

A celebrated television actor, sports anchor and fitness enthusiast, Mandira Bedi has sure donned a lot of hats. Looking back at when she started her career in acting, Mandira confesses that she was initially subjected to stereotyping in the industry.

Around the time when ‘Shanti’ happened and ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ happened, the thing is women were stereotyped back then. “So, on TV I was playing this very strong character. But, in films back in the day, if you were playing a lead role you were playing a lead. But if you were playing somebody’s sister, a Bhabhi or a second lead, then you are typecast to play those kinds of roles. And I didn’t want to play these characters because I was playing this very strong character on television."

Mandira also muses about how the length of her hair has often defined the type of roles she’s gotten. “The short hair also defines me and the kind of roles I got. Ever since I have cut my hair, that’s when stereotyping happened. I have been offered at least 10 cop roles, at least 5-6 negative woman character roles…” 

“Just think about it, either a cop or a negative character…Now, people cast me to play a strong modern woman so short hair means a lot of things. I like short hair and I’ll keep it as long as I want and if something comes up to me that is required to grow them, I’ll think about that,” she grins.

Soon after her debut series Shanti, Mandira did quite a few daily soaps. But, for a creative person like her, she believed that daily soaps would smother her creativity. She thought of taking a sabbatical from the acting industry and that is when cricket happened to her. She was one of the first Indian women to have hosted cricket tournaments on television. 

“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."

She also addresses the difficulties she faced along the way. “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,” adds the independent and successful 49-year-old.


Touching upon matters of love and family Mandira recalls having met late actor and producer, Raj Kaushal in the 90s. After dating three years, the couple tied the knot in 1999 and 12 years later, they welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Vir Kaushal. The talented actress spoke of being pregnant at 38 and continuing work even when she was 7 months pregnant. She also shares her experience with postpartum depression and then bouncing back with full vitality. 

“Well, it’s real. It’s a thing. For the first 40 days of giving birth, I was crying. I could not understand. Your hormones have taken a toss. You have taken a human being out of you. So, that’s what postpartum depression is. It’s a hormonal imbalance. Honestly, 40 days I had it and I been also told not to do exercise in those 40 days. And on the 41st day in the pouring rain, I went to exercise. It was monsoon and I went to exercise. And I have to say from the 41st day onwards I was miraculously feeling much better emotionally. So, exercise has a lot to do with your hormones as well. So that how it worked out for me,” she affirms.

Nine years later, in 2020 Mandira and Raj became parents again to an adopted daughter named Tara Bedi Kaushal. The actor who sadly lost her husband last year, says her children are her motivation to keep working and striving for better. “Anything that happens in your life, the way to deal with something negative is to live it, feel it, process it, not push it down. In my past, I have pushed down a lot of stuff and then that comes back to bite you, then you get these weird triggers, things that upset you and that’s why I had probably a lot of anger because there were triggers that had been created because of the stuff I had pushed down."

She explains, “When I do feel angry at destiny, I tell myself things are exactly the way they were meant to be. Whatever I am going through, God is putting me through because he thinks I am capable of it, of handling it.” 

From breaking the glass ceiling as a female anchor in cricket to speaking of mental health and body positivity, Mandira Bedi is a true inspiration.


ALSO READ: Colours of Courage: Sushant Divgikar, aka Rani Ko-HE-Nur, shares his experiences with drag as an art form

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Aastha Pahadia
Aastha Pahadia
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