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Shanti: The serial that launched Mandira Bedi

Nowadays Mandira Bedi is on a roll, having made a mark in the area of television commentary on cricket, something that no other lady in cricket has managed to do. You can imagine the reaction of cricket purists when they first saw Mandira on ‘Extra Innings’ wearing her noodle straps. There was an lot of hue and cry about trying to sex up the world of cricket commentary, but she managed to overcome the controversy and made her name. And now she is very much in demand, having posed for a series of very sexy photographs in the men’s magazine ‘Maxim’ and also having acted in a Hindi movie called Shaadi Ka Laddoo (which was not so good though and sank without a trace).
What started her on this path to fame were 2 things – a supporting role in Shahrukh’s movie ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ and her role as the main heroine of the Hindi serial ‘Shanti’. Shanti was an incredible episode in Doordarshan’s history, a show set in the daytime to appeal to the stay-at-home women audience, and it was incredibly successful. Imagine a serial running every day on the weekdays, and managing to go for 804 episodes. I remember when Doordarshan started this show in the mid-nineties and I remember that the word was out that there was no limit on the number of episodes. The serial only finished when it seemed that the serial was dragging on and TRP’s had gone down a lot (in fact, it seemed that Doordarshan actually put a stop to the show because of its low ratings).
The serial was about a strong career oriented women, in the world of show-biz and powerful movie moguls, it was a strong role for Mandira Bedi with her playing the role of an inspirational character, head strong woman, and was essentially the story of an illegitimate child who came back to take revenge and fight for both her and her mother’s rights.

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