‘I WANT TO EFFECT A PROCESS OF CHANGE’
BY ADIL RASHEED / 6 March 2005
“The measure of life lies in its experiences, not achievements," says Pooja Bedi, her eyes sparkling. In a flash, the twin windows to the soul bare the hidden traumas and the irrepressible zest for life that define the former Kamasutra model and daughter of actor Kabir and danseuse Protima Bedi. The model-actress-author-television host, was in the city to host a fashion show. City Times cornered her for a quick chat.
It’s been a long time we’ve seen you in a movie. Why have you disappeared from the scene?
When I got married, my ex-husband said it was necessary to interrupt everything. He didn’t want me to continue in the glamour line. Fair enough. So I quit everything and became this perfect wife and a perfect mom and have two little kids, Aliya and Omar. And then I got divorced. After that, I thought I have to do something with my life. So I started writing. I wrote columns for magazines and I wrote a book on my mom called Time Pass, which was published by Penguin and was among the top ten on the national bestseller’s list. It was a lovely experience. And then The Times of India Channel Two approached me to do a show for them called Not Just Page 3 and I started hosting that. The show took off so well that after almost six months they are shutting it down and starting a whole new show called Just Pooja, which begins on March 19.
Do you think being an author and a show host gives you more liberty as an artist than being a model or an actor?
Well! I simply don’t want to play characters any more. Ever since I was back in the media spotlight I got many offers from filmmakers. I had about 40 film offers out of which say 10 were really good but I turned them down. I also got offers to do TV serials, theatre roles and even item numbers but I turned them all down. I simply don’t want to play a character anymore. I just want to be me. I want to effect a process of change. There’s a very good quote, which says if you want to plant for a few months plant flowers, if you want to plant for a few years plant trees and if you want to plant for a lifetime plant ideas. I think sowing good ideas into people’s minds could help in changing their outlook which would in turn help overcome many of the social problems which we usually do nothing about except crib.
The Indian film industry, at times, deals with its underdogs in a very unkind way. If a young actress speaks out against her director or an interviewer upsets a superstar, the results could be very dire. You had a very unnerving experience yourself in this regard.
In Rome, one should do as the Romans do. If you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen. Every organisation has its own code of conduct and its set of dos and don’ts and if you violate those then you have to face the consequences, as you are up against that organisation. The same applies to the film industry. Besides, the people in the film industry are very progressive, educated, articulate and wonderful people. There is a great sense of camaraderie and a feeling of fraternity among all its members. Yes! There are a handful of people there who are from the old world but they are not those who are ruling the industry today.
If you were to meet the Pooja Bedi you were 15 years ago, what advice would you give her?
I would say you are doing fine and just enjoy the journey. Yes! I have grown wiser. But the experiences of life should help you become better, not bitter. I take everything that happened in my life as a positive experience, even if it relates to the one with my ex-husband. Here is a person I spent 12 years of my life with and a majority of the 12 years were good years and I thank him for it. I have two beautiful children with him. However, when things got terrible, we did ourselves a great favour by parting ways. The quality of life is not determined by what happens to you but by your reaction to what happens to you. The measure of life lies in its experiences not in the so-called achievements.