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`Page 3 culture. Why not?'

Despite many ups and downs in life, Pooja Bedi remains unfazed



A MIND OF HER OWNPooja Bedi Photo: V. SREENIVASA MURTHY

What does one say about a brazen girl who does an in-the-face Kamasutra ad with total flamboyance? Does a Vishkanya in Bollywood though her ambition was to be in Wall Street? Marries, has children despite coming from a broken family, and has Protima Gauri Bedi and Kabir Bedi for parents? Whose own marriage ends in divorce? Whose brother commits suicide and whose celebrity dancer-mother turns monk only to perish tragically in a landslide?

No one gets away unscathed after so much. But to be plucky about it all, pick yourself up and be up and running in the second innings with gusto, is quite something else. That's what Pooja Bedi is doing. Unstoppable and never at a loss for words, Pooja is putting her motor mouth skills to use in Zoom's new talk show, Just Pooja, where she tackles issues haunting the celeb and film star community. It's hard to ignore the sexy top she's wearing, the long mane that falls over the shoulder, those unending legs encased in shredded jeans and the black lycra G that peeps naughtily out of them.

Pooja says she has begun her second innings. "Obviously I can't talk about myself on my own chat show!" But can celebrities really talk issues and about their own life candidly? "Yes. But there has to be a trust factor with the host and they must be convinced that no issue will be sensationalised. Of course, I'm tongue-in-cheek and irreverent, but that's my style and I get away with it!"

As the conversation veers toward Page 3, partying, and people buying airtime on channels and space in newspapers, Pooja talks of how all channels these days focus on parties. "The idea is to sell programmes that people are interested in — about happening, celeb, debauch parties. But I don't know of anyone who sells airtime. People are saying, `Hey, come in and see our world and lives.' That's Page 3 culture. Why not? If audiences like to have a voyeuristic glimpse of their life, why complain?"

Pooja herself has gotten away with a lot of unconventional things in her life. "I've only done what I've wanted to do," she protests. "I firmly believe that what I'm doing is okay as far as I'm not hitting, stealing, killing, raping... I may do things that are not kosher, but I will do it as far as it's not illegal. That's the beauty of being in a democracy."

Isn't this rebellious streak something drawn from her mother's life? "I am a human being and I am a reflection of my parents. My life has to be a take-off from them. You can be inspired by your parents, or Jiddu Krishnamurthy or Osho, but you can't be them."

Pooja shot into the limelight after a hiatus when she edited Timepass, a book on her mother, based on Protima's diary and letters to her. She however, never took over the reins of Nrityagram, the pioneering dance school that was Protima's passion. She believes a legacy can't be handed down just because of lineage. "Mom never believed in nepotism. It was built with a vision and dream... and she made the right decision of handing it over to Lynn. I'm there with them. It's home, it's full of mom."

Joining or rather leading the brigade of sexy moms, this mother of two says she keeps herself looking a certain way. "I like to be slim and sexy. It takes effort and discipline to be this way. And you have to want it bad enough."

Pooja is busy finishing a book, A Fit Pregnancy, dubbed the mother of all glamour guides, which she started writing when she was pregnant with her first baby.

Films and serials? "I've refused all the roles that have come my way. I don't want to play roles. I just want to be Pooja."

BHUMIKA. K

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