Spirit of adventure

Tele talk

Spirit of adventure

She’s back with a bang, this time around as a celebrity contestant on the Indian version of the international show I Can Do That (that has earned crazy TRPs in Russia, America, Italy and Bulgaria). “I do this to myself all the time! I always rush headlong into things and then wonder how I am going to pull it off,” laughs Mandira, as we settle down over hot cappuccino on a Sunday morning at a suburban five star hotel in Mumbai.

It’s been a busy time, busier than ever for Mandira as she has just returned from Dubai after hosting an event, is busy shooting and is also going to be hopping across leading cities as well, pan India, to launch her new designer saree collection in consonance with the latest diamond jewellery collection. She has also commenced shooting for the show, to be aired next month onwards on Zee TV, and is pushing herself to the extreme, literally, swimming with octopuses and the like in deep pools and more, as part of the crazy, mind-blowing challenges assigned to each of the 12 celebrity participants (including Gauhar Khan, Gurmeet Choudhry and Ritvik Dhanjani). “I am enjoying every minute of the shoots,” shares Mandira, excitement dancing in her eyes. “It is anchored by Farhan Akhtar and we make for an interesting, raring bunch of participants.”

Television is known territory for the actress who shone in Doordarshan’s first ever soap Shanti, then grabbed eyeballs in the iconic film Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge as Shah Rukh Khan’s possible love interest, took to cricket commentary with a vengeance during the early IPL seasons, anchored Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar 2, a music reality show on TV, stalked the ramp as showstopper in fashion weeks galore and launched her own line of designer nine yards with a big bang. Of course, playing the compere at live shows, successful theatre outings, multiple endorsements and more have been keeping her busier than the proverbial bee over the years. Yet she has discovered a curious balance between work and family since the arrival of little Vir, her four-year-old son.

So, what has motherhood taught her... “Selflessness, responsibility, how to kiss sleep goodbye. I have changed completely. I am more conservative — like earlier I would leap off for a bungee jump, now, no. Also, I have realised that the initial two months are hard. You must take all the help you get (I did) and see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am constantly playing the balancing act between dropping my son off to school, spending time with him once he is back and rearranging my shoot schedule around his daily time table. Both my husband, Raj, and I are hands-on parents and make sure Vir is never left alone with just the domestic help at home. Vir travels with me wherever I go, and enjoys it too. I live for him,” says Mandira candidly. “Though I must admit, it isn’t easy at times and is a bit of a struggle, being a working mother, striking the balance between work and home, but I absolutely love it.”

Of course, she packs in the energy quotient and then some into her daily fitness schedule, running and honing her muscle tone to perfection. Mandira has shed a gargantuan amount of weight and is looking her best in a lean, lithe avatar, also winning accolades through her performance as the headstrong Seema, in the play Anything But Love, with actor Samir Soni. “We were to stage the play in Bengaluru before Diwali but my innings at the show, I Can Do That, have left me with absolutely no time for anything else for two months,” says Mandira. “It’s show time, once again.”

Time for baby number two? “I want to, but I need to take a breath and give Vir his due too,” she says, signing off succinctly.


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