Sports is chauvinistic, but I’ve changed mindsets: Mandira

By Prithwish Ganguly, IANS

New Delhi : TV anchor Mandira Bedi, who brought noodle strap blouses into serious cricket talk, says much of the controversy she attracts has to do with her being a woman in the male-dominated world of sports.

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"People have loved me and people have hated me. I'm aware of the brickbats that came along with the bouquets," Mandira told IANS in an interview.

Despite scathing remarks against her, the presenter has survived for four years in the sports industry but feels many people will not accept her in the role of a cricket show host because she is a woman.

"In sports, it's a very chauvinistic, male-dominated field. I have managed to change the minds of some people and I know there are some who will never accept me in that position."

Mandira, who shot to fame as an anchor with "Extra Innings", said: "I had no inhibitions wearing the clothes I have worn. Those were the kind of clothes I personally wore and I took them on to the show. Frankly speaking, they were nothing sensational.

"It was just a woman sitting on a cricket panel, wearing saris and bright colours – where normally a woman would have worn a blazer or asexual clothes – that caught the attention. It was never intended. I was surprised at how people reacted."

Mandira, 35, says she was pulled into unnecessary controversies. Many an eyebrow had been raised when she got a symbol sacred to Sikhs tattooed on her body and also when she wore a sari with the Indian flag printed at its bottom .

"I have not drawn controversies. They have come my way. I'm not a believer that good publicity or bad publicity works in the media," she said.

Mandira has acted in a new movie, "Meerabai Not Out", in which she plays the role of a crazy cricket fan. She is however no stranger to Bollywood, having worked in around 10 films.

She says the new film was supposed to be released during the World Cup but India's dismal performance had delayed the film's opening. The movie is now expected to release in August.

"The film was actually for the World Cup. We made it really quick to coincide its release with the tournament but we all know what happened (India was out of the tournament in the early stages). So we decided to wait for people to start liking cricket again and then release it."

Mandira says she also has some offers from down south and is also extensively acting in theatre. She is also set to host a television show, shooting for which will start in August. She, however, did not reveal the details of the show.