Candid Confessions

Candid Confessions

At the inaugural session of Loksatta Viva Lounge,Sonali Kulkarni discovers a different side to fellow actor Sonali Bendre.

She may have married into a Punjabi family but on Wednesday afternoon,Bollywood actor Sonali Bendre looked every bit the Maharashtrian mulgi she is — complete with a red bindi glinting on her forehead and clad in a green and red salwar kameez. The occasion was the first session of Loksatta Viva Lounge,held at Express Towers,Nariman Point,Mumbai.

An interactive property launched by Loksatta Viva — a lifestyle weekly supplement of Loksatta aimed at its young Maharashtrian women readers — Loksatta Viva Lounge celebrates the achievements of extraordinary women from different walks of life. Bendre,in fact,was the first guest to have been invited for a no-holds-barred discussion hosted by actor and guest editor of Loksatta,Sonali Kulkarni.

Be it about the choice of her films or her family life,Bendre reacted to all questions with candour. When asked about how her career in films came about,Bendre replied that it wasn’t a conscious decision on her part to work only in Hindi or Marathi films. “I was driven by a good script. The language didn’t matter,” she said,reflecting on her work.

Bendre confessed to taking chances at the peak of her career. Despite having acted opposite leading actors such as Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan,Bendre had no qualms about doing a children’s talent show — Kya Masti Kya Dhoom — for television. “In the early 2000s,only Amitabh Bachchan had done television. Yet,I chose to go ahead with this show as I liked the concept. And even though I worked long hours,I was happy since I was getting good money,” she said.


However,it is theatre that posed one of the biggest challenges in her career. “I didn’t think I had it in me to do a play and that too,an Urdu one written by Javed Siddiqi. But when I heard the story for Aapki Sonia (a sequel to Tumhari Amrita),I was spellbound and knew I had to do it,” said Bendre,who hasn’t had any formal training in acting.

She is not the one to take her success for granted. “I have been lucky. In fact,when I started out as an ad-film model,films were a natural progression. So it was about being at the right place at the right time. But having said that,I also worked hard for it,” she emphasised.

The actor,who is known for her gorgeous looks,asserted that even though she’s surrounded by film personalities (she has married filmmaker Goldie Behl),she has always viewed herself as an outsider. “I am not affected by gossip nor do I indulge in it. It has to do with the fact that I hail from a non-filmi family — a typical Maharashtrian one that insisted that I get a first class in my degree exams,” she explained.

Bendre was stumped by Kulkarni’s last question about what she wanted to do next. “That’s a difficult one to answer; more so because I get bored easily. I am still looking for the next big challenge,” she said.