The Grand Comeback
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I am finally back on familiar ground," says Monica Bedi with a smile. The actor returns — although on the television medium — after nearly a decade. She has been signed on to play the negative lead in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's ambitious television adaptation Saraswatichandra on Star Plus, based on the classic novel by the same name. "Acting has been my first love. And to return to it after so many years and working with a filmmaker as accomplished as Mr Bhansali, is nothing short of a windfall," she adds.
Bedi began her career in films in 1994, but 25-odd films later, her career came to a standstill when she got involved with gangster Abu Salem. Extradited from Portugal along with Salem, she returned to India in 2005. After she was acquitted in the high-profile fake passport case in 2007, Bedi received several offers for films and TV shows. But most of them required her to portray characters very close to her personal life. She, however, wanted to move on, having put her past behind her.
"Everyone suggested I should move out of Mumbai, shift to another city and live my life quietly, away from media attention," says Bedi. Despite the court verdict, she says she was eyed suspiciously by everyone.
She was, however, adamant that she would not run away from the situation, especially since she believed she had done no wrong. The offer to be on Bigg Boss Season 2, therefore, came at the right time. "It did for me what no blockbuster Bollywood film could have done — it took me into the homes of people, and over three months, they got a chance to judge me as a person," she says. When she came out of the house, she sensed a change in everyone's attitude towards her; the hostility was gone.