Mumbai: Born to bohemian parents, a school topper convinced she would be working in Wall Street, and then ending up entering Bollywood at the age of 18 — it’s been quite a journey for Pooja Bedi. In the national capital to participate in the Road to Global Entrepreneurship Summit organised by The Shift Series in association with NITI Aayog and The Global Education and Leadership Foundation, the Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar actress talked about her life, gave tips for good parenting and even dating advice. But before all that the moment she came to Delhi, the smog got her attention first. “I had to go to Gurgaon for dinner with my best friend. At one of the flyovers, we got stuck in traffic. We kept waiting for couple of hours. I started taking a video. People were blaming truck drivers. I also recorded a video of me calling the police for help. They didn’t take the call. My friends later told me I should not have gone out of the car. It’s so horrible to have jams and air quality like this at 11 at night. The city is being held to ransom because the existing laws are clearly not working,” she recounts.
Coming back to her own life struggles, she says, “I am so energetic and affectionate 24x7 that people around me think I do drugs. I grew up in a no man’s land. My mother was ultra liberated and she thought I was backward because I didn’t smoke or do drugs, yet for the society, I was very modern. Mothers would keep their daughters away from me for fear they would get corrupted.” She goes on, “I got married at 24 and my husband asked me to quit movies, which I did because I was crazily in love. Then came the traumatic period. My brother Siddharth committed suicide. Then my mother died. My marriage ended when I was pregnant with my second child. I lost all the support system with little money left. Then the book Who Moved My Cheese changed my life.”
Pooja then embarked on a journey to redeem herself. “Today I help people get a perspective and that comes from having a lot of experiences. Talk of being a cougar, dating married men, a housewife, a divorcee, a single parent… I have been there, done that. People ask me how can I give them relationship advice when my marriage was a failure. I tell them staying put in a bad relationship is not success, leaving a terrible relationship successfully, is a success,” says the 47-year-old.
Asked if she will make a comeback to the big screen, she bursts out laughing, “I’ve been slaughtered as a sex symbol and playing that when I’m nearing 50 will be absurd. The roles that are offered to me are hilarious.”
On her ongoing discord with her father Kabir Bedi, she says, “Things will get sorted out organically. It will correct itself when the reasons behind them correct themselves and he has to go through that transformation before that. It is just a question of time.”
Her father has been married four times but did she give up on marriage after her divorce? “I have entered and exited romantic relationships for certain reasons and I am happy to have shared that journey with these men. I have dated both billionaires and paupers. The reasons why people get married don’t exist in my life. Also, marriage has become such a binding institution and the laws are so anti-men that men are being victimised today. Marriage is seen as a trap and people are choosing not to walk the aisle but be in beautiful relationships. If I ever feel the need to marry I will, not because I ought to.” If asked she is following Bigg Boss, the former inmate signs off saying, “I have better things to do with my life.”