Whilst much of the attention in the British press has focussed on Jade Goody’s entry into the House of the Big Boss in Lonavla, we shouldn’t forget that this also represents the second chance for Bollywood actress Monica Bedi.
Released from the Chanchalguda Central women’s prison a year ago, she took a time-out before deciding now was the time to face her public once again. Isn’t a reality show a fairly extreme way of making an entrance? “A lot has been said and written about me, and most people are afraid of me,” she says, “But I want them to know the real Monica, and then make an opinion of me. I can give interviews and clear the air, but why should I give an explanation to anyone? I know what I’ve done and what I’ve been through.”
Monica was the companion of gangster Abu Salem and was arrested with him when trying to enter Portugal on false documents in 2002. After a lengthy three-year battle, they were deported to India and Monica served a further year in jail. Until then, her career had been going well with appearances in movies such as Jodi No.1 and Pyaar, Ishq aur Mohabbat
Is she keen to get back into Bollywood? “I’m in no hurry to sign a film, like I used to be earlier in my career. I’m not going to repeat the same mistakes,” she explains, “I was young, inexperienced and I made a lot of hasty decisions,”
Have her experiences affected her attitude to life? “Now I’ve become more spiritual, my faith in God has given me the power and strength to cope. Life has been very tough and living with the image that people have of me makes it even tougher,” she comments.
And how about a Bollywood biography of Monica’s rise and fall and hopeful rise again? “It depends on who’s making it. As long as it gives justice to me, I’m willing to do it. I have nothing to hide and I’m not ashamed of anything that’s happened,” she closes off.