Thirteen years after she acted in her last film that made any kind of an impact, ‘Tirchhi Topiwale’, Monica Bedi, better known as the companion of jailed mafia don Abu Salem, has begun a new innings in Nepal, acting in a new film that could be the mirror of her own dreams.
The 36-year-old, whose glamorous looks survived her long ordeal in the past when the Indian government sought her extradition from Portugal along with Salem, and her subsequent stay in prison for passport forgery, starts shooting in a Nepali film, ‘Parichay’, directed by Mumbai-based director Akash Pandey.
On Feb 26, soon after she flew into Kathmandu and dumped her baggage in a hotel in Thamel, the prime tourist hub in the Nepali capital, Monica was followed by the paparazzi to an ethnic restaurant in the Lazimpat area where she tried out Nepali food.
It was in the same neighbourhood that Nepali media baron Jamim Shah, alleged to have close links with underworld king Dawood Ibrahim, was gunned down in broad daylight in February 2010. Bharat Nepali, another mafia hit man who claimed responsibility for Shah’s killing, was himself shot dead in Bangkok nine months later.
Monica, whose links with the underworld have remained the subject of unquenched speculation, seemed unaware of the gangster history of the area as she smilingly posed for photographers.
While refusing to comment on the fake passport charge that landed her in prison in India, Monica was, however, happy to talk about the new movie that will see her opposite Nikhil Upreti, Nepal’s action hero who last year left the Nepali film industry to find his place in Bollywood.
Much of the shooting will be done in the tourist town Pokhara, where earlier Govinda, Priyanka Chopra and decades ago Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman had shoot their films.
In ‘Parichay’, Monica plays a girl from a middle-class family who works in an office but is driven by dogged ambition to become a film star.
It could be the true life story of the girl who was born in a village in Punjab and then taken to Norway by her parents. But at 18, she spurned the respectable life of her parents, who ran a garments store, to return to India to seek adventure and her fortune in Mumbai’s Bollywood.
Being made in Nepali and believed to have the investment of non-resident Nepalis, ‘Parichay’ unfolds after Monica meets Nikhil at a dance bar and the two fall in love and marry, only to be parted by her ambition.
Years later, when both have carved out their own identities they meet again, leading to a twist in the plot.
The rest of the film will be shot in India and Thailand.(IANS)