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Naturally Nikki
PUBLISHED: Volume 11, Issue 4, Fourth Quarter 2003
I love radio. You don’t have to get your make-up done or your roots touched up!

The face of Universal Studios in Britain for more than two years, Nikki Bedi is prepared to repeat her successful formula in India.

It has been a tough year for Nikki Bedi. Her father Arvind Mulgaonkar’s recent death has taken its toll. "My mother died when I was very young and it was my father who shaped my value system," says Bedi, a self-confessed daddy’s girl. "He was a bit of a hellraiser in his time, and in that respect I definitely take after him."

But her irrepressible joie de vivre soon surfaces. Bedi believes "life is what happens when you are making other plans"… and life is busier than ever.

She’s holding the fort for her stepmother and siblings. And then, there’s work. Come autumn, and she takes on a challenging ‘talk radio’ assignment for the BBC with a distinctive multicultural twist. "I love radio. You don’t have to get your make-up done or your roots touched up!"

Her dual identity has allowed her to make forays into the mainstream media. But there have been moments of frustration caused by reverse discrimination. "I am more qualified than a lot of British Asians to comment on anything Indian and I certainly speak better Hindi," she says wryly, "but am often overlooked because I do not have the requisite brown skin!"

These, it would seem, are minor irritants. Until recently, Bedi was hosting The Studio on the Universal Channel on cable, and was the face of Universal Studios in Britain for more than two years with assignments and star interviews in Hollywood and Bollywood.

The channel has been axed but Bedi is keen to repeat the formula in Britain – even India. "I would like to go back on Indian TV at some stage and have everyone say ‘Hey, it’s that Nikki Bedi again. What’s she up to now?’ I won’t let them down because that’s my personality." Will Nikki Bedi on Indian screens be déjà vu? "I am always up to something. But I have grown," she says. "The whole concept behind ‘Nikki Tonight’ was to shock and I don’t want to do that anymore."

Part of that growth is Bedi Productions, where Bedi has teamed up with Seher Bedi, husband Kabir’s niece and an MTV producer, to put together concepts for possible future television productions. Her dream scenario? A one-on-one chat show. "I am not keen to put on the Oprah Winfrey hat and be the Mother Teresa of the Indian chat scene. I need to be myself." Naturally.

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