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In her 16 years on a wide variety of Indian news and entertainment TV channels, Mandeep Bevli has been a confident, expressive anchor and presenter, rightly famous for her quick wit, engaging candor, sparkling vivacity, and versatility, all of which are reflected in the wide spectrum of media genres in which she has displayed her many talents. In over 600 mostly premium live shows, she has transitioned easily and seamlessly from travel to food to film to Indian popular music culture, from quiz shows to automobiles to crime shows.
Mandeep has always especially sparkled when doing live interviews, one of her specialties. Among the many famous people she has interviewed are the incomparable Aishwarya Rai Bachanv, the famous Bollywood actress and one of the most beautiful women in the world, Amitabh Bachan, one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan -- a singer of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis, whose voice is considered one of the greatest ever recorded – and Indian cricketer great, Venkatesh Prasad (her interview with him begins at 1:37 of this wonderful segment on Zee TV about Bangalore).
Full of life, Mandeep connects with people instantly, and is completely understanding while making no judgments. As a result, her guests – everyone, really—tend to lose their inhibitions and feel free to talk openly with her, often sharing unexpected and very personal confidences that one typically reserves only for the closest of friends. She’s chirpy and bright and compassionate, and has been described by colleagues as a sunflower. As bright as a sunflower.
During the first six weeks after her arrival in India from Los Angeles in 1995, she did a few fashion shows, but soon television came knocking, and she switched to anchoring, beginning with the Great Indian Yatra and Hit Parade for BiTV. But BiTV had transmission problems, so by default Public Demand became her first show.
From the beginning, Mandeep’s natural charm, vivacity, and warmth made her a perfect fit for hosting and she quickly became a fan favorite with her audiences. In particular, her natural wit surfaced during Public Demand, which was a semi-scripted show that left room for Mandeep’s special brand of improvisation. Audiences loved her and her special communication skills, and this despite the fact that she was not fully conversant in Hindi.
At the height of her quickly-won popularity, Mandeep decided to quit Public Demand because EL TV and Channel V wanted her to move to Bombay (Mumbai). Such a move would have been quite sensible – after all, by this time almost all Indian entertainment content was being produced in Bombay—but Mandeep has always thrown conventional wisdom to the winds and followed her heart, and her heart was telling her to stay in Delhi and instead consider the flood of offers for anchoring positions now coming her way from Star Plus, Channel V, Yes TV, UTV, as well as several others, all eager to talk to her after her instant success with Public Demand at EL TV.
From the very beginning, therefore, Mandeep put the emotional happiness of her heart before the pecuniary pragmatism of a traditional career. Why after all, she determined, would she leave an amazing boyfriend and two gorgeous dogs behind in Delhi in order merely to seek the favors of Mammon in Bombay? In addition, she had always led a very sheltered life, initially in India, but then also in the United States, and she frankly wasn’t prepared to take on all the uncertain vagaries of the world. Sunflowers rarely are.
Choosing comfort and lifestyle over more money, Mandeep thus politely bowed out of the multiple offers she’d received to go to Bombay, and instead chose to remain in Delhi. Lady Luck – or the Cosmos, as she prefers to perceive the workings of the world – has always looked out for Mandeep, however, and thus did she quickly became well known for doing popular programs on premium channels in Delhi, including Zee TV, Home TV, BiTV, DD Metro, DD International, not to mention Star Plus, which was the premium English-language channel in India at the time.
In 1997, Mandeep emceed her first live show, the very prestigious Hero Honda Pro-Am Golf Tournament for Showtime. From there, she went on to emcee hundreds of live shows, including launches of all sorts of products from computers to automobiles, auto expos, fashion shows, musical extravaganzas, New Year’s Eve celebrations, as well as theme-based programs touting the products and services of corporations such as KLM, American Express, Malaysian Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, Bausch and Lomb, Seagate Computers, Compusell, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Hero Honda, Opel Astra, Opel Corsa Daewoo, to name just a few.
Mandeep’s great success with Public Demand was followed by a similar success with Dhara Zaike Ka Safar on Zee TV, where her charming sense of humor and warmth permeated both her one-on-one interviews as well as her playful jousting with the show's talented chefs during the cooking segments. And then BiTV sought her out once again with an offer to anchor the Culture Show, which unfortunately consisted of Hindi scripts, which remained a serious challenge for Mandeep even though they were written specially for her in Roman (transliterated) Hindi because she lacked full fluency. She nevertheless cleverly managed to sound seamlessly fluent through a combination of memorization and practicing just the right intonation and pronunciation before her anchoring performances. It was quite a remarkable feat of improvisation by Mandeep to sound so fluent in Hindi while not actually being so.
Most of her counterparts had moved to Bombay because of lack of work in Delhi, but Mandeep’s experience was exactly the opposite. She found plenty of work in Delhi. She was originally offered an 8-episode stint with Popularity Yours, a musical video countdown show on Home TV, but she and the show got such rave reviews that – with a boost from a sponsorship by Bakeman's Biscuits—the show instead had an extraordinary run of over 70 episodes.
Mandeep was simultaneously anchoring Dhara Zaike Ka Safar, the Culture Show, and Popularity Yours when she received an offer from Star Plus, which at the time did all of their programming in English, to do Wild Encounters, India’s first wildlife game show which was produced by none other than Maneka Gandhi (widow of Sanjay Gandhi, an Indian politician and Indira Gandhi's son), who also produced and hosted the environmental chat-show Maneka’s Ark.
In August, 1999, MTV India sought out Mandeep’s talents, but they too wanted her to move to Bombay and she simply was not prepared to do that. She therefore continued anchoring in Delhi even though at the time Indian television was going through a serious transition period. For example, she was once again offered the anchoring position for the Wild Encounters program at Star Plus, but this time she would have had to do the show in Hindi. She decided to decline the offer. Despite the fact that so much good quality programming – especially in English—was vanishing, Mandeep was nevertheless able to continue her work in Delhi on excellent programs such as Designers World and Road Watch on DD Metro. In addition, she also did a lot of live television, picked up an anchoring slot on the entertainment show, Khabrein Bollywood Ki, on DD Metro, and even acted in a movie in 2001. She played the role of Pilyali in Rules: Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula along with a host of talented actors, including Milind Soman, Tanuja, Raj Zutshi, and Mira Vasudevan
In September, 2003, Mandeep went back to Los Angeles for a two-year sabbatical, returning to India in November, 2005, to resume work. Her first job upon her return was anchoring the popular crime show, Criminal, on IBN 7. In so doing, she became the first Indian woman ever to anchor a crime show on Indian television. It was quite an honor, and one which was accomplished despite her continuing hurdle with Hindi fluency. It was actually quite remarkable that she was not only able to memorize her script word for word for the biweekly 90-minute show, but able to deliver it just like a native-speaker despite not having the use of a teleprompter.
After eight months, however, Mandeep had had enough of Criminal, and made a decision that she wasn’t going to anchor any more programs in Hindi. The challenge, given her lack of fluency, was simply too stressful. By 2007 the only actual programming content still being produced in Delhi was news. Mandeep had always wanted to be a part of a news channel, with the thought in mind that ideally one day she might become a serious agent of change, and so she happily joined Headlines Today, a part of the TV Today Group that was owned by the dynamic and intelligent Aroon Purie. While at Headlines Today, she anchored live journal news, breaking news, as well as live entertainment shows like Grandstand.
Sometimes in life, the smallest things can wreak more havoc than even one’s worst enemies. Per all appearances, her situation in the middle of 2008 could not have been better! Her shows were doing extremely well, generating very high TRP’s (target rating points, similar to Nielsen ratings in the United States). Most unfortunately, it was at this point in time that one of her neighbors decided to demolish his house and begin construction of a new four-story house in its place. There was unceasing noise, day and night, for months and months. A light sleeper to begin with, Mandeep began subsisting as best she could on two hours of sleep per night, and sometimes not even that. The lack of sleep brought on a host of health problems. Slowly and patiently, she waited for the project to be finished. After two years, her neighbor’s new house was finally, mercifully completed. Cruelly, however, her respite was short-lived. A mere month later, the neighbor on the other side also began the demolition of his house in preparation to build a new one, and then to add insult to already considerable injury, the neighbor from diagonally opposite her dwelling did the same! Mandeep had somehow survived her sleep deprivation for 2 ½ years, but now facing yet another one to two years of unceasing noise, she had no choice but to throw in the towel. Her health seriously compromised, quite sadly she resigned what had been a very satisfying job at Headlines Today, and moved back to Los Angeles, where she had previously lived since the age of 14.
To maximize her time, she has resumed her studies, something which she had long intended to do in any case. As of 2014, therefore, Mandeep is now a student of the cinematic arts, having finished up her degree in broadcast journalism. She looks forward with excitement to the next new fork in the road of her continuing journey.
|Public Demand||EL TV (Anchor—TV 18)||1995–1996|
|Anchor for BPL Oye!||Channel V (Anchor)||1996|
|The Great Indian Yatra||BiTV (Anchor – movie company)||1995|
|Hit Parade||BiTV (Anchor)||1995|
|Dhara Zaike Ka Safar||Zee TV (Anchor—Bag Films)||1996–2001|
|Culture Show||BiTV (Anchor)||1996–1997|
|Pepsi Ek Se Badkar Ek||DD Metro (Anchor—Asian Age)||1996–1997|
|Bakeman's Popularly Yours||Home TV (Anchor)||1997–1999|
|Wild Encounters||Star Plus (Anchor)||1998–1999|
|Road Watch||DD Metro (Anchor)||1998–2001|
|Home Style||DD Metro (Anchor)||1999–2000|
|Designers World||DD International (Anchor)||1998–1999|
|Khabrein Bollywood Ki||DD Metro (Anchor)||2001|
|IBN7 (First Indian crime show anchored by a woman)||2006–2007|
|Grand Stand, Headstart, Spice Route, General and Breaking News||Headlines Today (Associate executive producer and Anchor)||2007–2011|
|Big Boss||Colors TV (Contestant)||2011–2012|
|California State University-Fullerton||B.A. in Broadcast Journalism (Honor Roll)|
|Miss Asia of California Beauty Pageant||Runner-Up; selected Miss Congeniality|
|Covina High School||Graduated with Honors (3.85 GPA)|
|Volunteer||Covina Community Hospital|
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