I want to come across people as just Pooja: Pooja Bedi

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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) She has carved a niche for herself as a talk show host on television putting off guard many a celebrity from the tinsel world with her trademark effervescence.

Vivacious Pooja Bedi, whose infectious charm as talk show host on programmes like 'Just Pooja' on Zoom has won her rave reviews from film critics circles, says doing chat shows on the small screen gives her a high as it allows her to come across celebrities as well as television audience as just herself.

''For me doing chat shows helps me to come across to people as just myself. While chatting with celebrities as a talk show host, I am just Pooja which is what I enjoy being most of the time,'' Pooja, daughter of yesteryears' Bollywood actor Kabir Bedi, told UNI in an interview.

Is this the reason why one has not seen much of Pooja in films, especially after her brilliant portrayals in films like Mansoor Khan's 'Jo Jeeta Woh Sikandar' in the 90s? ''I left television in 1994 when I got married. From 1994 till my divorce in 2002, I took a break from films. Thereafter, I got a lot of offers to host talk shows on television which I accepted. And, I must say, I have thoroughly enjoyed my stint with the small screen.

All of which does not leave me with much time for anything else.

In any case, none of the film roles I have been offered of late have been exciting enough for me to return to the silver screen,'' Pooja said.

Pooja has now donned a new hat, as the brand ambassador of Barbaque Nation, the first of its kind restaurant in India to offer a ''Live Grill on the Table''.

Pooja, who recently inaugurated Barbaque Nation's first outlet in the city, said ''I came to be associated with Barbaque Nation through my event management firm 'Matrix'. This is the third Barbaque Nation outlet I have launched in recent months, after launching similar stores in Hyderabad and Gurgaon. I really love the food here and the first of its kind style of 'live grill on the table'.'' Pooja said it was important for celebrities to believe in the product they associate themselves with.

''As idols and icons of lakhs of people, what the celebrities endorse has a tremendous impact on the tastes of the people. Talking about myself, I would say my decision to become a brand ambassador for Barbaque nation is because I believe that it provides for an enjoyable dining for those frequenting here. I have been here several times and thoroughly enjoyed myself,'' she said.

Pooja said in over the last decade and a half, she had not associated herself with many brands.

''In the recent past, I was associated with the Botox institute and, now, Barbaque Nation,'' she said.

For now, Pooja said she was thoroughly enjoying her stint with television.

''For me, as of now, it is just television. May be, if a good role in an international venture comes along, I might consider doing it,'' she added.

Pooja is all praise for the tremendous leap that the small screen has witnessed in the last over a decade.

''I feel that today television is no longer the small screen it used to be called a decade ago. Today, it has a far bigger and wider reach than even films. For example, there is so much varied stuff being made on television today. This is perhaps why superstars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan have hopped aboard the television bandwagon in recent years,'' she said.

On her future plans, Pooja said she was in talks with a channel to host a talk show for them.

UNI AR SP HT1312

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