Sonali Bendre reacts to fan dying by suicide in Bhopal after failing to meet her: ‘How can someone?’

16 June,2024 10:00 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

Sonali Bendre recalls crazy fan mails from the 90s and how she kept herself grounded as she got into the world of movies at the age of 18

Sonali Bendre

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In a recent chat with Sonali Bendre for Mid-Day's The Bombay Film Story, host Mayank Shekhar asked the actress if she was aware of a fan's death in Bhopal? A guy in the 1990s died jumping off one of the city's lakes, because Sonali Bendre was once visiting town, and he couldn't see her. Sonali was shocked to hear and could not believe that someone could go to this extent for an onscreen personality,

"Yeh sach hai? [Is it true?]. How can someone…," Bendre sighs. Although the '90s were a decade, defined by such Bollywood fan-culture, this is only among several crazy things she's heard/experienced?

She revealed, "There'd be fan mails. We wondered to test, if it was in actual blood. I'd be shattered, if it was. Best to appreciate, and leave it at that. How can people place humans on such a pedestal, that they'll fall from, anyway?"

Sharing her thoughts on fan culture and obsession towards movie stars she said, "I couldn't understand that kind of obsession for somebody."

Unlike today, back in the 90s, accessibility to stars was limited making fans do crazy things to get the attention of their favourite actors. "I just feel that how can you put any human being on that kind of a pedestal? Because it's a human being and he or she is going to fall off that pedestal because they're human beings. So I could never put somebody up on a pedestal to that extent. So I never understood this kind of thing."

Sonali was a teenager when she started out as a model, working in ad films and eventually a Bollywood movie star. When asked how she managed to keep herself grounded, she said, "When I went back home, my parents saw to it that they grounded me. I think the kind of upbringing I'd had which was when you move from city to city, you're constantly breaking into new groups of people in school. You're used to being alone. You're used to being by yourself. You're used to being in a room where people are friends, but you don't know them. That kind of peer pressure and wanting to be accepted can make you do a lot of things. But because of that kind of an upbringing, I was okay to take my time, open my book, read, and get to know people slowly. And I think that kind of kept me grounded. I was not opening up to people because I just needed to be with people."

Sonali further said that as an actress she never felt the need to be invited to parties and constantly be seen. "A lot of people do say that,'aap toh dikhti nahi toh aap ke liye hum role bhul gaye. I was told that a lot of times. And I'm like, okay, I'll live with that. But I could live with that because I had been through it for so long since my childhood."

"So I took my time to see who I can be friendly with and with whom I must keep my distance. That kind of understanding was there and that kept me grounded," she added.

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