The two most famous Mamtas of India share one trait in common. They are certifiable firebrands, no man(or woman)can mess around with.
Mamta Kulkarni was never a great actress . She didn’t aspire to be one.But she was popular,or teekha, as one of her co-stars describes her. He also describes her as fun-loving. “Ekdum mast ladki tthi. Hassle-free.She may have had a sexy image and all that. But she never compromised in her career. All those hit films she got on merit alone.”
Strangely none of her co-stars or producers want to talk about Mamta Kulkarni on record.
“Why do you want to talk about Mamta Kulkarni? ” a well-known producer asked me.
Because she had quite a successful innings in the 1990s? Because she featured in hit films with Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan , Govinda. Suniel Shetty, etc? Filmmakers like Mehul Kumar , Sajid Nadiadwala and Dev Anand cast her repeatedly.Because Saif Ali Khan was launched opposite Mamta in Aashiq Awara? Because she was liked by the public for her spunk? Because she had a bigger fan following on the big screen in the 1990s than some of the social-media stars today? Also, because she just disappeared at one point , got married and resurfaced as a prime accused in drug trafficking?
Mamta Kulkarni’s real-life story would make a far more interesting film than any of the hits that she featured in during the 1990s. She did write about her experiences in an autobiography where she spoke about her spiritual experiences.I haven’t read it. I don’t know of anyone who has. She claimed she was never married to Vicky Goswami her husband and her accomplice in the alleged crimes.
In a videotaped message in 2016 Mamta said, “I am a yogini . I am engaged in spirituality and it effects by activities since the past 20 years. I am innocent of the accusations against me… I have never engaged in any act contrary to the principles of Indian statutes and am a victim of high-handedness, crude, unprofessional and unethical conspiracy by the officers of the US’s Drug Enforcement Administration and the Thane police.”
Bollywood history would recall Mamta as one of the first actresses to call out a major filmmaker for sexual harassment. The allegations which she shouted from rooftops ruined her career. Nobody would touch her with a bargepole after she was branded a “trouble maker”. This is what happens to actresses who shout out against sexual harassment . They are banished from Bollywood. Does anyone remember Sabeeha, daughter of yesteryears’ actress Amita, who accused a fading superstar of unbecoming behavior?
Luckily for Mamta she is remembered even today with much fondness by audiences from the 1990s. Most of all she is remembered for her notorious Stardust cover where she went boldly topless, and was even jailed for obscenity. Come to think of it, Mamta Kulkarni was just right for the era of the social media. She came a little prematurely.
Nobody knows where Mamta Kulkrani is nowadays. I hope she’s at peace with her notorious past.