Mandakini, an Unknown Girl from Meerut became an overnight sensation in India when Raj Kapoor cast her in his flagship film opposite Rajiv Kapoor.
Mandakini had been rejected by filmmakers three times before Raj Kapoor noticed her talent and stunning green eyes, which only could play the part for him. Who would have known then that an actress rejected by many prominent producers and directors, would one day appear in more than 50 Hindi films and become one of the most popular actors of the 80s and 90s? But behind this successful run in the Hindi film industry lies her intriguing love life. So, let’s explore Mandakini’s love life for you guys.
Mandakini born as Yasmeen Joseph
As the lead actress in Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Mandakini (born as Yasmeen Joseph) had two sultry scenes in the film that rocked the entire industry (one, in which she bathes under a waterfall wearing only a white sari and two, in which she is breastfeeding her child). Some have alleged that Raj Kapoor had fully exploited her “physical assets” for his film. On this subject, Raj Kapoor once said:
“If Federico Fellini shows naked women in Amarcord, it’s called art and wins awards at high-end festivals. If I dare to go to nudity, it is called exploitation and voyeurism “.
But soon after the film’s release and her stunning box office performance, Mandakini grabbed the limelight and was only offered ‘dare to bare’ roles. Eventually, people started to call her the “Bollywood sex siren”. Mandakini went on to star in many films alongside many prominent men of this era including Jeetendra, Mithun Chakraborty, Aditya Pancholi, and others. However, she stopped acting in 1996 and even after many attempts she was never able to truly regain the fame she gladly enjoyed in the 1980s.
Link with Dawood Ibrahim
International terrorist (designated) and gangster from Mumbai, Dawood Ibrahim was once part of the who’s who of Mumbai. In addition to funding numerous film projects, Dawood was often seen at movie nights and spotted with many prominent actors, actresses, producers and directors. And in one such incident, Mandakini was seen with Dawood Ibrahim and their photos circulated in the newspapers like wildfire. Rumors were already circulating that the two were dating due to allegations that Dawood personally asked Raj Kapoor to cast Mandakini in one of his films. The photos only fueled the fire.
Mandakini vehemently denied the rumors and went on to say that she had only had friendly terms with Dawood and that the two were not dating or getting married. In an interview she gave to Mid-Day later, Mandakini cleared her stand and said:
“I no longer want people to put me in touch with Dawood or even think about this unfortunate episode. It’s a thing of the past now. I feel very bad that the media always wants to take advantage of my name and make it as controversial as possible … I emptied my booth at that point. After a while, you get angry. If you want to clean up your image, that doesn’t mean you have to report every six months ”.
Rumors also suggested that Mandakini had moved to Dubai with Dawood and that the two also had a child together. In fact, it was once also reported that a filmmaker was shot dead in Mumbai for rejecting Mandakini as the lead actress in his project. People assumed Dawood was behind the murder. These reports disturbed her mentally and her family showed their support. She recalled:
“They helped me forget things that were really disturbing at the time. All the credit goes to my family. I was really distressed at the time, as things had happened too suddenly for me to even think about it. I got used to it and I got used to living under this pressure ”.
The 1993 explosions in Mumbai, in which Dawood Ibrahim was the prime suspect and financed terrorist activities, added yet another turmoil to Mandakini’s life. Dawood left the country a day before Bombay’s worst bloodshed occurred, and Mandakini went underground on a Bangalore farm. She later received a purchase order during the investigation process.
The path to spirituality and the simple life
After the turmoil, it was time to find a peaceful path. Mandakini began to follow the paths of the Dalai Lama and began to devote her time to Tibetan yoga. She then married a former Buddhist monk, Dr Kagyur T. Rinpoche Thakur. Mandakini, speaking of her husband, once said:
“My husband was a monk for much of his life before our marriage. He is a follower of the Dalai Lama and he has always supported the Tibetan cause. It’s not that I’m consciously trying to be good to start making movies again. I am always at home with my children.
By the way, Dr. Kagyur first rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s as a baby when he appeared in commercials for Murphy Radio. However, he never pursued his acting and modeling career and instead became a Buddhist monk for the next 20 years of his life. After the wedding, Mandakini and her husband opened a Tibetan yoga center in Mumbai and the Tibetan Herbal Center. The couple have a son, Rabbil and a daughter, Rabze Innaya Thakur.
Wow! What a life it must have been for her! From allegedly being involved with one of the world’s most wanted people to marrying a former Buddhist monk, Mandakini has surely seen so much.