Protima Bedi is best remembered as an Indian classical dancer and also as a popular Indian model of the 1970s. She was born in 1948 to Laxmichand Gupta and Reba in Delhi. She had done her schooling from Kimmins High School in Panchgani and completed her graduation from St. Xavier's College in Bombay. She began her career with modeling right after she completed her graduation. It was during her modeling days she met Kabir Bedi and in 1969 they both got married and were blessed with two beautiful children Siddharth Bedi and Pooja Bedi. During the 1970s Protima made a place for herself among the top models of that time.
Protima Bedi came in contact with the Odissi dance form in the year 1975 and dedicated the rest of her life to dancing. She established a dance village called "Nrityagram", near Bangalore in 1990. The tragic incident of the death of her son Siddharth changed her completely and she retired from public life. Protima decided to go for pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar and she was never seen post the Malpa landslide, near Pithoragarh on 18 August 1998. Her remains and belongings were recovered after several days of the incident.
Protima Bedi was born in Delhi on 12th October 1948 to Laxmichand Gupta, a trader and mother Reba. She was the second child and had one brother and two sisters as siblings. Laxmichand Gupta left his home when he married a Bengali girl (Reba) and shifted base to Goa in 1953. His daughter, Protima was 5 years old then. After staying in Goa for four years they moved to Bombay in 1957. However, Protima Bedi did not get a chance to stay with her parents in Bombay as she was sent off to stay with her aunt in Karnal. There she was admitted to a local school for her initial studies and later shifted to the Kimmins High School in Panchgani. Protima Bedi completed her graduation from St Xavier's College in Bombay. After she completed her degree she focused on her modeling career and it was during her modeling days that she got married to actor Kabir Bedi in 1969. The couple was blessed with two children Pooja and Siddharth Bedi. Protima Bedi separated from her husband in 1978.
Protima Bedi started out as a model in Bombay right after she completed college. By the 1970s she confirmed her position as one of the top models in India. Protima will be best remembered in the modeling world for the advertising campaign of the Cineblitz Magazine where she ran nude in public at Bombay’s Juhu Beach in the year 1974. She had to face much criticism after her advertising campaign.
Protima Bedi came in contact with the Oddisi dance form in 1975 when she visited the Bhulabhai Memorial Institute by chance and an Odissi dance recital completely changed her life. This dance recital inspired her to take up dancing as a career and she immediately enrolled herself under the guidance of the famous Odissi dancer - Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She dedicated about 12 to 14 hours in a day in learning the variations and degrees of Odissi dance and also started to perform regularly in Odissi stage shows. She later established her own dance academy "Nrityagram" on 11th May in 1990 near Bangalore. Protima Bedi became popular as Protima Gauri or Gauri Amma and later as Gauri Maa amongst her students. Nrityagram became the first free dance Gurukul in India comprising of seven Gurukuls for the seven classical dance forms and two martial arts forms Kalaripayattu and Chhau. Nrityagram won the ‘Best Rural Architecture’ award in the year 1991. Nrityagram was also the venue for the annual dance festival Vasanta Habba which first began in 1994 and it was last held in 2004.
Protima Bedi and Pooja Bedi
Protima Bedi shared a very friendly relationship with daughter Pooja Bedi. In one of her interviews Pooja said - Once I went to my mother and told her, 'Give me a deadline. Decide what I should wear and what I should not, which friends I should hang around with. Caring mothers behave this way.' My mother retorted, 'Fine, I'll play the perfect mother if you play the perfect daughter. Everyday, after coming from school, you must oil your hair and touch my feet.' I yelled back, 'That's disgusting.' So, she said, 'What you're telling me to do is equally disgusting.' Pooja reminiscences that her mother was the most fun loving person in the world. She remembers that her mother used to take them out for picnics and trekking and also her mother used to bring suitcases filled with gifts and books whenever she used return from her dance trips from abroad. According to Pooja her mother led a bohemian life and she herself is being called a hippie quite often.
A major turning point in Protima’s life came when her son, Siddharth Bedi, committed suicide 1998. He was suffering from schizophrenia. She retired from public life and mostly spent her time in the Himalayas. In the same year on 18th August 1998 she decided to go on the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage where she died due to the Malpa landslide. Her belongings were recovered later in Malpa village. Pooja Bedi in the year 2000, collated and published an autobiography named “Timepass” dedicated to her mother Protima Bedi. The book is based on her journals and letters.
Husband: Kabir Bedi
Daughter: Pooja Bedi
(FAN OF Mrs. PROTIMA BEDI)
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