UPDATED: April 8, 2021 16:52 IST
When talking about the most popular actors of the 70s and 80s, people will usually name Rajesh Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna and Jeetendra. Not many will talk about actor Kabir Bedi, who not only made a mark in the Hindi film industry but also in Hollywood, much before Priyanka Chopra and Aishwarya Rai did.
After completing almost 50 years in the film industry, Kabir Bedi has now penned his autobiography, Stories I Must Tell: The Emotional Life of an Actor, the cover of which was digitally launched by Salman Khan on April 7. The book chronicles the ups and downs Kabir went through in his film career and also talks about his tumultuous marriages. If there is one thing that Kabir Bedi is best known for (other than his good looks, of course) it is his continuous struggle to break away from stereotypes and create a niche for himself. From starring in a European television mini-series to making his way into a Bond film in the 80s, Kabir Bedi’s whole career could easily make for an interesting Bollywood film, with all the much-needed masala and action – just how we like it.
But most will remember Kabir Bedi as the gory villain from Khoon Bhari Maang, starring Rekha in the lead role, only. Trust us, his personal and professional life is not just limited to this one big commercial hit. Here’s everything that you need to know about Kabir Bedi – beyond Khoon Bhari Mang, that is. Before you head to a bookstore to grab a copy of his autobiography, read on. By the way, the book releases on April 19.
Kabir Bedi was born to Baba Pyare Lal Singh Bedi, a Punjabi Sikh author and philosopher, and Freda Bedi. Kabir started his career as a theatre artist and the actor soon got his first break in Bollywood with the film Hulchal, in 1971. The film also marked Zeenat Aman’s Bollywood debut.
His baritone and unconventional looks instantly made him a hot favourite amongst fans. In the following years, Kabir Bedi was seen in several films including Rakhi Aur Hathkadi, Sazaa, Kuchhe Dhaage, Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain, Nagin, Daku Aur Mahatma among others. He also starred with Roddy McDowell in Thief of Baghdad and Michael Caine in Ashanti.
Much, much before we were all obsessing over foreign sitcoms and television series like Friends and Game of Thrones, Kabir Bedi bagged a role in a European television mini-series Sandokan. It was a six-part television series directed by Sergio Sollima and based on novels written by Emilio Salgari. Kabir played the titular role. He also played the titular role in the Italian film The Black Pirate (Il Corsaro Nero).
Kabir Bedi has featured in other prime-time American shows like Dynasty, General Hospital, Knight Riders and On Wings of Eagles.
In 1983, Kabir Bedi was seen in the Bond film Octopussy, where he played the role of Gobinda, a pivotal character in the film. Now, being a part of a Bond film was a huge deal for an Indian actor at the time. This was a year before Amrish Puri did Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).
For over a year, Kabir Bedi was part of The Bold and the Beautiful, an American television soap opera – the second most-watched television show in the world.
Kabir Bedi has acted in over 65 Hindi movies. In 2005, he played the role of Emperor Shah Jahan in the film Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story, which won him appreciation from all corners.
On the personal front, Bedi has been married four times. The actor married Protima Bedi, an Indian model, in 1969. Siddharth Bedi and Pooja Bedi are Kabir’s children with his ex-wife Protima. He then married British fashion designer Susan Humphreys. His marriage with Susan too didn’t last for long. In the 1990s, Kabir Bedi married Nikki Bedi, who was a television and radio presenter. They got divorced in 2005. The actor is currently married to Parveen Dusanj. They got married in 2016. Did you know Kabir Bedi and Parveen Babi were in a relationship? Kabir was still married to Protima Bedi when he started seeing Parveen. In an earlier interview to an entertainment portal, Protima had said, “I’ve never held Parveen responsible for breaking up my marriage. It happened long before she entered the scene. We have stopped being a man and a woman. Sex had finished between Kabir and me. My body was not his.”
Bedi’s daughter Pooja Bedi married Farhan Ebrahim Furniturewala in 1994. She welcomed daughter Alaya Furniturewala in 1997and Omar Furniturewala in 2000. Pooja divorced Farhan in 2003. Kabir Bedi’s granddaughter Alaya F made her Bollywood debut in 2020 with Jawaani Jaaneman. The film also starred Saif Ali Khan and Tabu.