Protima Bedi

Protima Bedi

name = Protima Gauri Bedi

image_size= 200px
caption = (1948-1998)
birth_date = birth date |1948|2|12
birth_place = Delhi, India flagicon|India
birth_name= Protima Gupta [ This Above All - She had a lust for life] The Tribune, February 5, 2000.]
death_date = death date and age|1998|8|18|1948|2|12|mf=y
death_place = Malpa, Pithoragarh IND
occupation = Classical Indian dancer, Model
salary =
networth =
imdb_id = 0066071
website =

Protima Gauri Bedi [ [ Obituary] India Today, September 7,1998.] [ [ Protima Gauri Bedi]] (October 12, 1948 – August 18, 1998) [ [ Dream] Nrityagram.] was an Indian model turned exponent of Classical Indian dance, Odissi, who in 1990 established 'Nrityagram', a dance village near Bangalore.


Early life

Protima Bedi was born in Delhi Time Pass : The Memoirs of Protima Bedi, Introduction, pp.1-2. Biographical info: ‘Early Years’. ] , the second daughter in a family of four, which included three daughters and a son. Her father, "Laxmichand Gupta" was a trader who belonged to a "bania" family from Karnal district, Haryana, and her mother Reba, was a Bengali. Protima's father had to leave home, because of opposition to his marriage , thereafter he started working in Delhi, where Protima was born, after Monika, their first daughter, Protima's birth was followed by her younger siblings, Bipin and Ashita.

In 1953, her family moved to Goa, and later to Bombay in 1957. At age nine, she was sent to stay at her father’s sister, in a village in Karnal district for a while, where she studied in a local school. On her return, she was sent to Kimmins High School, a girls boarding school at Panchgani, where she received her early education, later she did her graduation from St. Xavier's College, Bombay (1965-67) .

By late 1960s, she had become a prominent model. In 1974, she came into news for streaking during the daytime for the launch of the bollywood magazine, Cineblitz at Juhu Beach in Bombay [ [ Protima's interview on naked run] Hindustan Times.] .


In August 1975, at the age of 26, an Odissi dance recital [ [ Protima Guari Interview], August 22, 1998.] completely changed her life when she ran into the Bhulabhai Memorial Institute by chance, and saw two young dancers giving an Odissi performance. It filled her with a kind of passion she'd never known before, in spite of its extremely complex rhythms, patterns and sophisticated hand-and-eye gestures. She became a student of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra from whom she learnt the art of dancing for 12 to 14 hours a day and faced a lot of hardship as a beginner. She transformed herself from being the tight trouser, halter neck, off-shoulder girl with gold streaked hair to Protima Gauri, later as Gauri Amma or Gauri Maa, as she was affectionately known amongst her students [ [ Bina Ramani Mourns...] Indian Express, September 22, 1998.] .

To her dance was a way of life, she proved to be an excellent learner and later she set up Nrityagram, a dance village, on the outskirts of Bangalore. To perfect her dance, she started studying abhinaya from Guru Kalanidhi Narayan of Madras. From then on, she started giving performances all over the country. Around the same time, Protima started her own dance school at Prithvi theatre in Juhu, Mumbai. It later became the Odissi Dance Centre. After her separation from Kabir Bedi in 1978, she was looking for an anchor and she found it in her dance.


Nrityagram, situated on the outskirts of Bangalore, became India's first free dance gurukul [ [ Nityagram profile]] , village for various Indian classical dances, consisting of seven gurukuls for the seven classical dance styles and two martial arts forms, Chhau and Kalaripayattu [ [ Odissi Kala Kendra] Contemporaries in Odissi.] . She wanted to revive the guru-shishya parampara in the right kind of environment. Nrityagram was inaugurated on May 11, 1990, by the then Prime Minister, V.P. Singh. The dance school has a small community of students from all parts of India, but with a common aim - dance. The Nrityagram ensemble was soon performing all over the world [ [ Dance in Review] New York Times, June 22, 1996.] .

Nrityagram, created as a model dance village, was constructed by master architect, Gerard da Cunha. It had even won the 'best rural architecture' award in 1991. To raise funds to run Nrityagram, a tourist resort Kuteeram was built in 1992. Nrityagram is also the venue of the annual dance festival Vasanta Habba, which was first started in 1994. Vasanta Habba has not been held from 2005–2007, due to the advent of the tsunami and a shortage of funds.

Final years

Protima's son Siddarth who was suffering from Schizophrenia, committed suicide in July 1997, while he was studying in North Carolina [ [ Interview Kabir Bedi] Filmfare October, 2001.] , this changed the course of his life irrevocably, as in early 1998, she announced her retirement and changed her name to Protima Gauri, soon she started travelling in the Himalayan region, starting with Leh [ [ Bowing Out] India Today, April 27, 1998.] . Subsequently, in August, Protima Gauri set of to her pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar and it there that she disappeared after the Malpa landslide, near Pithoragarh [ [ Obituary] New York Times, August 30, 1998.] , in the Himalayas, leaving behind her most lasting achievement — a flourishing dance village, Nrityagram, where students continue to learn the classical dance styles of India. Her remains and belongings were never found.

In her autobiography, "Timepass", published by her daughter, Pooja Bedi in 2000, she gives a candid account of all her relationships, her rebellious lifestyle, her family life, the birth of her dream project, Nrityagram, and her eventual transition into a sanyasin, towards the end of her life, when she retired from public life and wanted to explore the Himalayas [ [ To Family and friends] Hindustan Times.] .

Personal life

Protima Bedi during her wild modeling days that she met Kabir Bedi. Within a few months of their meeting, she walked out of her parents' house to live with him. They got married in 1969 and had two children - Pooja Bedi, who took acting for a brief while, before becoming a television presenter and a son, Siddharth.

She also dated Pandit Jasraj, Vasant Sathe, Mario Kropf, Jacques Lebel and Rajni Patel during her life. []

Further reading

* "Time Pass: The Memoirs of Protima Bedi", with Pooja Bedi Ebrahim. New Delhi, Penguin, 2000. ISBN 0-14-028880-5.


ee also

*Indian women in dance

External links

* [ Official website of Nrityagram]
* [ An Interview with Protima Gauri]
* [ Special feature on Protima Bedi]

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