March 12, 2006
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Indian Hollywood actor Kabir Bedi has led a well-lived life.
Cinematic success in Hollywood and much-talked about affairs with a bevy of smart and beautiful women, Kabir Bedi has led a well-lived life.
A philanthropic tradition: Acting is not in my family at all, it just happened to me. I studied at St Stephen’s and had to work my way through. I first joined advertising and in five years I became the film chief at a big agency.
That’s where I learned the craft of film-making. I first wanted to be a director, not an actor. But then, I acted in Alyque Padamsee’s Tughlaq and the rest, as they say, is history.
International acclaim: Having an international career is very difficult indeed. In Hollywood, only one per cent of all the roles in TV and films go to Asian actors. They’re not writing roles for us and the business of casting becomes the business of typecasting.
One has to work on the accent, the look etc and neutralise them so that you’re not typecast. My biggest and earliest international break came with the European television series Sandokan and then, of course, I played Gobinda in the James Bond flick Octopussy with Roger Moore.
Tryst with Bollywood: I sometimes feel that Bollywood has not given me my due and hasn’t used much of my talent. I have not found roles that challenge me.
Yet, I’m grateful to Bollywood, as I was not completely immersed in it, I got the chance to explore the world and pursue an international career.
Man about town: I have always been tagged as a ladies’ man, and I don’t know how to deal with that. There have been a number of women in my life, but I’m not a womaniser. I have never looked at women as objects to bed.
I spent 14 years with Niki, seven years with Adam’s mother and six years with Protima, besides having a few other significant relationships.
Wild child: I had a relationship with Protima for six years, but it lasted a lifetime. We were children of the ’60s, the time of the Flower Power movement.
We were hell raisers of our time, a time of great social ferment and together we wanted to change the world. We experimented with all sorts of things and our living together was the subject of endless speculation.
Dealing with loss: The two biggest traumas of my life were the loss of Protima and my son Siddharth. One can never be prepared for the death of a son. It was too premature.
He was in his prime, a brilliant boy, when he was suddenly struck with schizophrenia and the pointlessness of his existence drove him to take his own life. My disbelief was followed by shock and grief, coupled with guilt that I could not help him.
Parveen and I: Parveen Babi came into my life after my relationship with Protima was over. She was not only beautiful, but also sharply brilliant.
When I moved to Europe, she followed me there, but when she realised that in Europe I was the bigger star, she got insecure and decided to return. Her problems had started manifesting even then.
The light of my life: My daughter Pooja is the sunshine of my life. I see so much of her mother in her. She’s full of vivacity, love of life and boundless energy. She has great social skills and is a very caring person and loving daughter. She makes me proud everyday.