Early Life of Protima Bedi
She was born on October 12, 1948 in Delhi to Laxmichand Gupta and Reba. Her father was a trader belonging to a Bania family from Karnal district, Haryana and her mother was a Bengali. She was the second of the four siblings, three daughters and a son.
Her family moved to Goa in 1953 and to Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1957. She received her school education firstly from a local school of Karnal district. Then she studied in Kimmins High School, Panchgani. She received her graduation degree from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai (1965-67).
Career of Protima Bedi
Bedi kick started her career as a model. She was a well-known model by the late 1960s. She came into limelight in 1974 during the daytime for the launch of the Bollywood magazine, Cineblitz.
Her life took a turn at the age of 26 in August 1975 when she witnessed an Odissi dance recital. Highly impressed by the dance performance, she decided to take dance seriously and became a student of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Despite facing a lot of hardship as a beginner, she worked hard to hone her skills in dancing. She devoted 12 to 14 hours a day to practice. Her dedication to dance brought a remarkable change to her personality. She transformed herself from being the off-shoulder girl with gold streaked hair to Protima Gauri, later as Gauri Amma or Gauri Maa.
She studied abhinaya from Guru Kalanidhi Narayan of Chennai. From then on, she started giving performances in various parts of the country. During that time, she established her own dance school at Prithvi Theatre in Juhu, Mumbai. It later became the Odissi Dance Centre.
Nrityagram by Protima Bedi
With the aim of reviving the guru-shishya parampara in the right kind of environment, Bedi founded a model dance village called ‘Nrityagram’. It was inaugurated on 11 May 1990, by the then Prime Minister, V.P. Singh. Nrityagram was constructed by master architect, Gerard da Cunha which won the Best Rural Architecture' award in 1991. It became India's first free dance gurukul consisting of seven gurukuls for the seven classical dance styles and two martial arts forms, Chhau and Kalaripayattu. Nrityagram is situated on the outskirts of Bangalore.
Personal life of Protima Bedi
She tied the knot with Kabir Bedi in 1969. The couple is blessed with two children namely Pooja Bedi and Siddharth Bedi. She breathed her last on August 18, 1998.