Remembering Rajinder Singh Bedi famous Urdu writer of the progressive writers’ movement and a playwright, who later became a Hindi film director, screenwriter and dialogue writer on his 102nd birth anniversary.
As a screenwriter and dialogue writer, he is best known for Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films Abhimaan, Anupama and Satyakam; and Bimal Roy’s Madhumati. As a director he is known for Dastak (1970), starring Sanjeev Kumar and Rehana Sultan and Phagun (1973), starring Dharmendra, Waheeda Rehman, Jaya Bhaduri and Vijay Arora.
Bedi is considered one of the leading 20th century progressive writers of Urdu fiction, and one of the most prominent Urdu fiction writers. He is most known for “disturbing” Partition of India tales.
After the partition of India in 1947, he moved to Bombay, and started working with D. D. Kashyap and got his first screen credit for dialogue, in the 1949 film Badi Bahen, although he received greater recognition for his second film Daag, a 1952 film.
In 1954, he joined with Amar Kumar, Balraj Sahni, Geeta Bali and others to create a new company called Cine Cooperative. In 1955, it produced its first film, Garam Coat. Based on Bedi’s short story Garam Coat, starring Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy, and directed by Aman Kumar, the film gave Bedi the chance to write an entire screenplay.
Their second film, Rangoli (1962), starring Kishore Kumar, Vyjayantimala, and Durga Khote, was also directed by Amar Kumar.
He continued to display his range in dialogue writing styles in many classic Hindi films, starting with Sohrab Modi’s Mirza Ghalib (1954), Bimal Roy’s Devdas (1955), and Madhumati (1958); Amar Kumar and Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films, Anuradha (1960), Anupama (1966), Satyakam (1969) and Abhimaan (1973).
He made his directorial debut with Hindi classic Dastak (1970), starring Sanjeev Kumar and Rehana Sultan, with music by Madan Mohan, and in the following decade he directed three more films: Phagun (1973), Nawab Sahib (1978) and Aankhin Dekhi (1978).
His novella Ek Chadar Maili Si was made into a film in Pakistan, Mutthi Bhar Chawal (1978) and later in India, as Ek Chadar Maili Si (1986).
His son Narender Bedi was also a film director and the maker of films including Jawani Diwani (1972), Benaam (1974), Rafoo Chakkar (1975), and Sanam Teri Kasam (1982). He died in 1982, a few years after Bedi’s wife. Thereafter, Bedi’s health consistently deteriorated. He suffered paralysis in 1982 and died in Bombay two years later.
His short story ‘Lajwanti’ was made into a telefilm, by Neena Gupta in 2006.