Rajinder Singh Bedi

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Rajinder Singh Bedi
Rajinder Singh Bedi (1915-1984).jpg
Born Rajinder Singh Bedi
Sialkot, Punjab, British India
Died 1984
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Occupation Novelist, Playwright, Film director, Screenwriter,
Years active 1933-1984
Awards 1959 Filmfare Best Dialogue Award:Madhumati (1958)
1971 Filmfare Best Dialogue Award:Satyakam (1969)
1965 Sahitya Akademi Award
Padma Shri - 1972

Rajinder Singh Bedi (Punjabi: ਰਾਜਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਬੇਦੀ, Urdu: راجندر سنگھ بیدی‎, Hindi: राजिंदर सिंह बेदी ; 1915–1984) was a progressive Urdu writer, playwright and a Hindi film director, screenwriter and dialogue writer.

Some of his best work as a dialogue writer can be seen in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's films Abhimaan, Anupama and Satyakam; and Bimal Roy's Madhumati. As a director he is most known for his films Dastak (1970), starring Sanjeev Kumar and Rehana Sultan and Phagun (1973), starring Dharmendra, Waheda Rehman, Jaya Bhaduri and Vijay Arora.

Rajinder Singh Bedi is considered one of the greatest 20th century progressive writers of Urdu fiction, and second most prominent Urdu fiction writer, after Saadat Hasan Manto,[1][2] and like Manto he is most known for his "disturbing" Partition of India tales.[3]


Early life[edit]

Rajinder Singh Bedi was born near Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan. He spent his early years in Lahore, Pakistan, where he received his education in Urdu, as it was common to most Punjabi families, though he never graduated from a college.[4] After Partition his other family members settled in Fazilka, on the Indian side of Punjab.


His first short story "Maharani ka Tohfa" won the best Short Story of the Year, given by Adabi Dunya, a prominent Urdu monthly magazine, published from Lahore.[citation needed]

He started his career working as a clerk at Lahore Post Office in 1933. In 1941 he joined the Urdu section of All India Radio, Lahore. While working at All India Radio he wrote many plays, including his famous drama Khawaja Sara and Nakl-i-Makaani, which he later adapted into his film Dastak in 1970.[citation needed]

His first collection of short stories, Daan-O-Daam (The Catch), featuring his prominent story "Garam Coat" (Warm Coat) was published in 1940.[5] In 1942, he published his second collection of short stories, Grehan (The Eclipse).

In 1943, he joined Maheshwari Films, a small Lahore film studio, although after one and half years he returned to All India Radio and was posted to Jammu, where he worked until 1947.

By the time of Partition Rajinder Singh Bedi had published numerous more short stories, and had made a name for himself as a prolific writer.[6]

His Urdu novel, Ek Chadar Maili Si, translated into English as "I Take This Woman", received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1965.[7] The book was later translated into Hindi, Kashmiri and Bengali.

Spanning fifty years and 72 short stories, his literary career was marked with versatility and represented the finest creative writing in Urdu literature.[citation needed] His stories "Garm Kot" and "Lajvanti" are considered among the masterpieces of Urdu short story.[citation needed] His later collections of short stories were "Kokh Jali" and "Apne Dukh Mujhe Dedo" and a collection of plays "Saat Khel".[8]


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.[9]

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.[10]

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)[11] and later in India, as Ek Chadar Maili Si (1986).[12]

His son Narender Bedi was also a Film director and the maker of films like Jawani Diwani (1972), Benaam (1974), Rafoo Chakkar (1975), Sanam Teri Kasam, he died in the 1982. Two years later in 1984, Rajinder Singh Bedi also died, in Bombay.

His short story Lajwanti was made into a telefilm, by Neena Gupta in 2006.[13]

In his memory, the Government of Punjab has started a "Rajinder Singh Bedi Award" in the field of Urdu Literature.[14]


  • I Take This Woman. Penguin India. ISBN 0-14-024048-9.
  • Rajinder Singh Bedi: Selected Short Stories (In English). New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1989.
  • ive Me Your Sorrows trans. Leonard, Karen, Indian Literature, Delhi, 1968.
  • Grahan (Urdu). Maktaba Jamia, 1992.
  • Garam Kot (Urdu). Sang-e-Meel Publications.
  • Majmua Rajindar Singh Bedi. Sang-e-Meel Publications.
  • Sat Khel. Maktaba Jamia, 1982.
  • Dastak. Hind Pocket Book, 1971.
  • The Penguin Book of Classic Urdu Stories. Penguin, 2006.ISBN 0-670-99936-9.
  • Lajwanti, Land of five rivers. Orient Paperbacks Delhi.




Literary awards[edit]

Books on Rajinder Singh Bedi[edit]

  • Rajinder Singh Bedi: A Study, by Varis Hussain Alvi. 2006.[17]
  • Rajinder Singh Bedi Sounds and Whispers: Reflections on the Literary Scene, 1984-86, by Abulkhair Kashfi, Syed Abu Ahmad Akif. Asasa Books, 1991. Chapter 25 - "Rajinder Singh Bedi:The Last Pillar Of Modem Urdu Short Story", page 111.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]