A lifetime achievement award was bestowed upon seasoned Indian actor Kabir Bedi in Venice. His body of work in Italy includes the all-time favourite television series Sandokan. In an effort by the Directorate General for Cinema and Audiovisual (DGCA) of the Italian Ministry of Culture, Bedi was given the Filming Italy Movie Lifetime Achievement Award at the Italian Pavilion working space, developed by Cinecittà (MiC). As reported by Variety, Tiziana Rocca, famed producer and actor, and Roberto Stabile, Cinecittà’s internationalisation advisor and head of the DGCA-MiC special projects division, presented the prestigious award to the Indian actor.
Over the past forty years, Kabir, who spent a significant amount of time working in Italy, has sought to improve ties between India and Italy. The actor said during his acceptance speech, “I have tried for many years to make people in Italy focus on India, and people in India focus on Italy.”
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“Since the time of Sandokan, I’ve done over six major series in Italy and not many people realize that really Bollywood and Hollywood are a far lesser part of my life than my career in Italy,” he added.
In addition, Kabir claimed that he started looking for work outside of India after realising that he couldn’t play the archetypal singing-dancing leading man of India, which he seldom ever did onscreen, in Bollywood. It was then that Italy welcomed him with open arms, the 76-year-old actor acknowledged. It started with Sandokan. The 1976 television series, which was based on novels by Emilio Salgari and starred the dashing pirate hero Sandokan who fought against the British colonisers, captured the attention of the Italian public and achieved a record audience share of 34%. There were a number of follow-up television shows and motion pictures featuring the character.
Kabir Bedi was one of the early Indian actors who went international in a big way and also did Hollywood projects like “The Bold and the Beautiful, Dynasty, Knight Rider, Thief of Baghdad and the James Bond film Octopussy. Kabir Bedi’s Bollywood hits include Kachhe Dhaage, Ishk Ishk Ishk, Nagin and Khoon Bhaari Maang. His daughter Pooja Bedi has also been an actress while his granddaughter Alaya has also just forayed into films.