When Bollywood superstar Salman Khan came to Patiala in July 2011 to shoot for his film Bodyguard, he hadn’t known the visit would take him back to school – at least in his thoughts. In reality, he ended up meeting Manjitinder Singh Bedi, his schoolteacher of more than 31 years back.
Currently running his own school in Nabha, near Patiala, Bedi fondly remembers meeting his very ‘shy’ and ‘well-behaved student’, whom he had taught history at The Scindia School, Gwalior from 1977-79. It all started from a phone call from the famous actor at midnight to invite Bedi and his family to Salman’s film’s set. Incidentally, it was Salman’s phone call to a former classmate at The Scindia School, Pawan Gupta, that led to him being informed of Bedi’s proximity. Soo, Pawan gave Salman Bedi’s phone number and the two got talking after three decades.
Bedi recalls being amazed at finding Salman standing in front of him like a schoolboy, his eyes watery with emotion. After being introduced to his co-stars – actors Kareena Kapoor, Raj Babbar and Aditya Pancholi and his bodyguard Shera, who all laughed how ‘desperate’ Salman was to meet his teacher and how he had little interest in the
shoot ever since he learnt he would meet his teacher that day – Bedi and Salman launched into detailed conversation.
The proud teacher shares an SMS that Salman sent him soon after they met. “It was so nice meeting you and your family after many years. I enjoyed every moment and it took me so many years back to school, back straight to school which were the best learning years of my life and whatever I am today is all because of teachers like you. You are the
nicest and most charming and handsome teacher of mine. Your student forever, Salman [sic].”
Recalls Bedi about his former student, whom he taught from Classes 7 to 9. “Salman was very shy and simple in school. He didn’t participate in any extra-curricular activities such as debates or dramatics, but was a great swimmer and a star diver. In class, he used to be quiet and was never mischievous. Overall, a well-behaved child.”
Bedi taught at The Scindia School for 18 years, after which he was offered the post of a headmaster at Punjab Public School, Nabha, where he served for five years before setting up his own school – The Indo British School – in the same town. During his stint at Gwalior, the history teacher was also awarded with the Gwalior Garima Award in 1986
for his outstanding contribution to education.
Meeting his former teacher has certainly sealed Salman’s relationship with Punjab, especially after the actor promised to stay in touch with Bedi always. “The respect and regard that Salman gave me when I met him after 31 years cannot be expressed in simple words. In today’s time, very few students offer similar regard to their teacher like he did,” says an emotional Bedi.
On his part, Salman only expects blessings from his teacher. In a message to Bedi on Teacher’s Day, the actor wrote: “If only I could have your blessings for a lifetime, I would succeed the way I have