Veteran actor Praveen Kumar Sobti, who is well known for his role as Bheem in BR Chopra’s Mahabharat, passed away on February 7, at his Delhi residence. His co-star Puneet Issar now recalls how the late actor was Praveen paaji for him and shared some interesting anecdotes.
Late actor Sobti was not just an actor he was also an athlete. He had represented the country internationally in hammer and discus throw. He even won four medals at the Asian Games, including two gold medals, a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games, and competed twice at the Olympics.
Veteran actor Puneet Issar, who played the role of Duryodhan, in Mahabharat, revealed how Praveen Kumar Sobti was cast as Bheem on the show. During a conversation with ETimes, he said, “BR Chopra, the producer of Mahabharat, wanted me to play the role of Bheem. But, I had made up my mind that I would play Duryodhan. My physique and wrestler body suited the role of Bheem, so Chopra sir felt that I should be Bheem. But, I was adamant to play Duryodhan and then it became a task to find someone even stronger than Duryodhan to be cast in the show. Then I suggested Praveen Kumar’s name because he was an international athlete, 6 feet 8 inches tall, much taller than me. Praveenji agreed and the rest is history.”
Puneet Issar also spoke about the rapport they shared off-screen. “I always called or met him when I visited Delhi. He had a great sense of humour. He and I had fight scenes in Mahabharat and looking at the promos, I remember how my daughter had got terrified of Praveenji bashing me up. He then came home and spoke to my daughter and made her feel comfortable. He was constantly cracking jokes and though we were enemies in reel life, we were like brothers in real life. In the past few years, he stayed at home and enjoyed his life peacefully.” Puneet Issar said.
Puneet Issar went to share how the last scene, which was a fight sequence, in Mahabharat was shot. He said that he had constantly reminded himself that his body is now even stronger Bheem. He called the fight scene one of the most challenging scenes that they had to perform on screen.