Famous for his character "Sharaabi" the sweet little old man, Om Prakash, with unique dialogue delivery in real life was quite reserved and seldom socialised. He was an iconic figure of Bollywood. He lit up the audience with his natural presence and comedic angle. He acted with all famous actors of the day including both Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. He died on 21 February, 1998, aged 79.
Om Prakash though a character actor he had his own unique style which was instrumental in making him popular amongst audiences. Starting his career in 1942, he acted in films like Annadata, Chupke Chupke, Charandas and Sadhu aur Shaitan. He is most remembered for his roles like Daddu in Namak Halaal and Munsiji in Sharabi. In his lifetime he acted in almost 307 movies.
Born as Om Prakash Bakshi in Lahore on December 19, 1919 he was always fascinated by theatre, music and films. He took lessons at the age of 12 in classical music and attained command over the same in relatively less time. He also worked with All India Radio on a at the monthly salary of Rs 25. He was known as “Fateh Din”, a radio personality and his programmes made him popular all over Lahore and Punjab. He with his wife Prabha had no biological children. He settled in Union Park, Chembur and had an office at the Roop Tara Studios which was only used for “rummy” and “chat" sessions. After sometime he shifted his office to the suburbs to make it more convenient for his friends. He lived with his younger brother Bakshi Ram Prakash Chibber (Pachhi) who had five children and treated them as his own.
Professional Acting Career
Om Prakash got his first break in Daasi for which he was paid Rs 80. He got reorganisation that helped him in further cementing his foot in Bollywood. Since then, he has acted in many movies. He also acted in Pancholi’s Dhamki and Aayee Bahar. After partition he came and settled in Bombay (now Mumbai). Though he acted in three silent movie yet had to face struggle during his initial days. After his stint in films like Bombay, Lahore, Char Din and Raat Ki Rani he was successful in getting roles with iconic actors like like Dilip Kumar in Azaad, Raj Kapoor in Sargam and Dev Anand in Tere Ghar Ke Samne. He entertained audiences with hilarious face expressions and one liners. He had his own style that ensured his success and popularity in film industry for next forty years.
Though a character actor he could suit in almost any role offered either that of a common man, the wily politician, family man or an alcoholic fallen on bad days. During his long career he acted with all famous directors and actors of his time including both Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. His role in Gopi is still remembered, some analysts think he has overshadowed Dilip Saab. He acted in almost 307 films including Howrah Bridge, Padosan, Sadhu Aur Shaitaan, Chupke Chupke, Namak Halaal, Gol Maal and Chameli Ki Shaadi. Om Prakash shared great rapport with Amitabh Bachchan and worked with him in many films from Zanjeer to Sharaabi. He also tried in the field of production and produced many films like Gate way of India (1958), Sanjog(1961).
Illness and Death
Suffering from old age complications he was rushed to the Lilavati Hospital where he suffered a second heart attack and went into a coma from which he never came out. His death came as a big shock for Bollywood and his fans who all gathered to pay their tribute at his residence.
Om Prakash was known for his wit, earthy humour and benevolent nature. After the death of his wife he quit acting and spend his last days reading good books and enjoying time with his family and friends.
Entire Film Industry
(FAN OF Mr. OM PRAKASH)
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