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Om Prakash

Om Prakash
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About Om Prakash

Om Prakash Chibber was born in Jammu on 19 December 1910. He was fascinated by theatre, music and films. He started taking lessons in classical music when he was just twelve and was recognised as a master in no time.

He joined All India Radio in 1937 on a 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 was regaling people at a wedding one day when the well-known film-maker Dalsukh Pancholi spotted him and asked to see him in his Lahore office. Pancholi gave Prakash his first break as an actor in a film called Daasi. He was paid only Rs 80 but the film earned him the kind of recognition that would give him a means of livelihood for a lifetime. It was his first major role; he had played a bit role in Sharif Badmash, a silent film. He followed his good work in Daasi with Pancholi’s Dhamki and Aayee Bahar and became a force to reckon with.

Soon after the Partition he came to Delhi and then to Bombay (now Mumbai). Baldev Raj Chopra noticed his talent when he was a film journalist and critic; he urged Prakash to carry on with his acting career. He was sure Om Prakash had the talent to prove himself as a versatile actor. The actor had to face some struggle initially. He got his first big break in Bombay as a villain in a film called Lakhpati. It won him acclaim and got him more “meaty” roles in films like Lahore, Char Din and Raat Ki Rani. It was during this phase in his career that he did Azaad with Dilip Kumar, Sargam with Raj Kapoor and Miss Mary, Bahar, Pehli Jhalak, Asha and Manmauji with Kishore Kumar followed by Howrah Bridge with Ashok Kumar and then Tere Ghar Ke Samne with Dev Anand. He was marked out for his performance in both films in spite of the presence of powerful star personas like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Dev Anand. He had developed a style of his own, a style which was going to take him places, make him a big name in the world of film entertainment for the next forty years.

Om Prakash soon became a household name. He was good in almost every character he played. He was the comedian, the family man burdened with problems, the munshi, the alcoholic fallen on bad days because of the evil designs of the villain, the nagged husband, the old man in love, the wily politician and the big brother with a heart of gold. He played an assortment of characters with the same ease and had some of the best directors opting for him every time they had a role which they felt only he could play.

Om Prakash was versatile actor with 307 films to his credit. One can never forget his comic performances in Howrah Bridge, Dus Lakh (he won his first major award for this performance), Pyar Kiye Jaa, Padosan, Sadhu Aur Shaitaan, Dil Daulat Duniya, Chupke Chupke, Namak Halaal, Gol Maal and Chameli Ki Shaadi. His performance as Dilip Kumar’s elder brother in Gopi gave his career a new impetus. He proved that he could play mature roles with the same ease, the same depth: Films like Chacha Zindabad, Khandan, Haryali Aur Raasta, Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraayi, Pati Patni, Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare, Mere Hamdam Mere Dost, Annadata, Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati, Doli, Chirag, Amar Prem, Aankh Micholi, Ek Hasina Do Diwane, Anuraag, Zanjeer, Sagina, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Loafer, Roti, Julie, Khushboo, Laawaris, Bandish, Sharaabi and Chameli Ki Shaadi.

Om Prakash was one of the most loved and respected father figures in the industry. His ready wit, his earthy humour, his lack of airs, his disdain for hypocrites and hypocrisy, his benevolent nature in helping others to make the best of life and his eternal optimism and romantic nature made him a man in a class by himself, a cut above the rest.

His wife Prabha predeceased him. He had no biological children. He lived with his younger brother Bakshi Ram Prakash Chibber who had five children, and he treated them as his children.
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