Mumbai: Actor Om Prakash entertained the Hindi film industry with his performance all through. He used to play the role of Kamla in the stage play by the famous Dewan Mandir Natak Samaj Jammu. Born in Jammu December 19, 1919, Om Prakash started learning classical music at the age of 12.
Om Prakash was also interested in theatre and films besides music. Yudvveer Sethi, associated with Dewan Temple Stage, Jammu, hear stories of Om Prakash from old people even today. He was known as ‘Fateh Din’, a radio personality and his programmes made him popular all over Punjab.
On the occasion of Om Prakash’s birthday, let us tell you some unknown facts about him.
He was regaling people at a wedding one day when well-known filmmaker Dalsukh Pancholi spotted him and asked to see him in his Lahore office. Pancholi gave Prakash his first break as an actor in the film 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 the rest of his life. It was his first major role; he had played a role in Sharif Badmash, a silent film. He followed up with good work in Daasi and with Pancholi’s Dhamki and Aayee Bahar.
He has done more than 300 films in his career. He got his first break as a villain in a film Lakhpati. It won him acclaim and got him 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.
Om Prakash may not have had shortage of work, but there was a time when at the age of 14, he was ready to work for 30 rupees a month. Om Prakash’s love story was also very funny. Sharing an anecdote, he said, “I fell in love with a Sikh girl but the girl’s family members were against me because I was a Hindu. My mother also went to their house to talk, but family members of the girl did not pay heed. After which we decided to split.”
Om Prakash produced many films including Sanjog (1961), Jahan Ara (1964) and Gateway of India (1957). The actor suffered heart attack and was rushed to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai, where he went into a coma. He breathed his last February 21, 1998.