He’s just returned from a 40-day schedule of Teen Thay Bhai and Om Puri insists, "Kashmir is safe." The only complaint was the weather. It was so cold that the diesel in the generators froze and vehicles couldn’t plough through the snow so, workers had to walk to locations lugging heavy loads. "But we actors are a pampered class and our spirits were high, thanks to Old Monk," he chuckles.
He insists there were no security issues. "Before I went, I was apprehensive after reading about everyday blasts in the newspapers. But we didn’t even see a cop with a stick," he says. "The locals resent such media reports. Even the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, has said that only certain pockets are problematic. Gulmarg and Pahalgam are looking for business."
Om recalls going to Kashmir for Pukar (2000) when Kashmir was a peaceful Eden. "I was going there after two decades, expecting people to be angry and bitter. But they were cordial and cooperative," he says.
On the sets the bonding was great with Shreyas Talpade and Deepak Dobriyal, who play his brothers in this comic caper. "One brother is a businessman, another a doctor and the third an actor. All three are failures but haven’t lost hope of making it big," adds Om. "Being the eldest, I was a bit of a bully even off the sets but it was affectionate and so was not resented."
Teen Thay Bhai, directed by debutant Mrigdeep Singh Lamba, is the first home production of Rakyesh Om Prakash Mehra, who was in Kashmir too. Om insists he was there only for moral support: “He occasionally offered advice but never interfered. He was usually out skiing.”