Actor Praveen Kumar Sobti, known as Mahabharat's Bheem, dies of heart attack
- Athlete-turned-actor Praveen Kumar Sobti, who won medals for India as an athlete before finding fame playing Bheem in BR Chopra's Mahabharat, died on Monday.
Athlete-turned actor Praveen Kumar Sobti, who found fame as Bheem in BR Chopra's iconic TV series Mahabharat, died on Monday night at his Delhi residence.
The actor died after suffering a heart attack. "He had a chronic chest infection problem. At night, when he started feeling uneasy, we called the doctor at home. He passed away between 10 and 10.30 pm following a cardiac arrest," a relative of Praveen told PTI. He is survived by wife, daughter, two younger brothers and a sister. According to an ANI report, he will be cremated at the crematorium ground in Punjabi Bagh today.
Having started as a discus thrower and hammer thrower, Praveen represented India internationally at platforms such as the Olympics, Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. He won gold medals in discus throw at the 1966 and 1970 Asian Games, as well as a silver medal at the 1966 Commonwealth Games. For his achievements in sports, he won the Arjuna Award. He worked as the Deputy Commandant in the Border Security Force (BSF) as well.
After retiring from active sports in his 30s, he turned to acting with a negative role in the Jeetendra-starrer Raksha (1982). Over the next decade, he acted in a number of films, most notably Loha, Ajooba and Shahenshah. His 6-foot-8-inch height and broad frame meant he was almost always playing the towering henchman of the villain. But it was in TV that he found fame. In 1988, he was cast as Bheem in BR Chopra's mythological drama Mahabharat due to his height and physique. The role made him a household name across the country.
Praveen continued to act in films and TV shows through the 90s and among other roles, played Sabu in the 2002 TV series Chacha Chaudhary, which starred Raghubir Yadav in the title role. He reprised his role as Bheem in the 2013 film Mahabharat Aur Barbareek. It was his final acting role.
Praveen also dabbled in politics, joining the Aam Aadmi Party in 2013. He contested the Delhi Legislative Assembly elections that year from the Wazirpur constituency but lost. He later joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.