Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Salt & pepper
Eye Colour: Dark brown
Parents & Siblings
His father, Balraj Sahni (born Yudhishthir Sahni), was an Indian film and stage actor. His father died on 13 April 1973 at the age of 59. Before India’s independence in 1947, Balraj Sahni lived with his family in Rawalpindi (Pakistan). In 1936, he got married to Damayanti Sahni, who was also an actor. Reportedly, when Parikshit was born, his parents were working as teachers at Tagore’s Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan, Bengal. Balraj Sahni bought a Gurmukhi typewriter and learnt Gurumukhi script writing. With Mahatma Gandhi’s blessings, Parikshit’s parents went to London, where his father joined the BBC-London’s Hindi service as a radio announcer and returned to India in 1943.
When they came to India from London, Balraj Sahni and Damayanti Sahni became associated with the Communist Party of India. Damayanti worked in a slum and even shared meals with the slum dwellers due to which she got diagnosed with Amoebic dysentery, a parasitic infection spread in the body due to the consumption of contaminated water. In 1947, the disease resulted in a massive cardiac arrest, and she passed away at the age of 26.
Being devasted by his wife’s death, Balraj Sahni (Parikshit’s father) used to bang his head on the wall and cried,
“Dammo nahi rahee, Dammo chali gayee.”
In 1951, he got married to his first cousin, Santosh Chandhok, an author and television writer.
Balraj Sahni was part of a procession led by the Communist Party. After the mob got out of control, the police resorted to a lathi charge during which Balraj Sahni was arrested and sent to jail. Balraj wrote his autobiography ‘Meri Filmi Aatmakatha,’ which was released in 1974. The last film that Balraj acted in was ‘Garam Hawa’ (1974). He died on the same day he finished the dubbing work for the film, and the last line he recorded for the film was “Insaan Kab Tak Akela Jee Sakta Hai?”
In 1947, Damayanti Sahni gave birth to their daughter, Shabnam Sahni. Shabnam was married to a man in Kolkata. Her mother-in-law started taunting her about her connection to a Muslim boy, which Shabnam didn’t like.” Her marriage wasn’t on good terms so she left her in-laws and came back home. She worked as a teacher at Sadhana School in Mumbai. In 1972, around the age of 26-27, she suffered a Brain Haemorrhage and died.
Sanober Sahni is Parikshit’s half-sister from the second marriage of his father to Santosh Chandhok.
Wife & Children
Parikshit Sahni is the widower of Aruna Sahni. They have two daughters, Aditi Sahni and Tania Sahni. Later, he got married to Nandini Sahni. They have one son named Varn Sahni. Parikshit has a granddaughter, Niharika Sahni, who is a film director.
Parikshit’s paternal uncle Bhisham Sahni was a distinguished Hindi fiction writer who was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1998. Parikshit’s wife, Aruna Sahni, is the niece of late Bollywood actor Dev Anand and cousin of Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.
Parikshit Sahni’s father was an atheist. Parikshit grew up in an environment that also made him an atheist; however, when he read the holy scriptures of various religions such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Quran, and the Bible, he became a spiritual person.
Sahni began his career as a child artist. After Parikshit returned from Moscow in 1966, at the age of 26, he started his film career in India.
Parikshit assisted Raj Kapoor in the Hindi film Mera Naam Joker, but Parikshit left it when he was offered a role in the film ‘Anokhi Raat’ in 1968. Parikshit did an apprenticeship in the Russian film ‘War and Peace.’ He was an assistant and even did work like sweeping and cleaning.
In 1951, when Parikshit was around 10 years old, he made his acting debut as a child artist with the film ‘Hulchul.’
In 1951, he played the role of Shyamu in the film ‘Deedar.’
He played the role of Kedarnath in the Hindi film Pavitra Paapi (1970), which was based on a Punjabi novel by Nanak Singh. Parikshit’s father, Balraj Sahni, also acted in this film.
In the 2009 Bollywood film ‘3 Idiots,’ Parikshit Sahni played the role of Farhan Qureshi’s father, Salim Qureshi.
In 2014, Parikshit played the role of Jaggu’s father, Jayprakash Sahni, in the film ‘PK.’
Parikshit appeared in many Bollywood films including Preet Ki Dori (1971), Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973), Jallian Wala Bagh (1977), Insaaf Main Karoonga (1985), Waqt Ka Badshah (1992), Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011), and Housefull 4 (2019).
In 1989, Parikshit made his Punjabi debut with the film Marhi Da Diva. In 1978, he acted in the film ‘Udeekan.’
In 1987, he appeared in the TV show ‘Gul Gulshan Gulfam’ on DD National in which he played the role of an old man.
Later, he appeared in many TV shows including Mirza Ghalib (1988), The Great Maratha (1994), Heena (1998), and Saat Phere: Saloni Ka Safar (2007).
Balraj Sahni Productions
Parikshit started his own production company named Balraj Sahni Productions. He produced the TV serials Firangi, Khoj, Kalpana, and Lal Kothi Alvida on Doordarshan. He produced and wrote the script for the 2008 TV program ‘London Ki Ek Raat,’ which also aired on Doordarshan. He directed the film ‘Pakda Gaya Par Kaun,’ a film for children, which was produced under his own production banner.
In 2019, Parikshit penned a biography on his father titled ‘The Non-Conformist: Memories of My Father Balraj Sahni.’
Parikshit’s second book titled Strange Encounters was released on 28 August 2022.
- Doordarshan fans still remember him for his performance in the DD show ‘Gul Gulshan Gulfam.’
- Parikshit is fond of reading and writing. In an interview, he said that he never wanted to be an actor. Further, he added,
I am not as serious as an actor as my father was. My main love has been writing and direction. I am not very keen (about acting). I am acting only because of him. People cast me because I’m Balraj Sahni’s son, thinking I might know something really good about acting.”
- During the shooting of the film ‘Veer Shivaji,’ Parikshit injured his backbone. It took him a year to recover from the accident.
- Parikshit Sahni changed his screen name to Ajay Sahni at the suggestion of his friend Sanjeev Kumar during the shooting of their 1968 film ‘Anokhi Raat,’ but he switched to his previous name a few years later.
- He was very interested in painting during his school days and has a studio in Lokhandwala.
- During an interview, Parikshit shared that after his father and sister’s demise, he became an alcoholic and started substance abuse; however, he quit within a year.
- When Parikshit was young, he used to accompany his father on his shoots. Many times, in the absence of actors, Parikshit’s father would suggest Parikshit put on fake moustaches and play their roles.
- The 1977 Bollywood film ‘Jallian Wala Bagh’ had a scene where Parikshit’s character, Uddham Singh, was required to spit on Mahatma Gandhi, portrayed by Parikshit’s father Balraj Sahni. It was a difficult scene for Parikshit as he didn’t want to spit on his father; however, Balraj told Parikshit that he was not his father but a character in the script following which Parikshit performed the scene.