Praveen Kumar Sobti was an Indian actor, politician, and hammer and discus thrower. He is best known for playing the role of ‘Bheem’ in the Indian epic television series “Mahabharat” (1988). He died in February 2022 after he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Praveen Kumar was born on Saturday, 6 December 1947 (age 74 years; at the time of death) in Sarhali Kalan, Punjab. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius. He did his schooling at a government school in Sarhali Kalan. While in school, he started participating in inter-school games. When his sports teacher noticed his strength in sports, he started sending him in sports events at zonal and state level. He was so good at sports that his name appeared for Disc Throw in the 1966 Commonwealth Games.
Height (approx.): 6′ 6″
Hair Colour: Grey
Eye Colour: Brown
Family & Caste
Praveen Kumar Sobti belonged to a Hindu Family. He had 4 brothers and 1 sister. He was married at the time of his death. His son is an employee at India’s Jet Airways. His daughter, Nipunika Sobti, was once engaged to Akshay Kumar.
Praveen started his career as an Indian hammer and discus thrower in 1960s. Being tall, he dominated the game for several years. In 1966, he won a gold medal at the Asian Games. In the same year, he won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in Kingston. Kumar again bagged a gold medal in the 1970 Asian Games and a silver medal in the 1974 Asian Games in Tehran. He also holds a record of 56.76 metres in the Asian Games. He competed in the Summer Olympics twice, first in 1968 and then in 1972.
Film and Television Career
Praveen made his film debut in 1981 with the Bollywood film “Raksha” in which he played the role of ‘Gorilla’ (a large henchman, inspired by Jaws of The Spy Who Loved Me). He did a similar role in the film “Meri Awaz Suno.” In 1988, he earned immense popularity by playing the role of “Bhim” in B. R. Chopra’s popular TV series “Mahabharat.” Next, he played the role of ‘Saaboo’ in the TV series “Chacha Chaudhary.” Later, he appeared in many Hindi and regional films like “Lorie,” “Hum Hain Lajawab,” “Zabardast,” “Adhikar,” “Raat Ke Baad,” “Tera Karam Mera Dharam,” and “Aaj Ka Arjun.”
Kumar started his political career in 2013 by joining the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). In the same year, he contested the Delhi assembly elections from the Wazirpur constituency, but lost.
Subsequently, he left AAP and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014.
- Food: Mutton, Chicken, Fish Fry
On 7 February 2022, he died of cardiac arrest at his Ashok Vihar residence in New Delhi. Reportedly, the actor had a chronic chest infection problem.
- He loved watching movies and travelling.
- He followed a non-vegetarian diet.
- Praveen was a former Jawan enlisted under the Border Security Force. He bagged the position of the ‘Deputy Commandate’ in the BSF on the basis of his excellence in sports.
- Kumar is among the 12 soldiers of the BSF, who received the Arjuna Award from the Government of India.
- He was introduced to the BSF by Ashwani Kumar, India’s representative to the International Olympic Council in 1973.
- In 2009, during an interview with The Hindu, Praveen recalled his days as an athlete. While comparing it with the present scenario, he said,
I wanted my parents to be proud of my achievements and represented the country in hammer and discus throws in Asian Games and Olympics. I won the discus throw gold medal in the 1966 and 1970 Asian Games. I picked up a silver medal in the 1974 Asian Games at Teheran.”
He further added,
There was so much of bonhomie and no threat of terrorists. However, all that changed in the Munich Olympics in 1972. I remember quite clearly I was going to the dining room to eat my breakfast when I heard some gun shots. Later my coach told me that some terrorists had sneaked in.”
- Praveen shared in an interview that he used to wake up at 3 in the morning in his teens and train his body by lifting the ingots of the mill that his mother used for grinding the grains. During those days, there was no gym in his area.
Praveen Kumar was the actor to take the first blow of one of the most successful and famous punch dialogues of the Bollywood superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, “Rishte Mein to Hum Tumhare Baap Hote hain, naam hai Shahenshah!” from the film ‘Shahenshah.’