Known for his quick wit humour and direct puns, Om Prakash was one of the most celebrated character actors. Full of life himself, he pumped life in all the characters he played. Born in Lahore, he was always attracted to theatres and music. Hailing from a rich family, he started to learn classical music. At the raw age of 18, he joined the All India Radio as a programme presenter. He wrote his own dialogues for it and the character he played was called Fateh Din. He became a popular man in Lahore and Punjab through this character of Fateh Din. His old friends always called him Fateh Din and he was known by that name. His entry into Hindi films was Daasi (1944) where he played a comic – villain. Thereafter, doing several films as a villain he switched over to complete comedy and character acting. In his career as an actor he became famous as Om Prakash again. Be it a miniscule role in Zanjeer (1973) as DeSilva or an important role of Munim ji in Sharabi (1984), Om Prakash had the ability to carry the entire film on his shoulders and leave a lasting impression on the audience. Whether it was a straight faced humor or satire, he remains unbeaten in an art called enthralling the audience.
Who can forget the ruffled, exasperated Jijaji in Chupke Chupke (1975)?
His character of a frantic, panic stricken father, listening to a horror story narrated by his son (Mehmood) in Pyar Kiye Jaa (1966) remains etched in our hearts.
The huffy yet caring, tender and warm hearted Daddu in Namak Halal (1982) remains everyone’s favorite and close to heart character.
Like Amitabh says Daddu, tum toh dekhne ki cheez ho, sunane ki cheez ho, Om Prakash was just that!!! Isn’t everyone just delighted to watch him and hear his dialogues on screen!! But apart from his characteristic, witty dialogues, Om Prakash also had quite a few songs picturised on him.
Here’s glancing at some of the songs picturised on him!!
1. Patang (1957) – A philosophical song rendered by Rafi, picturised on Om Prakash. This song is written by Rajendra Krishan, who was also a good friend of Om Prakash.
2. Miss Mary (1957) – Another Rafi number, set to tune by Hemant Kumar, describes about life’s situation today.
3. Howrah Bridge (1958) – Take a tour of the wonder city called Calcutta now Kolkata with Om Prakash to guide you through his song, rendered by Rafi again and music by O P Nayyar.
4. Khandan (1965) – Yet another song in Rafi’s voice picturised on Om Prakash, in a multi starrer family drama from the South, Khandan.
5. Annadata (1972) – Om Prakash played the protagonist Annadata in this simple and heart touching film. Known for the simple lyrics of Yogesh and a lovely score by Salil Chowdhury, all the songs are a delight to hear.
6. Buddha Mil Gaya (1971) – A thriller by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, this film had 2 wonderful songs picturised on Om Prakash, who again plays the lead role in the film. Entire story of the film revolves around his character.
Another semi classical score from the same film keeps popping up through the entire film. Rendered beautifully by Manna Dey along with Archana, music by R D Burman and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
7. Loafer (1973) – A devotional number rendered by Mahendra Kapoor, music by Laxmikant Pyarelal and lyrics by Anand Bakshi.
8. Rang Birangi (1983) – A lesser known but a brilliant and magical number from this comedy classic by Hrishikesh Mukherjee is picturised on Om Prakash and Chhayadevi. Rendered by all time classical expert Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande and Kumari Faiyyaz and music by R D Burman, the song is worth a multiple hear and a multiple watch too.