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Today is the 63rd birthday of Puneet Issar, who became popular as Duryodhana in ‘Mahabharata’. He started his film career with the film ‘Coolie’. Due to this very first film, he was caught in such a big controversy that he could never leave his chase. During the shooting of this film, Puneet Issar accidentally punched Amitabh Bachchan, after which he was seriously injured and died. After this, for many years, Puneet Issar was craving for work, but after four years of struggle, BR Chopra’s serial ‘Mahabharata’ in 1987 proved to be the turning point for his career.
Puneet Issar played the role of Duryodhana in BR Chopra’s Mahabharata. When his climax fight scene with Bhima was shot in Mahabharat, he had blue and black marks on his body. He himself shared this thing in an interview.
Duryodhana’s role was found on this condition
In the interview, Puneet Issar got the role of Duryodhana on one condition. The makers had said that to play the role of Bheem, he should get an actor of higher height than him. Significantly, Puneet’s height is 6 feet 3 inches and he wanted to play the role of Duryodhana. But BR Chopra had cast him to give the role of Bhima.
Praveen Kumar became Bhima
Praveen Kumar, who played the role of Bheem in the show, was an athlete and a two-time Asian Games gold medalist and his height was 6 feet 8 inches. It was Puneet who had recommended Praveen for this role and later Puneet was badly beaten up by Praveen in the climax.
Black-blue marks were lying on the body
About his fight with Praveen, Puneet says – It was a very tough experience. He was not an actor, he was a two-time gold medalist in disc throw. Whenever I spoke the dialogue – and with force, Praveen would hit me even harder. In those days the mace was very heavy, which was unlike the mace of today. After the shot my whole body turned black and blue. The fight in the climax scene lasted more than 18 days. I had bruises all over my body.
Climax was shot in 15-20 days
It took about 20 days to shoot the climax scene of Mahabharata. There was no cable work at that time, so we had to do the jumping scenes on our own without stuntmen or body doubles. Injuries were very common at that time. I remember many people got hurt in their eyes while shooting arrows.
People started calling Puneet evil
Puneet says – People used to hate me, called me wicked but I used to take it as a complement. People used to refuse to talk to me outside the set, calling me evil. During this, Puneet also talked about the accident during the shooting of Coolie. In the four years before Mahabharata, he got some work but it was not of his mind. The casting for Mahabharata went on for two years. Puneet was signed in 1986 and meanwhile Puneet had increased his weight by 22 kg to 108 kg to play the role of Duryodhana.