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Om Puri refused to wear beard in 'Singh Is King'
By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, April 11 Bollywood star Akshay Kumar took to his turban, kirpan (dagger) and beard in "Singh Is King" with unconditional gusto, but director Anees Bazmi couldn't convince seasoned actor Om Puri, who plays a sardar in the movie, to sport beard.
"That's true," admits Om. "But I had a very valid reason for saying no to the beard. My face is allergic to beards. I get rashes from facial hair. So I played the sardar in 'Singh Is King' with all the other requirements except the beard," Om Puri, who plays Akshay's friend in the movie, told IANS.
However, for Jagmohan Mundhra's "Shoot On Sight", Om had no choice but to sport a beard.
"It's the role of a fundamentalist maulvi, a very powerful part with dramatic speeches, and I couldn't play a maulvi without a beard. But my face went through hell," he said.
He softens while talking about his next release "Love Songs Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow", in which he is paired with Jaya Bachchan.
"The film is my gift to myself. It is a beautiful little film in English. It is directed by a very old friend Jaybrato Chatterjee. I did it because of Jayaji whom I had never worked with.
"Like I told her, 'I had done films with the rest of the family - Amitji, Aishwarya, Abhishek. Now the portrait is complete.' I've a small role in 'Love Songs'. I come in the second half, but my voice is heard reciting two poems in the first half."
Speaking of the Bachchans, Om is thoroughly enjoying himself shooting with Abhishek in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's "Dilli 6".
"I had a small but powerful role in Rakeysh's 'Rang De Basanti'. Now I've far more space in 'Dilli 6'. I've shot for nearly 40 days. I play the girl's (Sonam Kapoor's) father.
"Incidentally, I've also received an offer from the 'Rang De Basanti' writer Rensel D'Silva for his film with Karan Johar. It is a powerful piece of work and I'm definitely doing it."
Work-wise 2008-09 is one of Om's best phases ever.
"There are a wide variety of roles, yes. My next release would be Priyadarshan's 'Mere Baap Pehle Aap'. It's a smile-a-minute comedy. I play a middle-aged man desperate to get married. My friend Paresh Rawal keeps messing up my prospects every time he goes to negotiate for my marriage."
Om also features in Priyadarshan's next film with Bollywood's reigning star Shah Rukh Khan.
"Don't ask me what my role is because I don't know. Priyan has simply blocked my dates for the film with Shah Rukh. I'm yet to hear my role. That's the kind of equation I share with Priyan," said the actor who is still remembered for his powerful performances in "Ardh Satya", "Bhumika" and "Aakrosh".
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