Actor-athlete Praveen Kumar Sobti, best known for playing Bheem in the TV series “Mahabharat” and for winning an Asian Games gold medal, died following a cardiac arrest late Monday evening. He was 74. The actor breathed his last at his Ashok Vihar residence here.
“He had a chronic chest infection problem. At night, when he started feeling uneasy, we called the doctor at home. He passed away between 10-10.30 PM following a cardiac arrest,” a relative of Praveen told PTI.
Sobti was 20 when he joined the Border Security Force (BSF), where he was first noticed for his athletic skills.
After that he represented the country across various athletic events in hammer and discus throw and even won four medals at the Asian Games, including two gold medals in 1966 and 1970. He also won a silver medal in hammer throw during the 1966 Commonwealth Games.
The athlete gained further popularity after he began his acting career and featured as Bheem in BR Chopra’s classic “Mahabharat” in 1988. As an actor, Sobti featured in supporting parts in close to 50 movies like “Yudh”, “Adhikar”, “Hukumat”, “Shahenshah”, “Ghayal” and “Aaj Ka Arjun”.
He entered politics in 2013 when he joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to contest the Delhi assembly elections. However, Sobti lost to BJP’s Mahender Nagpal. After that, he joined the BJP in 2014.
He is survived by wife, daughter, two younger brothers and a sister. On Twitter, the official Twitter handle of the BSF paid a tribute to Praveen Kumar Sobti.
“Director General & All Ranks of BSF condole the untimely demise of Praveen Kumar Sobti, former Deputy Commandant, Arjuna Awardee, two-time Olympian (1968 Mexico Games and 1972 Munich Games) & four-time Asian Games medallist (2 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze),” read the tweet.