Veteran actor Raza Murad, who has been friends with late actor Gufi Paintal, fondly remembered his life and on-screen presence. Known for playing Sakuni Mama in the epic television serial ‘Mahabharat’, Gufi Paintal passed away due to prolonged illness in Mumbai on Monday.
His body has been moved from the hospital to his home, where Raza Muard was among the first to reach and be around to help the family.
Talking to the media about his friend, Raza Murad said: “I was friends with him for 50 years. Filmmaker Rahul Ravail made the movie ‘Gunhegaar’. I was the actor in the film and Gufi was assistant director. In those days he was remembered for being Paintal Saab’s brother.” He was referring to Kanwaljeet Paintal, the popular comedian and better known of the two brothers.
Remembering his friend, Raza Murad said: “There was another movie, ‘Laila Majnu’, where he was handling the production. For years, he was a struggling actor and artiste, but he was hardworking and he wasn’t getting a clear direction.
“He had always wanted to be an actor, so he started working for BR Films [helmed by B.R. Chopra], where he became an assistant director, and then landed the role of Sakuni Mama. It was not merely a character, it was history.
Raza Murad added: “‘Mahabharat’ was a milestone in the history of Indian television. The streets would be empty when the serial used to be aired. His character of Sakuni mama is a memorable and iconic role. It was written in golden words.
“I remember watching the play ‘Mahabharat’ recently in Delhi. When Gufi entered, the entire crowd went crazy. It felt like some rock star had entered an arena. People still remember his character, but fate had something in mind.
“People do 100-200 films and still can’t create an identity for themselves. Gufi did it with just one character. He didn’t just create an identity for himself with his nuances. He is not among us anymore, he left us today, but his character will live forever.”
Gufi Paintal was hospitalised for more than a week due to age-related heart and kidney issues. He was in a critical condition at Bellevue Multispeciality Hospital in Andheri, Mumbai. His condition didn’t stabilise and he passed away on June 5.
Gufi Paintal’s talent was not just limited to acting; he also worked as a television director. Apart from ‘Mahabharat’, which aired in the late 1980s, he acted in popular Bollywood films such as ‘Rafoo Chakkar’, ‘Des Pardes’, ‘Dillagi’, ‘Maidan-E-Jung’ and ‘Daava’, among others.