Renowned actor Naseeruddin Shah, celebrated for his talent and popularity, unveiled intriguing episodes from his life in his 2014 autobiography, ‘And Then One Day.’ Among the riveting anecdotes shared in the book, one particular incident from the 1970s stands out, leaving fans and cinema enthusiasts astounded.
In the pages of his autobiography, Naseeruddin Shah recounted a harrowing experience involving an actor-friend who attempted to stab him, with the late actor Om Puri ultimately intervening to save him. The incident occurred during the filming of the 1977 movie ‘Bhoomika,’ while Naseeruddin and Om were having dinner at a restaurant.
At that time, Naseeruddin and his fellow actor, Jaspal, were embroiled in personal differences and were not on friendly terms. He described the moment, writing, “We ignored each other, but his gaze remained fixed on me as he passed to sit at another table behind me.”
He continued, “After a while, I was jolted by what felt like a sharp, sudden blow to the middle of my back. I began to rise, mentally preparing for another confrontation. Before I could react, Om Puri, with a strangled cry, lunged toward something behind me. I turned to witness Jaspal holding a small knife, its tip dripping with blood, his hand poised for another strike, while Om and two others struggled to subdue him.”
The restaurant staff, alarmed by the incident, promptly alerted the police, and Naseer required immediate medical attention. Recounting the events, he wrote, “Om returned to inform me that Jaspal had been taken to the kitchen and was receiving medical care. He wanted to take me to a doctor but was prevented by the restaurant staff, who insisted we wait for the police.” When the ambulance arrived, Om Puri accompanied Naseer, beseeching the officers to handle the situation with care. However, this led to a confrontation with the authorities.
“Om made the mistake of getting into the ambulance without permission, thereby urging the officers to treat me gently. He was ordered to step out, and after much pleading with the officer in charge, was allowed to remain. Neither of us knew where we were headed, but I prayed it wasn’t the police station,” Naseeruddin Shah recounted.
Naseer was initially taken to Cooper Hospital and later transferred to Jaslok Hospital. During his hospitalization, he learned that Jaspal had been taken into custody by the police but was subsequently released on bail, facilitated by filmmaker Saeed Akhtar Mirza.
“While recuperating, I discovered that Jaspal, after spending two nights in custody, had been bailed out by Saeed Mirza, who had cast him in his film ‘Arvind Desai’ when I couldn’t find the time for it. Saeed had always harbored a strong bias in favor of Jaspal since our days at FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) and was now sheltering him in his own home. I hoped he knew what he was doing,” Naseeruddin Shah reflected.
This astonishing incident, shared in his autobiography, sheds light on a dramatic chapter in the life of the acclaimed actor.