Gufi Paintal Dies at 78: From Fighting War with China to Portraying Shakuni Mama, Know the Remarkable Journey of Late Actor

Veteran actor Gufi Paintal, best known for his portrayal of the iconic character 'Shakuni Mama' in the television series "Mahabharat," passed away on Monday at the age of 78.Gufi's contribution to the entertainment industry is widely acknowledged, but many are unaware of his earlier career in the army before he became Shakuni. In a revealing interview, the actor shared that he served in the army during the 1962 war between India and China.

Written by  Prerit Chauhan   |  June 05th 2023 01:17 PM  |  Updated: June 05th 2023 01:21 PM

Gufi Paintal Dies at 78: From Fighting War with China to Portraying Shakuni Mama, Know the Remarkable Journey of Late Actor

Veteran actor Gufi Paintal, best known for his portrayal of the iconic character 'Shakuni Mama' in the television series "Mahabharat," passed away on Monday at the age of 78. His demise came after a prolonged battle with illness, while he was undergoing treatment in a hospital. Gufi's contribution to the entertainment industry is widely acknowledged, but many are unaware of his earlier career in the army before he became Shakuni. In a revealing interview, the actor shared that he served in the army during the 1962 war between India and China.

At the time of the India-China conflict, Gufi Paintal was pursuing his engineering studies. As the war led to the direct recruitment of college students into the army, Gufi patriotically decided to join the forces and contribute to the nation's defense. He was stationed at the China border in the army artillery. Gufi recalled the challenging circumstances of life in those remote areas, where entertainment options were scarce, with no access to television or radio. In order to find solace in leisure activities, the soldiers organized a vibrant Ramleela performance to bring joy and amusement to their lives.

Interestingly, during this Ramleela performance, Gufi Paintal portrayed the character of Sita. He humorously mentioned, "I had to don the role of Sita, and a soldier dressed as Ravana would whisk me away on a scooter." Gufi expressed that while he already had a passion for acting, his involvement in the Ramleela at the border further intensified his interest in the craft. Consequently, in 1969, he made his way to Mumbai to pursue his acting aspirations.

Upon arriving in Mumbai, Gufi Paintal embarked on a journey of learning modeling and acting. He also ventured into the realm of filmmaking as an assistant director. During his tenure as a casting director for B.R. Chopra's renowned television series "Mahabharat," the search for the perfect candidate to portray the character of 'Shakuni Mama' was underway. Gufi decided to audition for the role, and interestingly, it was the scriptwriter, the innocent Raja, who recommended him for the part of Shakuni. This fortuitous turn of events marked Gufi's transformation into the beloved 'Shakuni Mama' in "Mahabharat," earning him adoration from the audience. Subsequently, he continued to grace the small screen, appearing in various television serials.

In 1975, Gufi Paintal made his entry into Bollywood with the film "Raffoo Chakkar." Alongside his contributions to television serials, he also displayed his acting prowess in Hindi cinema. However, his recent days were spent in medical care in the hospital. Initially admitted to a hospital in Faridabad, he was later transferred to Mumbai as his health deteriorated. Regrettably, on the morning of June 5, he succumbed to heart failure, leaving behind a void in the industry.

Gufi Paintal's journey from serving in the army during the India-China war to becoming a beloved actor in the entertainment industry is a testament to his versatility and dedication. His portrayal of 'Shakuni Mama' in "Mahabharat" will forever remain etched in the memories of his fans. Gufi's contribution to both television and film has left an indelible mark, and his absence will be deeply felt. The industry has lost a talented actor, and his legacy will continue to inspire aspiring artists for years to come.

- PTC PUNJABI


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