Actor Naseeruddin Shah had mentioned an incident in his autobiography in which actor Om Puri had saved his life. In the book, ‘And Then One Day: A Memoir’, he wrote about a stabbing incident that took place in a restaurant in Mumbai in 1977.
Jaspal, a former friend of Naseeruddin was the attacker. Naseer wrote, “While the Bhumika (1977) shooting was on, Om and I were in the middle of dinner when Jaspal, whom I had kept well away from for some time now, also entered and greeted Om. We ignored each other but, eyes fixed on me, he passed to sit on another table behind me, so I thought. After a while, I was reminded of his presence by what felt like a short sharp punch in the middle of my back. I started to rise, wearily preparing myself for another free-for-all. Before I could move, Om with a strangled cry lunged at something behind me. I turned to see Jaspal holding a small knife, its point dripping blood, his hand raised to strike again, and Om and two others grappling to subdue him.”
He then wrote, “Om returned to inform me that Jaspal had been taken to the kitchen and was being given the treatment. He wanted to take me to a doctor but was thwarted by the restaurant staff refusing to let us move till the police arrived. A sizeable crowd had collected by now, the muscles in my back were beginning to go into spasm, blood was soaking my shirt-back and had begun its progress down my trouser seat.”
“Om made the cardinal error of climbing in as well without permission and managed to rile the boss-man, thereby asking the cops to be gentle with me. He was ordered to get off and after considerable pleading with the goon in charge was allowed to stay. Neither of us had an idea where we were headed but I prayed it was not the police station,” he added.
Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri both are the alumni of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). They have worked together for films like Ardha Satya, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Maqbool, Bhumika, Mirch Masala, and many others.