A childhood picture of Parikshit Sahni with his father and sisters
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Salt & pepper
Eye Colour: Dark brown
Parents & Siblings
His father, Balraj Sahni, (born Yudhishthir Sahni) was an Indian film and stage actor. His father died on 13 April 1973 at the age of 59. Before Independence, Balraj Sahni lived with his family in Rawalpindi (Pakistan). In 1936, he got married to Damayanti Sahni, who was also an actor. Reportedly, when Parikshit was born, his parents were working as teachers at Tagore’s Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan, Bengal. Balraj Sahni bought a Gurmukhi typewriter and learnt the Gurumukhi script writing. With Mahatma Gandhi’s blessings, Parikshit’s parents went to London where his father joined the BBC-London’s Hindi service as a radio announcer and returned to India in 1943.
Parikshit Sahni with his father, Balraj Sahni
When they came to India from London, Balraj Sahni and Damayanti Sahni were engaged in social work as they were associated with the Communist Party of India. Damayanti worked in a slum and even shared meals with the slum dwellers due to which she got diagnosed with Amoebic dysentery, a parasitic infection spread in the body due to the consumption of contaminated water. In 1947, the disease resulted in a massive cardiac arrest and she passed away at the age of 26.
Parikshit Sahni’s father and mother (Damayanti Sahni)
Being devasted by his wife’s death, Balraj Sahni (Parikshit’s father) used to bang his head on the wall and cry, “Dammo nahi rahee, Dammo chali gayee.” Then in 1951, he got married to his first cousin, Santosh Chandhok, an author and television writer.
Balraj Sahni with his second wife, Santosh Chandhok
Balraj Sahni was a part of a procession led by the Communist party. After the mob got out of control, the police resorted to a lathi charge, during which Balraj Sahni was arrested and sent to jail. Balraj became the author of his autobiography ‘Meri Filmi Aatmakatha,’ which was released in 1974. The last film that Balraj acted in was ‘Garam Hawa’ (1974). He died just the same day he finished the dubbing work. The last line he recorded for the film was “Insaan Kab Tak Akela Jee Sakta Hai?”
‘Meri Filmi Aatmakatha’ by Balraj Sahni
In 1947, before the demise of Damayanti Sahni, she gave birth to her daughter, Shabnam Sahni. Shabnam was married to a man in Kolkata. Her mother-in-law started taunting her about her connection to a Muslim boy, which Shabnam didn’t like.” Her marriage wasn’t on good terms so she left her in-laws and came back home. She worked as a teacher at Sadhana School in Mumbai. In 1972, around the age of 26-27, she suffered a Brain Haemorrhage and died.
Parikshit Sahni’s sister, Shabnam Sahni
Sanober Sahni is Parikshit’s paternal half-sister from the second marriage of his father to Santosh Chandhok.
Wife & Children
Parikshit Sahni got married to Aruna Sahni (deceased). They have two daughters, Aditi Sahni and Tania Sahni. Later, he then got married to Nandini Sahni. They have one son named Varn Sahni. Parikshit has a granddaughter, Niharika Sahni, who is a film director.
Parikshit Sahni and his wife, late Aruna Sahni
Parikshat’s paternal uncle, Bhisham Sahni, was a distinguished Hindi fiction writer who won Padma Bhushan for Literature in 1998. Parikshit’s wife, Aruna Sahni, is the niece of the Late Dev Anand and cousin of Shekhar Kapur.
Parikshit Sahni’s father was an atheist. Parikshit grew up in an environment that also made him an atheist for a large portion of his life. Later, he gained an interest in spirituality when he read holy books, such as Bhagavad Gita, Quran, and Bible.
(22-2-1978); Parikshit Sahni’s autograph
Sahni began his career as a child artist. After Parikshit returned from Moscow in 1966, at the age of 26, he started his film career in India.
Parikshit assisted Raj Kapoor in the Hindi film Mera Naam Joker but Parikshit left it when he was offered a role in the film ‘Anokhi Raat’ in 1968. Parikshit did an apprenticeship in the Russian film ‘War and peace.’ He was an assistant and even did work like sweeping and cleaning.
In 1951, when Parikshit was around 10 years old, he made his debut as a child artist with the film ‘Hulchul.’
Parikshit Sahni in a still from the film Hulchul (1951)
In 1951, he played the role of Shyamu in the film ‘Deedar.’
Parikshit Sahni and Tabassum in a still from the song ‘Bachpan Ke Din Bhoolana Dena’ from the film ‘Deedar’
He played the role of Kedarnath in the Hindi film Pavitra Paapi (1970) which was based on a Punjabi novel by Nanak Singh. Parikshit’s father, Balraj Sahni, also acted in this film.
Parikshit Sahni on the official poster of the film Pavitra Paapi (1970)
In the 2009 film titled 3 Idiots, Parikshit Sahni played the role of Farhan Qureshi’s father, Salim Qureshi.
Parikshit Sahni in a still from the film ‘3 Idiots’
In 2014, Parikshit played the role of Jaggu’s father named Jayprakash Sahni.
Parikshit Sahni in a still from the film ‘PK’
Parikshit appeared in many Bollywood films including Preet Ki Dori (1971), Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973), Jallian Wala Bagh (1977), Insaaf Main Karoonga (1985), Waqt Ka Badshah (1992), Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011), and Housefull 4 (2019).
In 1989, Parikshit made his Punjabi debut with the film Marhi Da Diva. In 1978, he acted in the film ‘Udeekan,’ which won the Best Picture award.
In 1987, he appeared in the TV show ‘Gul Gulshan Gulfam’ in which he played the role of an old man.
Parikshit Sahni (extreme right) in a still from the TV program ‘Gul Gulshan Gulfam’ (1987)
Later, he appeared in many TV shows including Mirza Ghalib (1988), The Great Maratha (1994), Heena (1998), and Saat Phere: Saloni Ka Safar (2007).
Balraj Sahni Productions
Parikshit started his own production company named Balraj Sahni Productions. He produced the TV serials Firangi, Khoj, Kalpana, and Lal Kothi Alvida on Doordarshan. He produced and wrote the script for the 2008 TV program ‘London Ki Ek Raat,’ which also aired on Doordarshan. He directed the film, Pakda Gaya Par Kaun, a film for children which was produced under his own production banner.
In 2019, Parikshit penned a biography on his father titled ‘The Non-Conformist: Memories of My Father Balraj Sahni,’ which was a biography of his father, Balraj Sahni.
‘The Non-Conformist Memories of My Father Balraj Sahni’ by Parikshit Sahni
Parikshit’s second book titled Strange Encounters was released on 28 August 2022.
‘Strange Encounters’ by Parikshit Sahni
- He is known as Gul Gulshan Gulfam by Doordarshan fans.
- Parikshit is fond of reading and writing. In an interview, he said that he never wanted to be an actor. Further, he added that,
I am not as serious as an actor as my father was. My main love has been writing and direction. I am not very keen (about acting). I am acting only because of him. People cast me because I’m Balraj Sahni’s son, thinking I might know something really good about acting.”
- During the shooting of the film ‘Veer Shivaji,’ Parikshit got injured his backbone. It took him a year to recover from the accident.
- Parikshit Sahni changed his screen name to Ajay Sahni at the suggestion of his friend Sanjeev Kumar during the shooting of their 1968 film ‘Anokhi Raat’ but he switched to his old name a few years later.
- Balraj Sahni apologized to his son, Parikshit, for not having enough money as their situation made him guilty for putting him in the acting industry too soon.
- He was very interested in painting during his school days and has a studio in Lokhandwala.
- During an interview, Parikshit shared that after his father and sister’s demise, he became an alcoholic and started substance abuse. But it only went on for a year.
Parikshit Sahni with his alcoholic beverage
- When Parikshit was young, he used to accompany his father on his shoots. Many times, in case there was any actor unavailable, Parikshit’s father suggested he put on fake moustaches and play the roles.
- The 1977 film ‘Jallian Wala Bagh’ had a scene where Parikshit’s character, Uddham Singh, was required to spit on Mahatma Gandhi, portrayed by Parikshit’s father Balraj Sahni. It was a difficult scene for Parikshit that he cried. But Balraj told his son Parikshit that he was not his father but a character in the script, and one must do whatever was written in the script.