Shreas Pardiwala has received a lot of appreciation for portraying Brigadier Behram Panthaki in the Meghna Gulzar directed ‘Sam Bahadur’. In the film, Vicky Kaushal played the titular role of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. While Shreas didn’t meet Brigadier Behram Panthaki while preparing for the film, he did get the opportunity to meet the real-life hero a couple of weeks after the film released in the theatres.
Recently, Shreas posted a couple of pictures on social media that depicted his meeting with Brigadier Behram Panthaki and his wife Zenobia Panthaki. In these pictures, one can see the happiness on Shreas’ face when he met the real-life hero he got to portray in the film. This meeting happened a couple of days after the release of the film.
Sharing the story of his first interaction with Brigadier Behram Panthaki, the actor says, “I had gone to London to attend the World Zoroastrian Youth Congress which I had received the invitation for. There, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Karishma Koka, who happens to be Brigadier Behram Panthaki’s niece, and her mother. While talking to me, they got to know that I was playing the Brigadier in ‘Sam Bahadur’. After a couple of weeks, Dr. Koka invited me for a webinar. I joined the webinar and suddenly, I saw Brigadier Behram Panthaki and Zenobia Panthaki’s names appear on the screen. I was stunned to see their names on the screen. When they switched on the video, I finally saw the man live for the first time. I told everybody that I need to stop my speech for a moment and render my salutations to the Brigadier and his wife. I told them that it was an honour to see and interact with them. The Brigadier and his wife were very kind and we exchanged our email IDs and contact details.”
Brigadier Behram Panthaki and his wife Zenobia Panthaki, who are based in Washington, had plans to come down to Mumbai in a couple of days. When Shreas got to know about it, he expressed his desire to meet the Brigadier and his wife in the city. Earlier this month, the real Brigadier Behram Panthaki and the person who portrayed him in a film, finally met in Mumbai.
“Brigadier Behram Panthaki, Mrs. Zenobia Panthaki and I met for a cup of tea at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai. While doing research for the film, I had read the book ‘Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw: The Man and His Times’, authored by the Brigadier and his wife. I had taken the book along with me and the Brigadier and his wife were kind enough to sign it for me. Whatever royalty they get from the book, they direct it to the War Wounded Association and All Widows of the War Fund. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who is interested in Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw’s life. Apart from showcasing many important events from his life, the book also features pictures and his correspondence with eminent personalities. Meeting Brigadier Behram Panthaki and Mrs. Zenobia Panthaki was phenomenal. They had seen the film and really liked it. They complemented the way I looked and acted in the film. They were happy that an actor from the Zoroastrian community had played the character. Brigadier Behram Panthaki is a living legend. He shared many interesting anecdotes that gave me a glimpse of the kind of bond he shared with Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. The Brigadier and his wife are an inspirational couple. We often pay our respects to army men but seldom have we saluted army wives for their patience and courage. As an army wife, Mrs. Zenobia Panthaki has been a beacon of grace”, says Shreas.