I woke up to the heartbreaking news of actor Om Puri passing away early this morning in Mumbai at age 66. We’ve lost one of the finest actors of the Indian Industry. His presence on screen was inspiring and his acting would leave me speechless. His filmography was a sparkling palette of Indian, Pakistani and international films and television. While he’s been in many mainstream films, his home was parallel cinema.
Om Puri carried more heart than most, and was more than just an actor.
He was the unconventional artist who never shied away from speaking his mind, and was wonderfully outspoken. He continually advocated peace between India and Pakistan, and transcended all borders and boundaries. In a recent interview for BBC Urdu, Om Puri expressed his admiration for Pakistan and the adoration he felt every time he visited the country.
He was a kind, self-effacing man who continued to stand up for Pakistan despite receiving hate in India. He insisted Pakistan and India join hands for the sake of art and revolutionizing South Asian cinema. He played the role of a Pakistani man trying to keep his family together in British film East is East and also magnificently portrayed Zia-Ul-Haq in the film Charlie Wilson’s War.
The Pakistani film Actor In Law was the last film Om Puri starred in before his demise.
Om Puri was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in 1990 for his contribution to Indian cinema, and the prestigious OBE for his involvement in British cinema in 2004.
Tributes have flooded in from veterans, remembering the humble man Om Puri was.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable roles Om Puri played in his illustrious career
One of Om Puri’s early works, the film Ardh Satya earned the actor his second National Film Award for Best Actor in 1983.
Here’s a beautiful poetic snippet from the movie by Om Puri.
French-British Drama film City Of Joy, also starring Patrick Swayze depicted Om Puri playing a rural farmer.
East Is East was a wonderful film also starring Linda Bassett, in which Om Puri played a Pakistani immigrant living in England.
One of my favorite movies of all time, The Hundred Foot Journey brought together Om Puri and Helen Mirren as two restaurateurs who butt heads in stifling each other’s competition.
Upcoming film Viceroy’s House is a historical drama directed by Gurinder Chadha (of Bend It Like Beckham and Bride And Prejudice fame), and is one of Om Puri’s final performances.
Rest in peace Om Puri. You were a precious stone, thank you for making me believe in the magic of cinema.