Om Puri Biography
About Om Puri
Om Puri was one of the unparalleled actors Bollywood has ever produced. If we consider the diversity of his performances, very less actors can even come close to him. He acted in both commercial and art films with equal ease. He had a powerful voice and magnetic screen presence. He acted in both British and American films.
Om Puri was born on 18 Octover, 1950 in Ambala, Haryana. He was a graduate from the Film and Television Institute of India and also an alumnus of the National School of Drama. He married Seema Kapoor, actor Annu Kapoor’s sister, but their marriage did not last long and ended after eight months. His second marriage was to Nandita Puri with whom he had a son.
Career in Films and Television
His debut film was Ghashiram Kotwal in the 1976. The film was based on a Marathi play with the same name. He acted in many films with Amrish Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil such as Bhumika (1977), Bhavani Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982) and Mirch Masala (1986). These films are usually categorized as parallel cinema or art films very different from the mainstream Hindi films made at that time. He worked with some of the best directors from Bengal like Satyajit Ray in Sadgati, Mrinal Sen in Genesis and Utpalendu Chakraborty in Chokh and Debshishu.
Some of the memorable roles played by Om Puri are Lahanya Bhiku, a victimized tribal in Aakrosh (1980), Hari Mondal, a poor sharecropper in Aarohan (1982), Anant Welankar, a policeman of Mumbai in Ardh Satya (1983), Ramulu, an silk weaver from Andhra in Susman (1986), Hasari Pal a rickshaw puller of Kolkata in City of Joy (1992), a Pakistani cabbie in My Son the Fanatic (1998), George Khan, a Pakistani owner of a fish-and-chips shop at UK in East is East (1999) , leader of a cell of Sikh militants in Maachis (1996) and many more.
Om Puri was a versatile actor and handled all kinds of roles with great ease. Apart from the serious roles, he also performed comic roles in Hera Pheri, Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge, and Malamaal, which are worth mentioning. He became an international star with British films such as My Son the Fanatic (1997), East is East (1999) and The Parole Officer (2001). He also performed in Hollywood films such as City of Joy (1992), Wolf (1994) and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996). He has also acted in the highly acclaimed film Gandhi in 1982, directed by Richard Attenborough, which is based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
Om Puri’s contribution to Television is also praiseworthy. In 1984 he acted in a TV series, Jewel in the Crown, in which he played the role of Mr. De Souza. Govind Nihalani’s famous TV series, Tamas is still remembered for Om Puri’s breakthrough performance, which was based upon Bhisham Sahni’s novel. In 1988, he worked in the TV Serial Bharat Ek Khoj, based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s book Discover India, directed by Shyam Benegal. Kakkaji Kaheen was another Hindi TV serial, which was a parody on politicians and was very popular.
Om Puri was honored with Order of the British Empire, OBE (Honorary) in 2004 for services to The British Film Industry. In1998, he won Crystal Star Best Actor for My Son the Fanatic at the Brussels International Film Festival. He even won Filmfare Award Best Supporting Actor for the film Aakrosh (1980). He won two National Film Awards, in 1984 for Ardh Satya and in 1982 for Arohan.
Puri suffered a massive heart attack on 6 January 2017 and passed away at his Andheri residence.