One of the finest actors in this world, Om Puri died today morning on account of a severe cardiac arrest. While the world mourns this terrible loss, we bring to you an overview of his wonderful life journey, through Hollywood, Bollywood and beyond.
Born to a Punjabi family in Ambala, his father worked in the Indian Railways as well as in the armed forces. He did his schooling from Punjab and graduated college from the famous Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. He was also a student of the National School of Drama.
Besides Bollywood, he has worked in various films in the UK, USA and Pakistan. Apart from mainstream films, he has also acted in several art films, plays and documentaries, etc.
He made his acting debut in 1976 through a Marathi film, called Ghashiram Kotwal, based on a play by the famous Vijay Tendulkar. Since then, he has worked in several art films like Ardh Satya, Bhavani Bhavai, Sadgati and Dharavi with notable actors like Smita Patil, Amrish Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, etc.
In many of these films (along with certain mainstream Bollywood cinema), he has worked as a righteous and tough police-officer who works for the cause of the common man, against social and political repression. With his unconventional style of acting and his heavenly voice, he has always justified the role with his effortless skills. In fact, acting came so naturally to him that you’d forget you were looking at a screen. That’s the grace and charm he had in his acting prowess.
For his commendable role in Ardh Satya, he was even bestowed with the National Film Award in the Best Actor category. Another unconventional role that he played was in the movie Aakrosh (1980) where he portrayed as a victimized tribal. In the critically acclaimed movie, Maachis (1996), he played the leader of Sikh militants.
In 1999, he even acted in a Kannada movie, called A.K. 47, where he played the role of a disciplined cop which was a huge commercial success. His hard work and determination is reflected by the fact that he himself spoke all Kannada dialogues.
Moving on to his international experiences, he did a cameo in the Gandhi (1982). He became famous on the global front through his successful works in East is East, a British comedy, City of Joy (1992), Wolf (1994) starring Jack Nicholsonand The Ghost and the Darkness (1996). He even played the role of Pakistani General Zia-ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson’s War, which starred the famous actors, Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks.
Apart from this, he has even done comic roles in many successful Bollywood movies like Hera Pheri, Singh is King, Malamaal Weekly, etc. It’s no surprise that he has been awarded with the Padma Shri.
The versatility of the actor was such that he has performed brilliantly in all forums and has been both critically acclaimed and loved by the audience. His ultimate death surely is a huge loss to the world and his absence will forever be felt by movie and theater enthusiasts.
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