MUMBAI: Veteran actor Om Puri has passed away this morning due to cardiac arrest. He was 66.
According to Indian media, filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, who was a close friend of the actor, first confirmed the sad news of his demise on Twitter. Puri returned home last evening after a shoot. Reportedly his door bell went unanswered on Friday morning, following which his driver raised an alarm.
Puri made a name for himself in the 1980s with the alternative art cinema that found a niche audience in India, playing several memorable characters that depicted the anger and angst of those times.
He also worked in a number of Hollywood and British films, including “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, “East is East”, and most recently in “The Hundred-Foot Journey”.
Born on October 18, 1950, hailing from Ambala in Haryana, Om Puri made his film debut in 1976 with the Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal.
A critically acclaimed actor, Puri featured in films like Ardh Satya and Mirch Masala.
His feats in the film career also include appearances in American films. He was also awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India.
He has claimed that he was paid “peanuts” for his best work. Along with legends like Amrish Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil, he was among the main actors who starred in what was then referred to as art films.
He was critically acclaimed for his performances in many unconventional roles such as a victimized tribal in Aakrosh (1980) (a film in which he spoke only during flash-back sequences); Disco Dancer; a police inspector in Ardh Satya (1982), where he revolts against lifelong social, cultural and political persecution and for which he got the National Film Award for Best Actor.
In 1999, Puri acted in a Kannada movie A.K. 47 as a strict police officer who tries to keep the city safe from the underworld — it became a huge commercial hit.
Puri’s acting in the movie is memorable. He rendered his own voice for the Kannada dialogues.
Om Puri also starred in his first Pakistan film Actor in Law directed by Nabeel Qureshi in 2016. The film had Fahad Mustafa and Mehwish Hayat in lead roles and it turned out to be commercial success on the box office.
Puri was well admired in Pakistan for advocating peace between the neighbouring countries. In his recent appearance in an Indian talk show wherein he blasted the Indian government officials for imposing ban on Pakistan in the wake of border tensions.
Mr. Puri faced strong backlash from the host of Indian TV show and other guests in the programme for stressing that ‘war is no solution’.
Tributes pour in
Solid actor….Solid filmography….immense talent…. #RIPOmPuri ….cinema has truly lost a brilliant artist….
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) January 6, 2017
RIP Om Puri.
We have lost one of our finest.
A talent, A Voice, A Spirit.
Will miss you Puri Saab.
— Boman Irani (@bomanirani) January 6, 2017
Seeing him lying on his bed looking so calm can’t believe that one of our greatest actors #OmPuri is no more. Deeply saddened & shocked.
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) January 6, 2017
Goodbye Om! A part of me goes with you today. How can I ever forget those passionate nights we spent together talking about cinema & life ?
— Mahesh Bhatt (@MaheshNBhatt) January 6, 2017
It’s a sad day for cinema … we just lost one of our greats… gone but will never be forgotten … #RIPOmPuri Saab …
— Neha Dhupia (@NehaDhupia) January 6, 2017
RIP Om puri .. interactions with you were always full of life.. you were one of the finest artist we are proud of..
— Shoojit Sircar (@ShoojitSircar) January 6, 2017
Will miss you Omji ..will miss you..will miss you.#Ompuri
— Sunny Deol (@IAMSUNNYDEOL) January 6, 2017
Shocked & saddened to wake up to the news that #OmPuri has passed. We have lost a brilliant & talented artist. You will be sorely missed.
— Rajpal Yadav (@rajpalofficial) January 6, 2017
With the passing of veteran actor #OmPuri ji, the powerhouse of talent & his renowned baritone voice now falls silent! Deeply saddened! RIP!
— Vinod Tawde (@TawdeVinod) January 6, 2017
The man who brought so many characters to life, #OmPuri ji you will be missed ..
— Karan Tacker (@karantacker) January 6, 2017
— Madhur Bhandarkar (@imbhandarkar) January 6, 2017
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) January 6, 2017
Shocked and saddened to learn that #OmPuri Ji is no more. You will be missed. Condolences to the family. RIP.
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) January 6, 2017
The end of an era …. The legacy lives on.. RIP #OmPuri
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) January 6, 2017
— harsh (@5barotharsh) January 6, 2017
Cannot believe #OmPuri ji is no more .. spoke to him a few days back .. such an artist had the privilege of working with him recently .. RIP
— Huma Qureshi (@humasqureshi) January 6, 2017
A glance on Om Puri’s film career