India’s legendary actor Om Puri died today morning of a cardiac attack at his residence in Mumbai. A Padma Shri awardee and National Award-winner, Om Puri was also conferred the title of the Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the British film industry.
Known for his deep baritone and distinctive acting style, Om Puri had an affinity towards socially relevant cinema. A National School of Drama alumnus, Om Puri also featured in international movies. He nurtured an international career, which started with a cameo in Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi”. Among some of his British films were “My Son the Fanatic”, “East Is East” and “The Parole Officer”.
Puri will be largely remembered for his powerful and stellar performances in Hindi movies like “Aakrosh”, “Ardh Satya” and “Dharavi”. Like the film “Mirch Masala” he explored his ability to dabble in the comedy genre with “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro”, “Chachi 420”, “Hera Pheri”, “Malamaal Weekly” and more.
His stint on the small screen saw him feature in shows like “Kakkaji Kaheen” and “Mr. Yogi”, but his most notable work was in TV film “Tamas”, which was helmed by Govind Nihalani — a filmmaker with whom Om Puri worked very closely all through.
He also appeared in Hollywood films including “City of Joy”, “Wolf” and “The Ghost and the Darkness”. He even featured in Pakistani film “Actor In Law”, and also sank his teeth into film projects in multiple languages like Malayalam and Kannada.
His work extended from theatre, television, Indian films to those in Britain and the US too. He was president of the Cine & TV Artistes’ Association (CINTAA) and a former chairman of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
For his superlative work, he was honoured with the National Film Award for Best Actor twice — for “Arohan” in 1982 and for “Ardh Satya” in 1984.
A tweet on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “The Prime Minister condoles the passing away of actor Om Puri and recalls his long career in theatre and films.”