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’.
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