Om Puri

Om Puri

Birth name: Om Prakash Puri
Born: October 18, 1950
Age: 73
Birthplace: Ambala, Punjab, India
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Om Prakash Puri, OBE (18 October 1950 - 6 January 2017) was an Indian actor who appeared in mainstream commercial Indian films, as well as independent and art films. He is best known for his author-backed roles in films like Aakrosh (1980), Arohan (1982), Ardh Satya and television films like Sadgati (1981) and Tamas (1987) and also light-hearted roles in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) and Chachi 420 (1997). He had various collaborations with director Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani.[1] Puri also appeared in non-Indian productions in the United States, Britain and Pakistan.[2]

Puri was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 1990;[3] and in 2004, was made an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire.[4]

Om Puri was born in Ambala in a Punjabi Hindu Khatri family. His father, Rajesh Puri, worked on the railways and in the Indian Army.[5] As he had no birth certificate or records, his family was unsure of his date and year of birth, however his mother told him he had been born two days after the Hindu festival Dussehra. When he began his schooling, his uncle chose 9 March 1950 as his "official" birthday, however as an adult when he moved to Mumbai, Puri looked up when Dussehra was celebrated in 1950, to establish his date of birth as 18 October.[6]

Puri came from an underprivileged background. When he was six years old, his father who was a railway employee was put behind bars on allegations of theft of cement. This resulted in their family becoming homeless. To make ends meet, Puri's brother, Ved Prakash Puri, worked as a coolie (railway porter) and Puri worked in a local tea shop.[7] Thereafter, to help support his family, he had to start working at the young age of seven. He did odd jobs, worked at a neighbourhood dhaba (street side food stall), a tea stall and would bring coal from near railways tracks to support his family.[8] He and his brother's children were later brought up by a maid servant, Shanti.[9]

While working, Puri continued to study. After his primary education, he joined the National School of Drama in Delhi to study theatre acting. A fellow NSD student who became a long-term friend, Naseeruddin Shah, encouraged Puri to follow him to the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune.[9][10] In an interview with The Times of India, Puri later recounted his family was so poor that he did not have a decent shirt to wear when he joined FTII. According to Shah, Puri was disappointed by his education at FTII, and also was unable to pay tuition fees—when he became well-known, the institute followed up the debt of Rs 280, which Puri refused to pay due to the "impish thrill" of owing them money.[11]



Puri's first film was Chor Chor Chhup ja, a children's film. During this time, to make ends meet he also worked at the Actors' Studio, where future actors such as Gulshan Grover and Anil Kapoor would be his students.[7]

Subsequently, Puri worked in numerous Indian films, as well as many films produced in the United Kingdom and the United States.[12]

Puri made his debut in the mainstream films genre in the 1976 Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal,[13][14] based on a Marathi play of the same name by Vijay Tendulkar.[14] It was directed by K. Hariharan and Mani Kaul in cooperation with 16 graduates of the FTII.[15] He has claimed that he was paid "peanuts" for his best work.[16] Along with 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 such as Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992).

He was critically acclaimed for his performances in many unconventional roles such as a victimized tribal in Aakrosh (1980);[17] Jimmy's manager in Disco Dancer (1982);[18] a police inspector in Ardh Satya (1982),[18] for which he got the National Film Award for Best Actor;[19] a humble husband in Seepeeyan (1984),[20] Vinod's uncle in Zamana (1985 film) the leader of a cell of Sikh militants in Maachis (1996); as a tough cop again in the commercial film Gupt in 1997; and as the courageous father of a martyred soldier in Dhoop (2003).

In 1999, Puri acted in a Kannada film 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 film is memorable. He rendered his own voice for the Kannada dialogues. In the same year, he starred in the successful British comedy film East is East, where he played a first-generation Pakistani immigrant in Northern England,[17] struggling to come to terms with his far more westernised children.

Puri in 2009

Puri had a cameo in the highly acclaimed film Gandhi (1982, directed by Richard Attenborough).[17][21] In the mid-1990s, he diversified to play character roles in mainstream Hindi cinema, where his roles are more tuned to mass audiences than film critics. He became known internationally by starring in many British films such as My Son the Fanatic (1997), East Is East (1999)[18] and The Parole Officer (2001). He appeared in Hollywood films including City of Joy (1992),[20] opposite Patrick Swayze;[21] Wolf (1994) with Jack Nicholson;[20][21] and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) opposite Val Kilmer.[21] In 2007, he appeared as General Zia-ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson's War, which stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.[20]

He has worked in Hindi television serials like Kakkaji Kaheen (1988) (roughly meaning "Uncle Says") as a paan-chewing 'Kakkaji', which was a parody on politicians, and Mr. Yogi (1989) as a suave 'Sutradhaar' who enjoys pulling the protagonist's leg. These two serials underlined Om Puri's versatility as a comedian. He received critical acclaim for his performance in Govind Nihalani's television film Tamas (1988)[18] based on a Hindi novel of the same name. He played comic roles in Hindi films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro which reached a cult status,[20] followed by Chachi 420 (1997), Hera Pheri (2000), Chor Machaye Shor (2002), Deewane Hue Pagal, Chup Chup Ke, Kismet Connection and Malamaal Weekly (2006) and Oh My God. He was regular in films directed by Priyadarshan and Kamal Haasan.

His notable roles in commercial Hindi films included Drohkaal, In Custody, Narsimha, Ghayal, Mrityudand, Aastha, Hey Ram, Pyar Toh Hona Hi Tha, Farz, Gadar, Lakshya, Dev (2004), Rang De Basanti, Yuva, Singh Is Kinng, Mere Baap Pehle Aap, Billu, Kyunki, Lakshya, Dabang, Bhaji In Problem, Khap, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Ghayal Once Again. Puri was seen in the role of Mohammad Ali Kasuri in Road to Sangam (2009). In 2010, he appeared in The Hangman. In 2011 he was in the Indian action film Don 2.

He has also worked in some episodes of the TV series Aahat during the second season which was aired between 2004 and 2005 on Sony channel. Other notable television appearances included Bharat Ek Khoj, Yatra, Mr. Yogi, Kakaji Kahin, Sea Hawks, Antaral and Savdhaan India's second season.[22]

In 2014, he appeared opposite Helen Mirren in the comedy-drama The Hundred-Foot Journey.[13][20] At the time of his death in January 2017, he was working on the Marathi film, 15 August Bhagile 26 January.[23]

Several of his completed films released after his death including Viceroy's House and Tubelight.[24]

Personal life

Puri married Director/writer Seema Kapoor, the sister of actor Annu Kapoor, in 1991, but their marriage ended after eight months.[25]

In 1993, he married journalist Nandita Puri, with whom he had a son named Ishaan.[26][27] In 2009, Nandita wrote a biography of her husband titled Unlikely Hero: The Story Of Om Puri. Upon the book's publication, Puri spoke of his anger at the inclusion of explicit details of his previous relationships.[28] In 2013, Nandita filed an allegation of domestic violence against him, and the two opted for a judicial separation shortly afterwards.[29]

His second wife reported that they kept a "secular house",[30] but that "while Om is not ritualistic, he does not mind others being so".[30] He took "solace in spiritual reading", particularly in the writings of spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, many of whose books he shared with friends.[30] Puri seldom took politics seriously, and often found relaxation by cooking or gardening.[30] In an interview to Rajya Sabha TV in 2012, Om Puri spoke about his interest in agriculture and cooking, and suggested that his dream was to open a dhaba by the name Dal Roti.[31]


Wikinews has related news: Indian actor Om Puri dies

On 6 January 2017, Puri died at the age of 66, after having a heart attack at his residence in Andheri, Mumbai.[32][33][34] He was honoured at the 89th Academy Awards in memoriam segment for his contribution in Indian and world cinema.[35]

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1972 Ghashiram Kotwall Ghashiram Marathi film based on play Ghashiram Kotwal
1977 Godhuli
1977 Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane Kannada film
1977 Bhumika
1978 Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan Marxist man
1980 Aakrosh Lahanya Bhiku Won Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award
1980 Bhavni Bhavai Ketan Mehta
1981 Sadgati DuKhi
1982 Gandhi Nahari
1982 Vijeta Arvind
1982 Chann Pardesi Tulsi Punjabi film
1982 Arohan Hari Mondal Won, National Film Award for Best Actor
1983 Ardh Satya Anant Velankar Won, National Film Award for Best Actor

Won, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Best Actor

1983 Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro Ahuja
1983 Long Da Lishkara Dittu Punjabi film
1984 The Jewel in the Crown Mr De Souza English TV series
1984 Giddh Bhashya
1985 Mirch Masala Abu Mian
1985 Nasoor Dr Sunil
1985 Aghaat Trade Unionist
1985 Debshishu Poor Labourer NFDC production
1988 Ek Hi Maqsad Dr. Ram Kumar Verma
1988 Puravrutham Raman Malayalam movie
1988 Bharat Ek Khoj Various roles Doordarshan television series[36]
1988 Kakaji Kahin Netaji Hindi TV serial
1990 Ghayal ACP Joe D'Souza Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1991 Sam & Me Chetan Parikh
1991 Narsimha Suraj Narayan Singh 'Baapji'
1992 Maya Memsaab adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary
1992 City of Joy Hazari Pal English film adaptation of Dominique Lapierre's novel
1992 Ankuram Satyam Telugu film
1992 Current Velu
1992 Raat Sharji Hindi film
1993 In Custody Deven
1993 Patang Mathura
1994 Wolf Dr. Vijay Alezias English film
1994 Drohkaal DCP Abhay Singh
1994 Woh Chokri
1996 The Ghost and the Darkness Abdullah English film
1996 Maachis Sanatan Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1997 My Son the Fanatic Parvez English film

Won, Brussels International Film Festival Best Actor

1997 Chachi 420 Banwari lal-Secy
1997 Aastha Amar
1997 Gupt: The Hidden Truth Inspector Udham Singh Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1997 Mrityudand Rambaran Mahto
1998 Such a Long Journey Ghulam Mohamed English film
1998 Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha Inspector Khan Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1998 Vinashak - Destroyer Inspector Khan
1998 China Gate Col. Krishnakant Puri Hindi film
1999 East Is East George Khan English film

Nominated, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role

1999 A.K.47 Commissioner Yashwant Sinha Kannada film
2000 Pukar Colonel Hussein
2000 Hey Ram Subhash Goel
2000 Kunwara Balraj Singh
2000 Hera Pheri Khadak Singh
2000 Dulhan hum le jayenge Bhola Nath
2000 Ghaath Ajay Pandey
2001 Farz ACP Arjun Singh
2001 The Mystic Masseur Ramlogan English film
2001 Gadar: Ek Prem Katha Narrator
2001 The Zookeeper the Vet English film
2001 The Parole Officer George English film
2001 Bollywood Calling Subramaniam
2002 Awara Paagal Deewana Ballu Bolbachan
2002 Dhruva Kannada film
2002 Chor Machaye Shor
2002 White Teeth Samad English series adaptation of White Teeth by Zadie Smith
2003 Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai Sam
2003 Second Generation A British TV serial
2003 Code 46 Bahkland English film
2003 Maqbool Inspector Pandit
2003 Miss India: The Mystery Inspector Yograj
2003 Dhoop Father Of Dead Military Man
2004 Kyun! Ho Gaya Na...
2004 Aan: Men at Work Police Commissioner Khurana
2004 Lakshya Subedar Maj. Pritam Singh
2004 Yuva Prosonjit Bhatacharya
2004 King of Bollywood Karan Kumar Satire of the Indian Film Industry
2004 Dev Special Commissioner Tejinder Khosla
2005 Deewane Huye Paagal Don
2005 The Hangman Shiva
2005 Mumbai Xpress ACP S.P. Rao
2006 Rang De Basanti Amanullah Khan
2006 Malamaal Weekly Balwant 'Balu'
2006 Chup Chup Ke Prabhat Singh Chauhan
2006 Don: The Chase Begins Again CBI Officer Vishal Malik
2007 Fool & Final Father of Rahul / Raja
2007 Dhol Dadaji
2007 Buddha Mar Gaya Vidyut Baba / Vidya
2007 Charlie Wilson's War Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq English film
2008 Mere Baap Pehle Aap Madhav Mathur
2008 Kismat Konnection Sanjeev Gill
2008 Singh Is Kinng Rangeela
2008 Mukhbiir SP Intelligence — Rathod
2009 Billu Sahukaar Daamchand
2009 London Dreams Arjun's uncle
2009 Baabarr Daroga Chaturvedi
2009 Kurbaan Bhaijaan
2009 Delhi-6
2010 Khap Sarpanch
2010 Dabangg Police Inspector
2010 Na Ghar Ke Na Ghaat Ke Sankata Prasad Tripathi
2010 Action Replayy Rai Bhahadur
2010 West Is West George Khan English film
2011 Don 2: The King is Back CBI Officer Vishal Malik
2011 Bin Bulaye Baraati Sub Inspector Pralay Pratap Singh
2011 Love Express Khadak Singh Bakshi
2011 Teen Thay Bhai Chixie Gill
2012 Agneepath Additional Commissioner Gaitonde
2012 Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya Chowdhary
2012 Chaar Din Ki Chandni Fatoor Singh
2012 Chakravyuh Govind Suryavanshi
2012 OMG: Oh My God! Hanif Bhai
2012 Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal David
2013 Jatt Boys Putt Jattan De Jora Vailly Punjabi film
2013 Bhaji in Problem Punjabi film
2013 The Reluctant Fundamentalist Abu
2014 The Hundred-Foot Journey Papa Kadam English/French
2014 Heartless Dr. Sanjay Trehan
2014 Aa Gaye Munde U.K. De
2014 Chaar Sahibzaade Narrator Punjabi film
2015 Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan Dr. Rajendra Prasad Hindi
2015 Dirty Politics Laddu Babu aka Sai Kumar Konakandla Hindi
2015 Chapekar Brothers Bal Gangadhar Tilak[37] Hindi
2015 Bajrangi Bhaijaan Moulana Sahab Hindi
2015 Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho Matang Singh Hindi
2015 A Million Rivers Shiv English[38][39]
2015 Uvaa Hindi
2016 Ghayal Once Again ACP Joe D'Souza Hindi
2016 Aadupuliyattam Muni Malayalam

Nominated, IIFA Utsavam for Performance In A Supporting Role - Male

2016 The Jungle Book Bagheera Hindi dub[40]
2016 Actor In Law Rafaqat Mirza Pakistani film[41]
2016 Mirzya Munna (Lauhar) Hindi
2016 Chaar Sahibzaade: Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur Narrator (animated film) Punjabi, Hindi, English
2016 A Death in the Gunj O.P Bakshi English, Bengali
2017 The Ghazi Attack Admiral V.S. Nanda Hindi, Telugu
2017 Viceroy's House Noor English[42]
2017 Tubelight Banne Chacha posthumous release
2018 Lashtam Pashtam posthumous release
2018 Load Wedding post humous release, cameo to gave special tribute

Awards and nominations

  • 1981: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Aakrosh[1]
  • 1981: National Film Award for Best Actor (29th National Film Awards) for Arohan[43]
  • 1983: National Film Award for Best Actor (31st National Film Awards) for Ardh Satya[44]
  • 1984: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Best Actor for Ardh Satya
  • 1998: Brussels International Film Festival Best Actor for My Son the Fanatic
  • 1990: Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award[3]
  • 1998: Grand Prix Special des Amériques Montréal World Film Festival for exceptional contribution to the cinematographic art
  • 2004: Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to The British Film Industry[4]
  • 2009: Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2015: Lifetime Achievement Award International Film Festival of Prayag[45]
  • 1990: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Ghayal
  • 1997: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Maachis
  • 1998: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Gupt: The Hidden Truth
  • 1999: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha
  • 1999: BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for East Is East[46]
  • 2017: IIFA Utsavam for Performance In A Supporting Role - Male for Aadupuliyattam[47]

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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