Why can’t we afford to forget Om Puri?
Veteran actor Om Puri passed away today morning after a massive heart attack. He was 66. Not only the whole of Bollywood was shocked with the sudden demise but the nation was also shell-shocked. His colleagues and friends took to twitter and expressed their grief. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the demise of the actor.
Om Puri was one of the most finest actors that the Indian film industry had. He performed in more 110 than films. With his powerful voice, brilliant improvisation and great observation skills Puri was popular in industry in no time.
For the following reasons, his death is a loss of an era in Indian cinema:
- A giant of parallel and new wave cinema, Om Puri delivered some stellar performances in Ardh Satya, Aakrosh and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron while being equally at home with Bollywood potboilers and Hollywood movies such as East Is East and City of Joy.
- Om Puri played a builder in ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, one of the most loved comedy films of all time. Addressing a range of issues like bureaucracy and corruption in politics and media, in the most hilarious manner, the film was a run of the mill comedy, loved by fans of Hindi cinema.
- Om Puri stunned the moviegoers with a story of a poor farmer who suffers under a cunning and cruel landlord , amidst rising Naxalism in the 60s. The film brought home his first National Award for Best Actor, which was very well deserved.
- He was awarded the Padmashri in 1990 and was made an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2004.
- Om Puri holds a host of awards for his contribution to the entertainment industry. His first award was Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award for Aakrosh in 1981. His other awards include National Film Award for best actor for Arohan, National Film Award for best actor for Ardh Satya, Brussels International Film Festival Best Actor for My Son the Fanatic, Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award among many others.
- He traversed from East to west and hit milestones in acting. Age did not slow him down. He was busy dabbling in multiple projects like ‘Viceroy’s House’, ‘Tubelight’ and ‘Manto’.
- In the UK, he was best known for playing Zaheed ‘George’ Khan, patriarch of the Khan family, in the 1999 comedy drama East Is East.It was a role that saw him nominated for a best actor Bafta.
- The veteran actor touched a million hearts by being the voice of Bagheera in one of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters in India, ‘The Jungle Book’.
- “There are two kinds of cinema — one is just for entertainment, the other touches your heart. Both have their own purpose,” Om Puri said. When he was chairman of the National Film Development Corporation, Om Puri was focused on encouraging meaningful films. The National School of Drama alumnus was also president of Cine and TV Artistes Association.
His comments on leaving the world have become a reality too soon. In one of his last interviews, which took place at a hotel on December 23, 2016, Om Puri said: “My contribution as an actor will be visible once I leave this world and the young generation, especially film students will watch my films.”
There’s a lot more that can be dug out of Om Puri’s career and his contributions not only to Indian cinema but worldwide. We respect his contributions and his demise is surely the end of an era but then his legacy will live on.