Om Puri, Acting Giant Of Ardh Satya And Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro Dies Of Heart Attack At 66

4 Comments
  1. Author
    aryan 3 years ago

    He was one of the most versatile actor of Hindi cinema liked his acting i Ghayal, Gupt, Maachis.
    RIP.

  2. sputnik 3 years ago

    RIP

    One of the best actors of Indian cinema. Loved him in many movies like JBDY, Ardh Satya, Mirch Masala, Ghayal, Droh Kaal, Maachis, Chachi 420, Hera Pheri and TV serials like Bharat Ek Khoj, Kakkaji Kahin, Mr.Yogi and Kirdaar.

    I don’t think he got the roles that he deserved for his acting talent.

  3. sputnik 3 years ago

    Tribute: Om Puri will forever live in our hearts

    A slightly sozzled Om Puri once knocked at my Kanpur hotel-room door. It was well past midnight. This is sometime mid-last year. By then his drunken stories had become kind of legendary, especially since his inebriated rant from activist Anna Hazare’s podium at Delhi’s Ram Lila Maidan in 2011. I was being super cautious. He knocked at the door yet again. And once more, before I opened. He sheepishly handed me a pack of cigarettes with one stick in it. “Beta, you’d left this behind,” he said, hugged, and left.

    Needless to add, those Om Puri drunken tales were noticeable exaggerations. No one builds a career with 300-plus acting credits over four decades, being a reckless alcoholic. Earlier that evening, we’d knocked back a bottle of whisky in his room, sitting with a local teetotaler friend of his, and here was Om, opening up about his buddies, and an ailing relative, talking to his first wife (Seema Kapoor), passing on the phone to his friend… It seemed like we’d known each other forever.

    Wholly unaware of his own greatness, you could tell, there wasn’t a false note in his personality, much like his performances. This childlike inability to separate his private from public life is what endeared Om to all, and also landed him in trouble on occasion – for one, the separation drama with his second wife (Nandita) that turned into a national joke.

    Still, at no point did he feel the need to fake gravitas that would’ve come so easily with a gravelly, booming voice like his, and a career so splendid for an unlikely, scrawny leading man, that he continued to confound contemporaries and audiences alike. Lalu Prasad famously compared Om’s pockmarked cheeks (from an early bout of small pox) to pot-holes in Patna. His success gave hope to countless actors who had only their talent, rather than physical beauty, to count on. And he achieved this through relentless hard work, as Naseeruddin Shah, fellow actor and former schoolmate at both the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), and National School of Drama (NSD), can’t tire of telling everyone. Om was the most determined boy in class.

    He masterfully applied tools of trade to script a resume so staggering in its range that it’s practically impossible to pigeonhole him as an actor, or encapsulate his filmography. “Intense” comes instantly to mind, because that’s how he boldly broke into the mainstream as playwright Vijay Tendulkar’s ‘angry young man’ in Govind Nihalani’s Ardh Satya (1983) – besides Nihalani’s Aakrosh (1980) before, and Tamas (1988) after. He swiftly oscillated between pucca art-house (Dharavi, Mirch Masala) to the puerile mainstream (as villain Baapji in Sunny Deol’s Narsimha, or Jimmy’s manager David Brown in Disco Dancer). He could seamlessly switch to comedy, of the sensible sort (Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Chachi 420), and OTT LOL (joining Priyadarshan’s troupe in Hera Pheri, Malamaal Weekly etc.). Stage was his forte, but he cracked television best (with The Jewel In The Crown, Bharat Ek Khoj; but more adorably as Kakaji in Kakaji Kahin).

    Basically, Om never saw himself as above anything. He was a secure, egoless artiste, often happy to play second fiddle, even in parallel cinema (Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai, Paar). How else do you explain that the first Indian actor to truly wow the British indie scene (My Son The Fanatic, and East Is East: genuine gems), or land roles in major Hollywood films (among others, as Zia-ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson’s War; more recently, lead in Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey’s lovely production, The Hundred-Foot Journey), was a thoroughly unpretentious, rustic Punjabi, who had nearly quit NSD because of an inferiority complex over his poor command in the English language. Ibrahim Alkazi, NSD’s illustrious director, held him back.

    Om was fine with a minute’s role in Richard Atttenborough’s Gandhi (1982). Naseer would settle for nothing but Gandhi’s part (he even declined Maulana Azad’s). Om incidentally featured in the Gandhi clip that eventually played at the Oscars. His turn as Hasan Ali opposite Patrick Swayze in Roland Joffe’s British-French production City Of Joy, firmly placed him on the international mart. He held both the Padmashree, and the OBE. As a child, Ambala-born Om grew up washing dishes at a local dhaba, often stealing coal from railway tracks to run the family kitchen. Only someone who’s shattered so many rules of gatekeepers guarding fame and success can walk and talk with such devil-may-care swagger in public and in private. He spoke as he saw. Sometimes, people just
    got him wrong. But that’s their problem.

    The last time I watched him on TV was as a co-panelist on Arnab Goswami’s News Hour, issuing unreserved apology for a remark on the professional nature of a job in the armed forces. He shouldn’t have said sorry. And he was still being humiliated. Some self-proclaimed nationalists take immense pride in insulting our national jewels. The video went mildly viral. This was not the farewell Om deserved. I think the opinionated, patriotic thugs, running deeply felt obituaries on TV news, owe him an apology. Yes, you too, Arnab.

    One of Om’s finest videos being circulated online after he passed away yesterday was the superb Ahuja/ D’Mello dead-body scene from Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. Let me add my favourite – of the drunk Inspector Velankar in Ardh Satya, slowly walking back into the police station, hammered, yet retaining his composure, clenching his fist inside his trouser pocket. Flying high, yet rooted to the surface. That was Om. Presciently speaking about how he infinitely feared disease over death, he said, “One day, suddenly, you’ll just learn that Om Puri neend mein chal basey. That’s how it will be.” That’s how it was.

    Tribute: Om Puri will forever live in our hearts

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