One of the finest actors of the Hindi film industry, Om Puri, passed away this morning at the age of 66, after suffering a massive heart attack. With the sad demise of this veteran actor, an era of cinematic excellence has come to an end. One of the most celebrated actors and a powerhouse of talent, Om Puri was a versatile actor, who not only became an important part of Indian Arthouse cinema scene in the 1980s and 90s, but was also critically acclaimed for his roles in Hollywood films like City of Joy, Wolf, and Charlie Wilson’s War. Not just for Hindi Film industry, it’s a big loss for Theatre as well.
In his illustrious career spanning over four decades, Om Puri acted in close to 250 films, including his work in Hollywood and regional cinema. His talent knew no boundaries. He was equally popular and respected in Marathi cinema as in Hindi films. Be it a comedy (Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and Hera Pheri) or a serious drama, Om Puri has done justice to each and every role offered to him. Starting his career with Marathi films, he became an integral part of the path-breaking art cinema through the 80s, along with Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Aazmi.
The veteran actor was born in 1950 in a Punjabi family living in a small town of Haryana. He passed out from the illustrious National School of Drama with his classmates that included Naseeruddin Shah and starred in non-commercial films at the start of his career. Though he started with Marathi films in the 1970s, he became popular in Hindi films in the 80s. He won the National Award for his film “Ardh Satya” in 1983, in which he played an honest cop who fought systemic corruption and the nexus between politicians and the police. During this time he delivered many meaningful films like Sadgati, Mirch Masala, Aakrosh, and Dharavi. He will always be remembered for his iconic comic roles in films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and Maachis. Among his notable works in International cinema, films like Gandhi, City of Joy (1992) with Patrick Swayze, Wolf (1994) with Jack Nicholson and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) with Val Kilmer, and Charlie Wilson’s War with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, deserve special mentions.
This immensely talented actor will always be remembered for his outstanding performances and contribution to cinema.