The versatile and gifted actor Om Puri passed away at his Andheri residence, following a massive heart attack on Friday (Jan 6, 2017). Arindam recalls a brief interaction with the actor, when he was working with the Times of India, in Bombay, in the mid-1980s. Here’s his tribute to the great actor.
Om Puri is no more. The news of his demise and images of his funeral shook me to the core. I had first met this great actor, on the cinema screens, like millions of his fans. In the mid-1980s, I was working in the Publishing Directorate of the Times of India, in Bombay. The talented and gifted Pritish Nandy was my boss.
Mahesh Bhatt, Aparna Sen, Rakhi Gulzar were Nandy’s friends. So was Puri. My interaction with him was brief. But the warmth of his persona, his mirth, enlivened the entire atmosphere. His endearing, child-like smile, touched one and all.
The parallel cinema had its sway in the 1980s. Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, and Naseeruddin Shah had captured the imagination of the audience then. We were students of Allahabad University, between 1976 and 1980. These great actors had a lasting influence on us. We were fortunate to have witnessed the surge of the Art films those days.
A gifted actor, Om Puri was a well-known name in Bollywood. He also acted in Pakistani, British films and in Hollywood.
The renowned TV serial on Doordarshan, Bharat Ek Khoj (based on Nehru’s Discovery of India), and his films, Ardh Satya, Aakrosh, Sadgati, Mirch Masala, Dharavi, Tamas and Bhavni Bhavai will always stay with me.
Born in Ambala, Punjab, His birth date was not known. It is said that his mother told him that he was born two days after Dusshera. It is believed that Om looked up the 1950 calendar and decided October 18 as his date of birth.
He was an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He also was in the 1973 batch of the National School of Drama, where Naseeruddin Shah was his batch mate.
A Padma Shri awardee, he won several awards. In 2004, he received the Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to The British Film Industry. In 2009, he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
He will live for many years both on the silver screen and the hearts and minds of his fans for a very long time. May the vivacious and gifted actor RIP!
Photos and videos from the internet.