Om Puri, One Of India's Most Versatile And Celebrated Actors, Dies Of Heart Attack At 66

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Om Puri, One Of India's Most Versatile And Celebrated Actors, Dies Of Heart Attack At 66

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Actor Om Puri died of a heart attack at his home in Mumbai. He was 66.

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. PM Modi condoles Om Puri's death
  2. He starred in films like 'Ardh Satya' and 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron'
  3. The actor, a national award winner, won the Padma Shri in 1990
Om Puri, one of the most versatile and celebrated actors in India, died of a heart attack in Mumbai on Friday. He was 66.

Over an illustrious career spanning four decades, Om Puri acted in over 250 films, his popularity transcending borders and stereotypes.

Anupam Kher, a long-time friend of Om Puri who acted with him in many films and was also known to disagree with him publicly, was among the first to arrive after news of the actor's death. He said he had last spoken to Om Puri two days ago.

"Seeing him lying on his bed looking so calm can't believe that one of our greatest actors Om Puri is no more. Deeply saddened and shocked," tweeted Mr Kher.
 
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The actor was awarded the Padma Shri in 1990.

Born in Ambala, Haryana, to a Railway officer, Om Puri studied at Pune's famous Film and Television Institute of India. He was also in the class of 1973 at the National School of Drama, where Naseeruddin Shah was a fellow student.

Om Puri debuted in the 1976 Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal, based on a play by Vijay Tendulkar.
 
om puri helen mirren

Om Puri with his The Hundred Foot Journey co-star Helen Mirren.


Om Puri debuted in the 1976 Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal, based on a play by Vijay Tendulkar.

He rose to fame with groundbreaking films like Ardh Satya, Aakrosh and Paar. His popularity straddled mainstream films and what was described in the 1980s as parallel cinema. Fans on Twitter referred to his iconic roles in films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and Maachis.

Om Puri, along with Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil, were among the critically-acclaimed actors who featured in award-winning films like Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992).

He played a notable cameo in Richard Attenborough's 1982 epic "Gandhi". In the 1990s, he ventured into commercial films that catered to the masses rather than critics. He explained the shift in his autobiography: "Though I did try to resist commercial films for quite some time, I succumbed to it finally as money was equally important as art."

But, he added, "as an artist I never compromised on what I had to do on-screen, even if the film was not up to the standard."
 
om puri 650

One of Om Puri's most memorable performances was in the film Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.

Over the years, Om Puri carved a niche in American and British productions. He also acted in a Pakistani film.

He starred in the 1999 Bafta-winning comedy "East is East" as a fish-and-chip shop owner who struggles to get his British family to follow strict Pakistani customs.

His Hollywood outings include City of Joy (1992) with Patrick Swayze, Wolf (1994) with Jack Nicholson and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) with Val Kilmer. He played General Zia-ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson's War, which stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

He was sometimes in the headlines for the wrong reasons, such as an acrimonious split from his wife Nandita Puri. In October, he landed in a controversy over his comments on soldiers after 19 were killed in an attack on an army base in Kashmir.

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