Bollywood veteran Om Puri passes away

PM, Sonia, Mamata condole death
Report by: 
6 Jan 2017

Veteran actor Om Puri, known for his unforgettable performances in cinema classics like "Ardh Satya", "Aakrosh" and "City of Joy", passed away at his residence here this morning after a massive heart attack.

The 66-year-old actor is survived by estranged wife Nandita and son Ishsan. "I am in shock right now. It's unbelievable. He passed away around 6-6.30 am. He was lying on the kitchen floor," Nandita told news agency PTI. "I can't talk now. I am at Cooper hospital for the postmortem," she further said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Puri's demise and recalled his long career in theatre and films. Apart from winning several accolades, including two National Awards for "Arohan" and "Ardh Satya", he was honoured with the Padmi Shri, the country's fourth highest civilian award in 1990. Hailing from Ambala in Haryana, Puri studied at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. He was also an alumnus of the 1973 class of the National School of Drama, where Naseeruddin Shah was a fellow student.

The actor, known for his versatility and power-packed performances, made his film debut in 1976 with the Marathi film "Ghashiram Kotwal" and went on to act in several Indian, Pakistani, British and Hollywood mainstream commercial films. From Bollywood to Hollywood, from independent to art films, Puri gave several acclaimed performances. A critically acclaimed actor, Puri featured in films like "Ardh Satya", "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron", "Mirch Masala", "Aakrosh", "Paar", "Maachis" and others. His other notable films include "Bhavni Bhavai", "Sandgate, "Dharavi", "Gupt", "Dhoop", "Yuva", "Don" and "Agneepath". More recently, he was seen in movies like the Salman Khan-starrer "Bajrangi Bhaijaan", and "Ghayal Once Again".

Puri earned international fame with films like "The Hundred Foot Journey", "City of Joy", "Gandhi", "The Reluctant Fundamentalist", "Charlie Wilson's War" and "East Is East".

The veteran actor also had an impressive body of work on television, starring in projects like "Bharat: Ek Khoj", "Mr Yogi", "Kakaji Kahin", "Rishte", "Aahat", "Safar", "Sea Hawks", "White Teeth" and "Canterbury Tales". Tributes poured in for Om Puri with a galaxy of political leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi condoling the demise of the veteran actor, saying the film industry has lost a pillar. The Prime Minister recalled Puri's long career in theatre and films, while Sonia Gandhi remembered him as a versatile actor. "Om Puri was a gifted actor and socially conscious human being... Indian film industry has lost a pillar," Gandhi said and prayed for peace and strength to his family and admirers.

Describing him as one of the finest talents of Indian cinema and theatre, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said: "Mr Om Puri will live on through the many unforgettable characters he brought to life." West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: "His acting skills were appreciated around the world. Condolences to family, friends' fraternity."  Punjab Congress President and former chief minister Amarinder Singh said he was "deeply saddened to hear about sudden demise of veteran actor Om Puri. Condolences to the family".