Veteran international and Bollywood actor Om Puri, who had turned 66 on October 18, passed away in Mumbai on January 6, 2016, of a heart attack in his Versova home. He was a legendary, versatile actor who had not just made a name for himself in the Bollywood industry but internationally as well. You will recognise him from international cinema such as “Wolf,” “West is West,” “Gandhi”, “East is East” and the more recent film, based on the novel by Richard Morais, “The Hundred-Foot Journey.” Here are some interesting facts about India’s truly international actor, Om Puri, who balanced Hollywood and Bollywood much before actors like Irrfan Khan and Freida Pinto came into the picture.
Here are some fun facts to know about the actor as we celebrate his birthday.
- Puri was born in Ambala, Haryana to a Punjabi Hindu family. His father worked in the Indian Railways and in the Army.
- Puri attended the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune as well as the National School of Drama, where Naseeruddin Shah was a fellow student—they are the few actors of their time who actually trained and hold degrees in the field of acting. The two friends have worked together in the following movies: “Exchange Offer,” “Bolo Raam,” “Maharathi,” “Shoot on Sight,” “Mere Baap Pehle Aap,” “Maqbool,” “Guru Mahaaguru,” “Hey Ram,” “China Gate,” “Droh Kaal,” “Triyacharitra,” “Such a Long Journey,” “Mirch Masala,” “Aghaat,” “Bahu Ki Awaaz,” “Paar,” “Holi,” “Party,” “Sparsh,” “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron,” “Ardh Satya,” “Mandi,” “Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai,” “Aakrosh,” “Godhuli,” “Shaayad,” and “Bhumika.”
- The actor was married to Nandita Puri but they separated in 2013. They have a son named Ishaan. Nandita accused the actor of domestic abuse, saying he beat her with a stick. Puri says the claims were unjustified but has kept silent for his son’s sake. He was previously married to Seema Kapoor.
- Puri’s film debut came in 1976 with the Marathi movie “Ghashiram Kotwal,” a film where he made virtually no money.
- Some of his most well-known art films include “Bhavni Bhavai,” “Mirch Masala,” “Dharavi,” “Ardh Satya,” “Sadgati.”
- You can see the actor alongside Helen Mirren in Oprah’s “The Hundred-Foot Journey.” Other popular contemporary movies include “Dirty Politics,” “Aastha: In the Prison of Spring,” “East is East,” ‘Lakshya,” “Ghayal,” “Chup Chup Ke,” “Don 2,” and “Malamaal Weekly.”
- He is the recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri award as well as National Film Awards.
- Puri is recognizable by his deep voice and intimidating presence.
- Puri says he has broken barriers with his acting by working in a Pakistani film called “Actor in Law,” which examines corruption and gender discrimination. The actor feels Bollywood needs to create more social justice movies instead of pure entertainment movies that lack a deeper message. He said that India and Pakistan should collaborate when it comes to movies.
- Om Puri has praised Narendra Modi and has blasted Sonia Gandhi for suggesting her son Rahul should be Prime Minister.
- The actor’s net worth is $20 million.