Making his foray into cinema in the 1970s with substantial movies in India and internationally, late actor Om Puri, who would have celebrated his 68th birthday on October 18, was a versatile star whose journey from Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai in 1980 to Tubelight in 2017 changed the way Hindi cinema was perceived. Om Puri made his film debut in 1976 with the Marathi film, Ghashiram Kotwal and also acted in a Kannada movie, A.K. 47.
An alumnus of the prestigious National School of Drama, Om not only wowed the audience in mainstream Bollywood cinema but in Pakistani, British and Hollywood films as well. Born in Ambala, Haryana, to a Punjabi family, the Padma Shri awardee has films like Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992) to his credit.
Check out the list of some of his famous works here:
Ardh Satya (1983)
Ardh Satya is a 1983 movie directed by Govind Nihalani and one of the initial movies where Om Puri played a policeman. The film also stars Amrish Puri, Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, and Sadashiv Amrapurkar, and features a theme poem by the Marathi writer Dilip Chitre. The movie itself has considered as one of the best cop dramas, and the actor won a National award for his portrayal of Sub-Inspector, Anant Velankar.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)
No one can forget the dark satirical film, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, and its hilarious climax Mahabharata sequence. The movie starred brilliant actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Ravi Baswani, Satish Shah, Bhakti Barve, Pankaj Kapur, Neena Gupta and Satish Kaushik and turned out to be an epoch breaking film by director Kundan Shah. The movie won the National Award for the cult black comedy.
Ghayal has been one of the best 90s movies. The movie, which had Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Seshadri in the lead, also had Om Puri in the role of the good cop. Om Puri played the role of ACP Joe D’Souza, who tried his best to work within the system and do the right thing. The actor continued to play this role and won our hearts in the sequel, Ghayal Once Again.
This 1994 crime drama was one of the first movies to portray India’s fight with terrorism. The movie has Om Puri in the lead role along with Naseeruddin Shah. They both play the role of good and honest law enforces in the film. The movie also examines the mental and psychological trauma that honest police officers go through in their fight against terrorism.
Maqbool is a 2003 Vishal Bharadwaj drama based on play Macbeth by Shakespeare. The movie had Pankaj Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Masumeh Makhija in the lead role. However, the roles of Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah were that of one of the best-supporting characters. They played the comic role of corrupt police inspectors-cum-astrologers.
Actor In Law (2016)
This 2016 Pakistani socio-comedy marked the debut of Om Puri in the Pakistani film industry. Directed by Nabeel Qureshi, the movie has Om Puri as Rafaqat Mirza, the strict dad who wants his son to be a lawyer. The actor’s role in the film was highly appreciated.
Om Puri’s sudden demise on January 6, 2017, due to a massive heart attack came as a shocker to the Bollywood industry. He was 66 and was shooting for Salman Khan starrer Tubelight. The film was being directed by Kabir Khan, who had earlier cast Om Puri in a small yet significant role in Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
While Puri essayed a very progressive character of an Imam in Salman Khan – Kabir Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan, in Tubelight he was set to play a Muslim Gandhian. Apart from Tubelight, Om Puri also starred in British-Indian historical drama, Viceroy’s House, directed by Gurinder Chadha. The film released after his death in March 2017.