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Om Puri Biography – Legendry Actor of Indian Cinema, Childhood, Movies, Life Achievements & Age

Om Puri crossed International boundries with East is East.
 

Om puri was indeed one of the finest actors to have graced Indian cinema. He appeared in several mainstream commercial Indian films. His art surpassed International boundaries as he acted in British and American films along with independent films and art films. He was one of the most versatile actors and could fit into any genre with ease. In his legendary career spanning over four decades, he did a variety of roles and his contribution to Indian cinema is immense. Indian government acknowledged his impact in the field of art and awarded him  Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 1990.

NAME– Om Rakesh Puri

Birth date-18 October 1950 (age 66)

Died on- 6th January 2017

Nationality– Indian

Occupation– Actor

Years Active-1976- 2017

Spouse– Seema Kapoor (1991, marriage lasted eight months)

Nandita Puri (1993-2013)

Children– Ishaan

Early Days of Om Puri

BIRTH

A young Om Puri.

A young Om Puri.

Om Puri was born in Ambala (then in Punjab, now in Haryana) to a Punjabi family. Though the official date of his birth is believed to be 18 October 1950, there is a dispute regarding its date. There is no official certificate or record for it. His family was confused about the year he was born. It could be either 1949 or 1950. His mother often told him that he was born two days after Dusshera (Hindu festival).

Later, when he started his schooling his Mama Ji (maternal uncle) chose 9th March as his birth date. Many years later in 1976, when he came to Bombay he gave himself a new birth date, 18th October 1950 (two days after Dusherra that year).

FAMILY

Om Puri with Nandita Puri and Ishaan.

Om Puri with Nandita Puri and Ishaan.

Om Puri’s father was Tek Chand Puri and his mother’s name was Tara Devi. He was the youngest of nine brothers and sisters. Only he and his elder brother Ved Prakash survived while rest of them passed away in childhood. His grandfather, Sheo Prasad was a cloth merchant in Ambala while his father, Tek Chand worked in the railways and in the Indian Army.

Om Puri married twice in his life. First, in 1991, he married Seema Kapoor, the sister of actor Annu Kapoor. Unfortunately, their marriage ended after eight months.

He married again in 1993. This time it was a journalist named journalist Nandita Puri. He also had a son with her named Ishaan. Nandita wrote a biography of Om Puri entitled Unlikely Hero: The Story Of Om Puri in 2009. Nandita filed an allegation of domestic violence against him in 2013 and the separated shortly afterward.

EDUCATION

Om Puri did his schooling from a government school in Sanaur (near Patiala). In 1967, he joined Khalsa college in Patiala to pursue his graduation (in arts). During this time he gave tuition and worked as a clerk with a lawyer to earn his livelihood. He uses to take part in college plays. On one occasion he left his job to take part in a college play. After that, he got a job in his college as a lab assistant.

He graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He also attended the 1973 class of National School of Drama (NSD) where Naseeruddin Shah was a co-student.

ACTING CAREER (1976-2017)

FILMS

In his long and illustrious career, Om Puri did several films. His debut happened in 1976, in a Marathi film, Ghashiram Kotwal. It was based on a Marathi play by Vijay Tendulkar. It was directed by Mani Kaul and  K. Hariharan. Om Puri famously revealed that he received peanuts for his most famous work as payment. For the next four years he dis some regional and Bollywood films.

A still from Ardh Satya.

A still from Ardh Satya.

By 1980 his stature was slowly rising in the industry. During the 80’s he starred in many classic art films along with other famous actors such as Naseeruddin Shah,  Amrish Puri, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil.  Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992) were some of his notable films which made his presence felt in the industry. He was continuously developing as an actor.

Om Puri in China gate.

Om Puri in China gate.

One of his strongest assets was the way he would fit into unconventional roles. He played the role of a victimized tribal in Aakrosh (1980) which was a critically acclaimed film and he won the best supporting actor award for it. He played the role of Jimmy’s manager in  Disco Dancer (1982),  a police inspector in Ardh Satya (1982) for which he won the National award for best actor. He played the leader of a cell of Sikh militants in Maachis (1996), a cop in Gupt (1997) , retired army officer in China Gate (1998) and courageous father of a martyred soldier in Dhoop (2003). All these roles brought him praise from audiences and critics alike.

Om Puri crossed International boundries with East is East.

Om Puri crossed International boundaries with East is East.

In 1999, he did a Kannada movie, AK 47. He again played the role of a cop in this movie who fights the underworld. It was a huge commercial success. He gave his own voice for the dialogues in Kannada even though it was not his mother tongue. Later that year Puri starred in a British comedy  East is East, in which he played a first-generation Pakistani immigrant in England who is struggling to accept the westernization of his children.

He had a cameo in the worldwide acclaimed movie Gandhi (1982). During the mid 90’s he started doing roles which would attract huge audiences rather than critics. He was an immediate success among the masses.

His fame crossed international boundaries with films such as My Son the Fanatic (1997) and  The Parole Officer (2001), which were British movies. He stamped his authority in Hollywood by acting in  City of Joy (1992)Wolf (1994) and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996).

Om Puri was very successful in comical roles as well.

Om Puri was very successful in comical roles as well.

Known for his versatility as an actor, Om Puri did many comic roles as well and became hugely popular. Movies like  Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)Chachi 420 (1997)Hera Pheri (2000), Chor Machaye Shor (2002)Malamaal Weekly (2006) , Singh Is Kinng (2008), Mere Baap Pehle Aap (2008) and Billu (2009) established him as one of the best comic actors of the time.

He also acted in 2011 Bollywood movie, Don 2 starring Shahrukh Khan and in 2015 Bajrangi Bhaijaan with Salman Khan.

In his latest project, Om Puri was shooting for an upcoming Bollywood movie Tubelight starring Salman Khan.

TELEVISION

The veteran actor also acted on the small screen (Television). He did some popular shows. He acted in  Hindi television serials like Kakkaji Kaheen (1988) and  Mr. Yogi (1989). These two serials gave the first glimpse of Puri’s comical talent to the world. His other television appearances include the second season of Indian horror television series Aahat, Yatra, Bharat Ek Khoj, Antraal, Sea Hawks and Saavdhan India. In 2014 he acted in a comedy drama,  The Hundred-Foot Journey.

AWARDS

  • 1981: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Aakrosh
  • 1981: National Film Award for Best Actor (29th National Film Awards) for Arohan
  • 1983: National Film Award for Best Actor (31st National Film Awards) for Ardh Satya
  • 1984: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Best Actor for Ardh Satya
  • 1998: Brussels International Film Festival Best Actor for My Son the Fanatic
  • 1990: Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award
  • 1998: Grand Prix Special des Amériques Montréal World Film Festival for exceptional contribution to the cinematographic art
  • 2004: Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to The British Film Industry
  • 2009: Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2015: Lifetime Achievement Award International Film Festival of Prayag

DEATH

Om Puri died of heart attack on 6th January 2017 in Mumbai. He was 66 years old.

Holds a Bachelor degree in English Hons. and is pursuing animation which has been his childhood dream.He has a keen interest in writing and unlocking various aspects about different fields of education

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