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Om Puri: Acting giant who traversed both East and West

Puri won the National Film Award for best actor for his role in the 1982 film Ardh Satya

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Om Puri
File photo of veteran actor Om Puri

A giant of parallel and new wave cinema, delivered some stellar performances in Ardh Satya, Aakrosh and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron while being equally at home with potboilers and movies — the latter of which included gems like East Is East and City of Joy.

Puri passed away on January 6, 2017, from a massive heart attack.

With his instantly recognisable rich baritone and chameleon-like ability to transform on-screen, 66-year-old Puri was as at ease playing an angst-laden police officer in Ardh Satya as he was in the comic role of corrupt builder Ahuja in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.

He was a major face for the parallel cinema movement alongside his contemporaries Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil; working collectively in some of the biggest Indian classics like Bhumika, Aakrosh, Sparsh, Bhavni Bhavai, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai, Mirch Masala, Sadgati, Arohan, Ardh Satya and Mandi.

The actor, who starred in around 300 movies, won the National Film Award for best actor for his role as a police inspector in the 1982 film Ardh Satya. He also received the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India in the year 1990.

After the end of the art cinema movement, Puri shifted to mainstream cinema where he did memorable character roles while continuing to give noteworthy performances in films like Vijeta, Ghayal, Droh Kaal, Maachis, Ghatak: Lethal, Chachi 420, Khoobsurat, Pukar, Hera Pheri and Dev.

Puri also appeared in the 2015 Salman Khan movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan, where he played the part of a progressive imam who protects Bajrangi and Munni from the Pakistani security forces and offers them refuge at the madrassa he teaches in.

After Bajrangi Bhaijaan, he teamed up with Salman and Kabir Khan again in Tubelight, which is expected to release on Eid 2017.

The actor was recently in the line of fire owing to his comments on Indian soldiers following the Uri attack.

First Published: Fri, January 06 2017. 12:39 IST
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