Veteran actor Om Puri passed away today morning at his Andheri residence after suffering a massive heart attack, around two and a half months after his 66th birthday.
Born in Haryana to a Punjabi family, Puri had an interesting story behind his birth. His parents had no records or papers of his birth. His mother could vaguely remember that he was born two days after that year’s Dussehra (a Hindu festival that marks the ending of Navratri). When Puri was enrolled in a school, his uncle ‘chose’ March 9, 1950 as his official birthday.
However, an adult Puri later sought the date of Dussehra in 1950 and changed his birth date to October 18.
The actor trained at National School of Drama and Film and Television Institute of India, before he made his debut in the 1972 Marathi film ‘Ghashiram Kotwal’. From 1972 to 2016, he has appeared in numerous Hindi and regional films, along with a number of American and British films. He had recently made his debut in Pakistani films with ‘Actor in Law’, a film by Naveel Qureshi. A few of his noted international films are ‘Wolf’, ‘The Ghost and The Darkness’ and ‘My Son The Fanatic’. His English TV series, ‘A Jewel In The Crown’ became pretty popular.
Puri will be remembered for choosing vivid and versatile characters. While he has appeared in critically acclaimed films like ‘Mirch Masala’, ‘Dharavi’, ‘Sadgati’, ‘Ardh Satya’ and has worked with the finest actors of Indian cinema, he believed he was paid ‘peanuts’ for his best work.
His personal life has never been flowery. He tied the knot with Seema Kapoor, actor Annu Kapoor’s sister, only to separate within a year. He later married Nandita Puri, who made allegations of domestic violence against him and they divorced in 2013. They have a son named Ishaan.
While their marriage was on, Nandita wrote a book on Puri which was titled ‘Unlikely Hero: The Story of Om Puri’.
His death marks the end of a glorious era. From his fellow co-stars to the present generation actors who admired his versatility, everyone in Bollywood is mourning the loss. We pray his soul to rest in peace. His contribution in the growth of Indian cinema will be cherished forever.