Om Puri’s passing away is untimely, unexpected and very shocking. His demise is a great loss not only to Indian cinema but to the world cinema too. He was a brilliant and a courageous actor who was never scared of playing non-mainstream roles, bringing sensitivity and humanity through his character play gave countless memorable performances in movies of diverse genres. He has done defining roles in art films such as Aakrosh, Arohan, Ardh Satya etc. He was a legendary, versatile actor who had not just made a name for himself in the Bollywood industry but internationally as well. He earned international fame through British films such as My Son the Fanatic, East Is East and The Parole Officer. He was quite an amazing man, very down to earth, coming from a very lower middle class family and breaking all the norms, despite his looks. He was recognised by his deep voice and intimidating presence.
Om Puri has rightly said that he had broken barriers with his acting by working in a Pakistani film called “Actor in Law,” which examined corruption and gender discrimination. He felt that Bollywood needs to create more social justice movies instead of pure entertainment cinema that lack a deeper message.
He was a versatile actor who could do any part with ease and was one of the finest and brilliant actors of India who can be fit perfectly in any role. His baritone voice, body language and his effortless ease in essaying complex roles made him a unique actor. If one sees his role in ‘Gandhi’ one finds that his appearance for just a couple of minutes has created a great impact. His work with Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani will always be remembered. We can even not forget his role as President Zia UL Haq of Pakistan in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” casting along with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In short, he was like water, taking the shape of every vessel he was put in. No one can step into his shoes.
Looking towards his successful journey in film industry one find that the strength of good actors lies not just in bringing author backed roles to life but in how they make their presence felt even in smaller roles and cameos. He was one of the greatest actor India has produced. His role of Lahanya Bhiku in film Aakrosh with his vacant eyes, gritty face and sheer intensity of presence revealed the tale of extreme oppression of the underprivileged, victimized tribal person. He was an actor, who had more than 100 films to his credits and was honoured with Padma Shri and two National Film Awards, during his acting career that stretched for more than four decades.
He was a great human being and has done some incredible work in international films and has been very much appreciated for his roles. Om Puri was a wonderful actor and a lovely person, warm and friendly. Achieving what Om Puri has achieved is really a phenomenal journey. It is great loss to Film industry and we will miss such a veteran actor but his work has now engraved in the history of universal film industry forever.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)