Om Puri, the legendary actor who left the world on 6th January 2017, would have turned 67 today. Born on 18th October 1950, he was one of the rare actors of Indian film industry who used to breathe life into his characters. Right from comedy to tragedy and from suspense to drama, there was hardly any genre that he didn’t excel at.
The veteran actor was known for his intense, gripping roles that he portrayed with so much of ease that it was pure magic on the screen. Born as an introvert in a small village, Puri believed in the power of art and theatre to raise questions on socio-political conditions.
Juggling between various odd jobs at tea stalls and dhaaba, Puri never had the typical look of a filmy hero. However, his studies at National School of Drama and the Film and Television Institute of India made him realize that he wanted to make a career in cinema.
Fighting against all odds, Om Puri successfully proved his mettle as an actor. Not just in commercial cinema, the actor was impeccable in any role he picked whether it was theatre, art movies, or the non-Indian movies made in Britain, Pakistan, and Hollywood.
On his birth anniversary, let’s turn the pages and skim through some of the unforgettable performances of the actor.
Source: Zee News
Aakrosh is a story about a low-caste peasant whose life is made miserable by his landlord. The character of Bhiku, played by Om Puri doesn’t talk much. He was just an angry, helpless man with quiet desperation who expressed his feelings by being violent. His wife’s molestation and suicide followed by his sister’s vulnerable situation leaves him devastated. He keeps fighting for justice but ends up ruining everything. The actor’s work is impressive and captivating.
Ardh Satya (1983)
In this masterpiece, Om Puri is seen as a policeman who is not just fighting his own demons but is also avenging the politicians misusing their power. While getting involved in the fight against corruption he realizes that he is being trapped in a trap where he is likely to lose control of himself.
However, instead of showing a typical filmy drama of a hero, the character is shown struggling through the situation in a very realistic setup and that’s what makes Om Puri an outstanding actor. He won the National Film Award for the Best Actor for this role.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983)
Source: Mid Day
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron was a cult classic narrating a story full of intelligent, dark humor. It was a satire revolving around politics, business and media. The film had an ensemble cast of legendary actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Pankaj Kapur, Neena Gupta, Satish Shah, Bhakti Barve, and many others.
However, that didn’t stop Om Puri from showing his talent through the portrayal of a shady, villainous builder who is corrupt and evil. There is a scene in the movie where all the characters reach the stage where a Mahabharata play is going on. The comic timing, expressions, and chaos created by the actors are just phenomenally epic.
East is East (1999)
Source: Rare Film
It’s a British comedy-drama that revolves around George Khan (Om Puri) who gets married to a British woman Ella. The couple has 7 kids. However, the family is subjected to constant conflicts and drama when father George wants his children to adapt to Pakistani culture.
Born and brought up in Britain, the kids consider themselves as British and express disinterest in acknowledging the Pakistani lifestyle of arranged marriage. Puri bagged a BAFTA nomination for the lead role in the film. Although the actor didn’t get the award, the film received a BAFTA for Best British Film and was declared Best Comedy Film at the British Comedy Awards.
Chachi 420 (1997)
Source: Bollywood Bee
Yet another classic comedy film Chachi 420 had a pool of talent with the presence of actors like Kamal Hassan, Amrish Puri, Om Puri, Paresh Rawal and Tabbu. Even though Om Puri wasn’t the lead, his character of Banwarilal with a constant expression of suspicion and confusion served as an additional dose of laughter.
In every scene that he made an appearance, he made sure to leave the audience in splits. He kept asking so many questions and kept swearing on his cellular phone. Despite being a light-hearted movie, it’s a rare masterpiece that gave us such amazing memories.