Veteran actor Om Puri passed away this morning, at the age of 66, due to a heart attack, at his residence in Mumbai. He was one of the most brilliant actors the industry has ever seen. Apart from starring in several Bollywood films, Om Puri played numerous acclaimed roles in the British film industry, Hollywood, and independent films. He was an alumnus of the National School of Drama, batch of 1973, along with fellow actor Naseeruddin Shah. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1990, the fourth highest civilian award in India, and an honorary OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his contribution to the British film industry in 2004.
With his passing, the industry has indeed suffered a great loss. He will definitely be remembered for his iconic performances, however. Let’s have a look at some of the best roles of Om Puri and remember his brilliance on this day.
#5 Maqbool (2004)
Directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, this movie was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. With Irrfan Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Tabu, and Om Puri in lead roles, this award winning critically acclaimed movie saw one of the best roles of Om Puri, playing a police officer. In a movie that was brilliantly adapted, directed, and performed, Om Puri as the corrupt and comical Inspector Pandit delivered, without a doubt, one of his best performances.
#4 My Son the Fanatic (1998)
Based on Hanif Kureishi’s short story, My Son the Fanatic has Om Puri playing the role of Pakistani-born Parvez who had been a cab driver in the North of England for several years. A struggling family, Parvez tries to make the best of everything and is overjoyed with a successful marriage alliance for his son. However, it all falls apart when his son, under the influence of radical Islamic fundamentalists, calls off the wedding, and Parvez ends up having an affair with a prostitute, who is played by Rachel Griffiths. Yet again, Om Puri delivered a stellar performance.
#3 Aakrosh (1980)
Directed by Govind Nihalani, this was another film which saw the duo of Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah together. Here, Shah plays an advocate who was defending a man (Om Puri) accused of murdering his own wife. As the advocate tries to encourage his client to confide in him, he wittingly puts his own life in danger. One of the best roles of Om Puri, he received the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor, while Shah received the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. An iconic movie of the industry, this is a must-watch for all Puri fans.
#2 East is East (1999)
This award-winning movie saw Om Puri in the role of George Khan, a Pakistani, who is married to Ella Khan, a quintessential British woman. The movie resonates with a tragi-comedy authenticity as it follows George Khan’s various attempts at inculcating traditional Pakistani Muslim values in his six children. Puri played the role of the rigid and violent George Khan impeccably as Khan tried to negotiate the cultural boundaries and assimilation between Pakistan and Britain.
#1 Ardh Satya (1983)
Probably the best performance of Om Puri was delivered when he was playing the role of Sub-Inspector Anant Velankar in Ardh Satya. Another Govind Nihalani creation, this movie follows the story of Velankar, who was forced to join the police force by his father. He was soon caught between his strong belief in his own ideals and the deep-seated widespread corruption in the police force, and its foothold in politics. Om Puri was awarded the National Film Award for Best Actor for his role here. Ardh Satya was a film seeped in reality, an embodiment of hard-hitting cinema, and in a role that was tailor-made for Om Puri, he delivered the performance of a lifetime.