Script: Uttama Pandit

VO: Rashi Kapoor
Editing: Jitendra Kumar Jitu

Bollywood’s jewel Om Puri was born in Ambala to a Punjabi family. As he had no birth certificate or records, his family was unsure of his date and year of birth, however his mother told him he had been born two days after the Hindu festival Dussehra. When he began his schooling, his uncle chose 9 March 1950 as his “official” birthday, however as an adult when he moved to Bombay, Puri looked up when Dussehra was celebrated in 1950, to establish his date of birth as 18 October Puri graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He was also an alumnus of the 1973 class of National School of Drama where Naseeruddin Shah was a classmate. He made his film debut in the 1976 Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal, based on a Marathi play of the same name by Vijay Tendulkar. It was directed by K. Hariharan and Mani Kaul in cooperation with 16 graduates of the FTII. He has claimed that he was paid “peanuts” for his best work. Along with Amrish Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil, he was among the main actors who starred in what was then referred to as art films such as Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992). His personal life was not as smooth just like his career. Puri married Seema Kapoor, the sister of actor Annu Kapoor, in 1991, but their marriage ended after eight months. Again In 1993, he married journalist Nandita Puri, with whom he had a son named Ishaan. In 2009, Nandita wrote a biography of her husband entitled Unlikely Hero: The Story Of Om Puri. Upon the book’s publication, Puri spoke of his anger at the inclusion of explicit details of his previous relationships. In 2013, Nandita filed an allegation of domestic violence against him, and the two opted for a judicial separation shortly afterwards. A versatile artist, Puri became a key player in India’s art-house cinema scene in the 1980s and 1990s but achieved international fame for his roles in Hollywood films such as City of Joy, Wolf, and Charlie Wilson’s War. The actor has appeared in mainstream Bollywood cinema as well as Pakistani, British and Hollywood films. The actor has received an OBE , National Award as well as Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India. The actor successfully completed Viceroy’s House which is an upcoming British-Indian historical drama film directed by Gurinder Chadha. He had some 2017 releases like Tiger and a Pakistani film Actor In law. But the actor died, aged 66, after having a massive heart attack early on the morning of 6 January 2017 at his residence in Andheri. Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, a close friend of the actor, first confirmed the news of his death on Twitter. Yet Om Puri will be alive in the hearts of his audience and fans for a lifetime.

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