Veteran Indian Actor Om Puri is a popular, well-known face in the world of Indian Cinema. Unlike many traditional Bollywood superstars, Om Puri’s contribution to the Indian film industry with movies like Ardh Satya, Aakrosh, East is East, Ghashiram Kotwal etc marks his acting journey with powerful accolades. His way to success is inspiring and an eye-opener to the struggles he faced in his lifetime; from being a railway officer’s son to a Padma Shri Awardee in 1990.
An alumnus of the National School of Drama, and classmate to renowned actor Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri made his acting debut in 1976 post which he took on Bollywood. Critically acclaimed for his performances in many unconventional roles in movies such as Aakrosh (1980); Disco Dancer (1982); Ardh Satya (1982); Zamana (1985); Maachis (1996); Gupt in (1997); Dhoop (2003), Om Puri established himself as a patron of art or off-beat cinema.
Today let’s take a look at a few things that Om Puri made us believe in:
The film industry is all about glamor, looks, and charm. Om Puri stands tall as an example of skill and talent winning overlooks despite a pockmarked face. We love what he said here: “I have no regrets at all. I have done quite well for myself. I don’t have a conventional face, but I have done well, and I am proud of it.”
What we can learn: Success doesn’t just depend on your external appearance, hard work and perseverance pay off in the long run.
2. Theater Connect:
Many actors start with theater in their struggle period and gradually move to the big screen. Many decide to stick to the theater even after tasting success in the industry. Om Puri found theater as his passion and continued alongside his mainstream acting.
“In theater, you have got to make the connect with your audience in the first three minutes. If you haven’t, you know you have almost lost them.”
What we can learn: Stay true to your roots and remember where you came from, and never lose vision of your niche in trying to master everything together.
3. New wave cinema:
He belonged to the cult of actors who are credited for bringing change in the new age cinema in the 1980s, alongside Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, and Smita Patil. He played an instrumental role in changing the way Bollywood films narrate stories.
“I feel even old people can do a nice love story, but here we don’t make that kind of films. In the West, such films are being made and they make a nice romance, which is more like compassion.”
What we can learn: Anybody can bring a change, all you need is determination and the will to continue your journey despite challenges.
4. Life Lessons:
The film industry often gets the blame for not encouraging radical thinking and unconventional acting. However, we are glad that this industry churned out talent like Mr. Om Puri, who not only broke a stereotype about good looks, but brought wisdom and thinking in creating great cinema as well.
“I don’t expect anything from anybody. When you grow old…Your days are gone; it is part of life.”
What we can learn: Don’t lose sight of your surroundings and accept change with an open heart. Nobody can force you to gulp down ugly truth if you have already made peace with it.
Om Puri’s versatility became his strongest attributes establishing him as one of the finest actors in Indian Cinema. Om Puri was the first Indian actor to get a lead role in a Hollywood film alongside Helen Mirren, produced by the famous Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. He has worked alongside many American and British producers for crossover films, East Is East being one of his finest performances.
Om Puri took interest in politics and social commentary and he kept abreast of happenings in the nation. Even recently he was in a controversy regarding his comments on the Uri attacks. But nothing ever came in his way of seeing the world through open eyes and create cinema that will forever stay in our hearts.