Bollywood superstar Om Puri breathed his last on Friday morning at the age of 66 due to a heart attack in Mumbai, according to Indian media.
Hearing the news, the entire film fraternity got down at his residence to pay condolences to his family and to be present for his last rites which was performed in the evening.
Born on October 18, 1950, hailing from Ambala in Haryana, Om Puri made his film debut in 1976 with the Marathi film ‘Ghashiram Kotwal’.
Puri had been an advocate of peace between India and Pakistan, which had earned him criticism from the extremist elements within India. He had received threats from rightist groups in India after he said in a live debate fresh after the Uri attacks, “We didn’t force the soldiers to join the army.”
A critically acclaimed actor, Puri featured in films like ‘Ardh Satya’, ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, ‘Aakrosh’, ‘Mirch Masala’ and many others. More recently, he was seen in the movies, ‘Dabangg’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and ‘Ghayal Once Again’.
The superstar, who had received immense praise throughout his career for starring in stellar Bollywood hits, had worked in as many as 70 Bollywood flicks and TV serials.
Indian filmmaker, social activist and a close friend of the deceased actor, Ashoke Pandit took to his Twitter account to announce the tragic news.
Om Puri has had the distinction of being a Bollywood actor who has not only worked in the Indian film industry and Hollywood but also in a Pakistani movie. Om Puri had worked in Aakrosh, Maachis, Dirty Politics, Bhavni Bhavai, Mirch Masala and Dharavi.
Om Puri had returned home Thursday evening after a shoot and didn’t answer his door bell in the morning. His driver then raised an alarm. Puri’s body was taken to Cooper hospital for postmortem.
Puri was a veteran of Bollywood cinema and also appeared in Pakistani film Actor In Law last year. He visited Pakistan frequently, being an ardent supporter of Pak-India cultural collaborations and was a regular fixture on the film and literary festival circuit in Pakistan.
He said of his experience of filming Actor In Law in Pakistan, “I really like working in Pakistan, because I’m pampered a lot here. I keep responding to people’s salaams from morning to night. So many people want to throw me a dinner party at their house. And everyone wants a selfie.”
He continued, “I’ve known Pakistanis abroad for about 20 years. I have always received love from them, so much so that it’s hard to believe that there are conflicts between our two countries. I pray that we find our way to peace and both countries work towards progress, friendship and trade.”
Puri also played several Pakistani characters in British and Hollywood films, from the iconic role of George Khan in British dramedies East is East and West is West to President Zia-ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson’s War.
He was last seen in Manoj Sharma’s Yeh Hai Lollipop.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has expressed sorrow over demise of veteran Bollywood star Om Puri who passed away after a heart attack in Mumbai on Friday. He was 66 years old.
Paying homage to the acclaimed actor, the Prime Minister said that Om Puri delivered some stellar performances in mainstream commercial Pakistani, Indian movies and elevated the status of Indian Cinema through his natural talent.
The Prime Minister said that late Om Puri made significant contribution in linking the cultural ties between India and Pakistan and refused to succumb to the pressure of anti peace lobbies.
The Prime Minister prayed on behalf of the people and government of Pakistan for patience and forbearance for the family of Om Puri to bear this irreparable loss.—Agencies