Actor Om Puri Had Roles In More Than 300 Movies During His Life

Jan 8, 2017
Originally published on January 8, 2017 5:26 pm
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now we're going to take a few minutes to mark the passing of an artist you've probably seen many times without even realizing it. Indian actor Om Puri worked in short films, TV series and hundreds of movies including "Gandhi."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GANDHI")

OM PURI: (As Nahari) Here. Eat, eat. I'm going to hell, but not with your death on my soul.

MARTIN: Om Puri died Friday at the age of 66 in Mumbai. NPR's Andrew Limbong has this appreciation.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: If you didn't recognize his scene in "Gandhi," maybe you caught him as the strict patriarch in the 1999 British movie "East Is East."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "EAST IS EAST")

PURI: (As George Khan) You've been married to me 25 years and know nothing?

LIMBONG: Or as a thoughtful, empathetic policeman in the acclaimed Bollywood movie "Ardh Satya."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ARDH SATYA ")

PURI: (As Sub-Inspector Anant Velankar, speaking in foreign language).

LIMBONG: Or more recently maybe you saw him working alongside Helen Mirren in 2014's "The Hundred-Foot Journey."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY")

PURI: (As Papa) You seduced his mind with your awful, tasteless, empty sauces, with your pitiful little squashed bits of garlic.

LIMBONG: Om Puri was game to do all sorts of movies ranging from arthouse to more commercial works. He told WHYY's Fresh Air in 2000 that he treated all of them with equal respect.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

PURI: Like going on the set on time. But our stars are quite notorious. I mean, they don't show up on time. This is, you know, something which is very, very annoying.

LIMBONG: Om Puri was born in a small town in 1950. His father was in the military, and he wanted to be a soldier, too, until he got to college and started acting in socially relevant plays.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

PURI: I was very shy and very reserved as a child, very, very introvert. And I think somewhere I feel that by acting in those social plays, those plays were giving voice to my emotions.

LIMBONG: And it was a voice that earned him honors from both British and Indian governments along with fans around the world. Andrew Limbong, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.