Om Puri

Om Puri
Om Puri

Puri at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
Born 18 October 1950 (1950-10-18) (age 61)
Ambala, Haryana, India
Occupation Actor
Years active 1976 – present
Spouse Seema Kapoor (1906–2009, divorced) Nandita Puri

Om Puri (Hindi: ओम पुरी, Punjabi: ਓਮ ਪੂਰੀ, born 18 October 1950) is an Indian actor who has appeared in both mainstream Indian films and art films. His credits also include appearances in British and American films. He has received an honorary OBE.


Early life

Puri was born in Ambala, Haryana and spent the early part of his life living with his maternal uncle in Sanaur (Patiala), Punjab, India. He graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India. He is also an alumnus of the 1973 class of National School of Drama where Naseeruddin Shah was a co-student.[1]

Om Puri in 2011


Puri has worked in numerous Indian films and also in many films produced in the United Kingdom and the United States. He made his film debut in the 1976 film Ghashiram Kotwal, a film based on a Marathi play of the same name. He has claimed that he was paid "peanuts" for his best work.[2] He has collaborated in many films with Amrish Puri as well as Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil in art films such as Bhavani Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992).

He has also been active in Punjabi cinema. In the 1980s, Puri also made two highly successful Punjabi films called Chan Pardesi (1980) and Long Da Lishkara (1986). After nineteen years, Puri returned to Punjabi cinema with the film Baghi (2005). He recently acted in another Punjabi film, Gurdas Mann's Yaariyan (2008).

He was critically acclaimed for his performances in many unconventional roles such as a victimized tribal in Aakrosh (1980) (a film in which he spoke not a single line of dialogue, save for during flash-back sequences), Jimmy's manager in Disco Dancer (1982), a police inspector in Ardh Satya (1982), where he revolts against life-long social, cultural and political persecution and for which he got the National Film Award for Best Actor, the leader of a cell of Sikh militants in Maachis (1996), as a tough cop again in the commercial film Gupt in 1997, and as the courageous father of a martyred soldier in Dhoop (2003).

In 1999, Puri acted in a Kannada movie A.K. 47 as a strict police officer who tries to keep the city safe from the underworld which went on to become a huge commercial hit. Puri's acting in the movie is very memorable. He has rendered his own voice for the Kannada dialogues. In the same year, he starred in the successful British comedy film East is East, where he played a first generation Pakistani immigrant in the north of England, struggling to come to terms with his far more westernised children.

Puri also had a cameo in the highly acclaimed film Gandhi (1982, directed by Richard Attenborough). In the mid 1990s, Puri diversified to play character roles in mainstream Hindi cinema, where his roles are more tuned to mass audiences than film critics. He also became known internationally for starring in many British films such as My Son the Fanatic (1997), East is East (1999) and The Parole Officer (2001). As well as these he appeared in Hollywood films including City of Joy (1992), opposite Patrick Swayze; Wolf (1994) alongside Jack Nicholson and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) opposite Val Kilmer. In 2007, he appeared as General Zia-Ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson's War, which stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

He has also worked in Hindi television serials like Kakkaji Kaheen (1988) (roughly meaning "Uncle says") as a paan-chewing 'Kakkaji', which was a parody on politicians and Mr. Yogi (1989) as a suave 'Sutradhaar' who enjoys pulling the protagonist's leg. These two serials underlined Om Puri's versatility as a comedian. He received critical acclaim for him performance in Govind Nihalani's television film Tamas (1987) based on a Hindi novel of the same name. He also essayed comic roles in Hindi films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro which reached a cult status, followed by Chachi 420 (1997), Hera Pheri (2000), Chor Machaye Shor (2002) and Malamaal Weekly (2006).

His more recent Hindi film roles include Singh Is Kinng, Mere Baap Pehle Aap and Billu. Puri was seen in the role of Mohammad Ali Kasuri in Road to Sangam (2009). In 2010, he appeared in The Hangman.


A breach of privilege notice was issued against Om Puri in the Parliament of India for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the politicians during the fast carried out by Anna Hazare for Jan Lokpal Bill at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi in August 2011.[3]

Partial filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1976 Ghashiram Kotwal Ghashiram
1977 Godhuli
1977 Bhumika
1978 Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan Marxist man
1980 Aakrosh Lahanya Bhiku Won, Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award
1982 Gandhi Nahari
1982 Arohan Hari Mondal Won, National Film Award for Best Actor
1983 Ardh Satya Anant Velankar Won, National Film Award for Best Actor
1984 The Jewel in the Crown Mr De Souza TV series
1985 Mirch Masala
1990 Ghayal ACP Joe Dsouza Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1991 Sam & Me Chetan Parikh
1992 Maya Memsaab adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary
1992 City of Joy Hazari Pal adaptation of Dominique Lapierre's novel
1993 In Custody Deven
1994 Wolf Dr. Vijay Alezias
1994 Drohkaal
1996 The Ghost and the Darkness Abdullah
1996 Maachis Sanatan Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1997 My Son The Fanatic Parvez
1997 Aastha Amar
1997 Gupt: The Hidden Truth Inspector Udham Singh Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1998 Such a Long Journey Ghulam Mohamed
1998 Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha Inspector Khan Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1999 East Is East George Khan
2000 Hey Ram Goel
2000 Hera Pheri Khadak Singh
2001 The Mystic Masseur Ramlogan
2001 Gadar: Ek Prem Katha Narrator
2001 The Parole Officer George
2002 Awara Paagal Deewana
2002 Chor Machaye Shor
2002 White Teeth Samad adaptation of White Teeth de Zadie Smith
2004 Aan: Men at Work Police commissioner Khurana
2004 Lakshya Maj. Pritam Singh
2004 Yuva Prosonjit Bhatacharya
2005 The Hangman Shiva
2005 Mumbai Xpress ACP S.P. Rao
2006 Rang De Basanti Amanullah Khan, father of Aslam
2006 Malamaal Weekly Balwant 'Balu'
2006 Chup Chup Ke Prabhat Singh Chauhan
2006 Don - The Chase Begins Again CBI Officer Vishal Malik
2007 Fool and Final father of Rahul/Raja
2008 Charlie Wilson's War Mohammed Zia, president of Pakistan
2008 Billu
2009 London Dreams Arjun's uncle
2009 Kurbaan Bhaijaan
2010 Khap Sarpanch of the village
2010 Dabangg police inspector
2010 Action Replayy Rai Bhahadur
2010 West Is West George Khan
2011 Don 2 - The Chase Continues
2011 Teen Thay Bhai Chixie Gill
2011 Agneepath

Awards and nominations



External links

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