5 of The Best Om Puri Performances On FIlm
The veteran actor Om Puri passed away at his residence in Mumbai on Friday (1/6/17) and many celebrities including The Big Bang Theory's Kunal Nayyar and Quantico's Priyanka Chopra have led tributes to the star who was a massive star in both Bollywood and Hollywood but latterly found a home for his talents in British films.
Appearing in mainstream and art house films, he was known for his gritty portrayals and was known for his roles in Indian, Pakistani, British and Hollywood films. He was awarded an honorary OBE for his contribution to the British film industry in 2004. Here we look at just five of his many amazing performances.
1. East is East
Many Americans may not be familiar with this film but it was a success in its native Britain with the portrayal of the Pakistani diasporic experience in Britain in the 1970s. Following to young men who are torn between two cultures as they try to please their families but also live independent lives, Om Puri played a patriarchal figure to such deftness that he was often a scene stealer.
At times the comic relief he then had to show his true talents by also portraying a wife beater and yet his talent shone through that he made the character both likable and yet inherently repulsive in a film widely hailed as a modern classic in Britain. Released in 1999, it also got a sequel West is West in 2010.
2. Ardh Satya
After appearing in Richard Attenborough's stunning film about the life of Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, which won Sir Ben Kingsley his Oscar for Best Actor in the titular role, Om Puri went on to appear in 1983 Bollywood production Ardh Satya (translated as ‘Half Truth’) which led to a slew of awards for him.
Considered one of the greatest genre films ever made in India, Om Puri shines as a conflicted police officer and it was here where he really started to make a name for himself.
3. White Teeth
A book about the lives of multicultural Londoners that all intersect and impact one another, Zadie Smith's White Teeth is one of the most highly lauded pieces of fiction in recent times and it was almost inevitable it was going to get a screen adaptation. Made for television, the adaptation played out in mini-stories about each character.
Om Puri plays as a soldier who fought in World War Two alongside British compatriots.
4. Malamaal Weekly
A massive hit in India, this 2006 comedy was sneered at by critics but the cinema going population of the subcontinent loved it and Om Puri's role as a dairy farmer who stumbles into a plot to fraudulently claim a winning lottery ticket was no small part of that as he showed off his everyman comedy chops.
Usually associated with darker, grittier roles, this showed that the man had a sense of humor and a light side to him that he was equally adept at working with.
5. The Hundred-Foot Journey
An English-French production about an Indian man who moves his family to France to open a restaurant with the cuisine of his homeland only to find himself up against a snobby neighbor who considers her high French cuisine far above his. The two are then brought together by their mutual love of food.
With brilliant performances from both Puri and Dame Helen Mirren, it is a genuinely affectionate and touching film that slowly spools out in front of you to reveal how two completely different cultures can be brought together over simple common themes.