Om Puri
Wednesday, October 26, 2005 14:16 IST
By Santa Banta News Network
Om Puri born on October 18, 1950 is a highly regarded and renowned Indian actor. In the course of time, he is fast emerging as India's first truly International star and the world seems to have woken up to Puri's versatility.

He was born at Ambala, Haryana. For Om Puri (or Guddu, his childhood name) career in theatre began early in school at Sinnaur, near Patiala. His maiden venture was Zaildar by Kapoor Singh Ghuman. In college he did several plays. It was during that period that he met Harpal and Neena Tiwana at a prize distribution function. Later, he joined their theatrical group, Punjab Kala Manch, and worked with them for three years.

From Punjab Kala Manch he went to the National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi, and thereafter to the Film Institute in Pune from where he graduated in 1976. For a year and a half, he taught at a studio. Then he floated his own theatre group, Majmah.

Puri was highly acclaimed for his ground-breaking performances—as a victimized tribal in Aakrosh in 1981, which won him recognition as an actor (with no dialogue), as a police Inspector in Ardh Satya in 1983, which established his reputation firmly, and as a leader of a cell of Punjabi terrorists in Maachis where he revolts against life-long social, cultural and political persecution. He has worked with great Indian directors like Shyam Benegal, Gulzar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Govind Nihalani. He also had a shockingly emotional cameo in the International blockbuster and acclaimed Gandhi film by Richard Attenborough in 1982.

He has worked in hundreds of Indian films and films produced in the United Kingdom and the United States. Om Puri heads West after success of East is East. Even as applause for his role as a boorish British Pakistani in ‘East is East' pours in from across the globe. He is already halfway through two prestigious International projects-Roger Mitchell's Parole officers and a Czech film, The Zoo Keeper.

He had to fight his way out of some of the most bitter and adverse circumstances in his quest for success. But he never compromised with art. He worked in many art movies with Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi and many others. He always stressed on the promotion of art in filmdom. Due to his regional sentiments, he worked in three Punjabi movies Pardesi, Long Da Lashkara and Baaghi.

In the 1990's, Puri diversified to play different roles in mainstream Hindi cinema, where his roles are more tuned to mass audiences than film critics. Om Puri as an actor has often been the recipient of the prestigious National Award, and the popular Filmfare Awards.

In 2005, he was awarded an honorary OBE (Order of British Empire). Today, he is continuing his future as an actor and doing various roles and his latest comings are Deewane Huye Pagal, Rang De Basanti and Kyunki. From the silent, persecuted tribal in Govind Nihalani's Aakrosh to the jailbird in Parole Officer for which, he has struggled a lot to achieve this success.
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