Om Puri, Veteran Actor and Padma Shree Winner Passes Away At 66

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Om Puri, one of the best actors Bollywood has ever produced, died of a heart attack at his home in Mumbai this morning at the age of 66.

The Padama Shree winner actor Om Puri acted in over 250 films, in a career spanning over four decades appeared in mainstream commercial Indian, British, and American films, as well as independent films and art films.

Anupam Kher, a long-time friend and colleague of Om Puri, also known to disagree with him publicly, was among the first to arrive after news of the actor’s death. He said he had last spoken to Om Puri two days ago.

“Seeing him lying on his bed looking so calm can’t believe that one of our greatest actors Om Puri is no more. Deeply saddened and shocked,” tweeted Mr Kher.

Born in Ambala, Punjab, Om Puri was an alumnus of the 1973 class of National School of Drama where Naseeruddin Shah was a co-student. He also had graduated from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.

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Om Puri debuted in the 1976 Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal, based on a play by Vijay Tendulkar.

He went on to act in path-breaking films like Ardh Satya, Aakrosh and Paar. He is famous for his films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and Maachis.

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He has also created a niche with award-winning films like Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992).

He played a cameo in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi In the 1990s which opened a huge platform for him – his entry into the world cinema.

His Hollywood films include City of Joy (1992) with Patrick Swayze, Wolf (1994) with Jack Nicholson and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) with Val Kilmer. He played General Zia-ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson’s War, which stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

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He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 1990 and in 2004, was made an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

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