Om Puri, one of India’s most critically acclaimed actors, who appeared in Hollywood, Bollywood and British movies, has died.
The 66-year-old actor died of a heart attack at his residence in Mumbai, friends and actors in the Indian film industry said Friday.
Born in the northern state of Haryana, Mr. Puri began his acting career in 1976 with a Marathi film “Ghashiram Kotwal.” By the 1980s, he was famous for his astute performances in a number of landmark mainstream and art house Indian movies.
Mr. Puri acted in more than 250 films in a career that spanned four decades and also included television appearances. He delivered some stellar performances in films like “Ardh Satya,” “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” and “Mirch Masala.” His appearances in comedies like “Chachi 420,” “Hera Pheri,” “Malamaal Weekly” are among his finest works. He acted in regional Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and Punjabi movies as well.
He famously lent his voice for the character Bagheera, the black panther in the popular television animated Hindi series “Mowgli” and more recently for the Hollywood movie, “The Jungle Book.”
The actor received accolades for his outstanding performances in not just Indian but also Pakistani, British, and Hollywood cinema.
Among the British films that earned him fame are “My Son the Fanatic,” “East Is East” and “The Parole Officer.” He appeared in Hollywood films such as “City of Joy,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” and most recently in Steven Spielberg’s comedy drama “The Hundred-Foot Journey.”
He also made a cameo in Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi.”
He was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honors, in 1990 and received an honorary OBE for his contribution to the British film industry in 2004.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office paid tributes to the legendary actor on social networking site Twitter.
The Prime Minister condoles the passing away of actor Om Puri & recalls his long career in theatre & films.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) January 6, 2017
Several actors and Indian filmmakers also expressed sorrow. Anupam Kher, Indian film actor and Mr. Puri’s close friend, who has known him for 43 years, said he was shocked by Mr. Puri’s sudden demise.
Seeing him lying on his bed looking so calm can’t believe that one of our greatest actors #OmPuri is no more. Deeply saddened & shocked.
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) January 6, 2017
Actor Naseeruddin Shah also mourned Mr. Puri’s death.
— Naseeruddin Shah (@NaseerudinShah) January 6, 2017
In a tweet a few weeks ago, Mr. Puri said he led a life with “no regrets.”
I have no regrets at all. I have done quite well for myself. I didn’t have a conventional face, but I have done well, and I am proud of it.
— Om Puri (@OmRajeshPuri) December 21, 2016