Veteran actor Om Puri straddled the worlds of Bollywood, India's parallel film movement, and British and American cinema with ease, leaving his mark everywhere. Puri, who passed away today at the age of 66, was held in high regard by his contemporaries and juniors. Numerous contemporaries from the Indian film fraternity have paid glowing tributes to the actor. Here are some memorable quotes about the thespian from the past and present.
"Om was born with a wooden spoon. I'm proud to see him here today," Naseeruddin Shah, Puri's longtime friend and classmate at the National School of Drama, had said after Puri won the National Award for his performance in Ardh Satya.
"He was so astoundingly good because, quite simply, he had gone for broke and expended every ounce of his energy in preparation. Om continued to inspire me for a very long time," Shah wrote on Puri's standout performance in a college play at the National School of Drama, as recounted in his autobiography, And Then One Day: A Memoir.
"He can play practically any kind of part you give to him. He has that Everyman kind of quality. In some ways, he's like Alec Guinness," Shyam Benegal, who directed Puri in films such as Bhumika and Arohan told the Variety magazine in a 2014 interview.
"He is one of the rare breed of actors who would capture the ruh (soul) of the character. This greatness comes with effort of course, but it is hidden effort. It reminds me of Munshi Premchand's stories or Shailendra's poetry: you can smell that they are from the land," Kundan Shah, who directed Puri in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro told Livemint.
"He showed that you didn't have to be 'fair' and 'good-looking' to be a protagonist. It was just the force of his personality and his performance," Saeed Akhtar Mirza, who directed Puri in Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai, told Reuters today.
"The biggest thing I found working with Om as an actor is that he gives all of himself and with no fear, no defence, no justification. And that is remarkable in an actor," American actor Patrick Swayze, Puri's co-star in City of Joy, wrote in the introduction to his biography, Om Puri: Unlikely Hero.
"Only a brilliant actor like him could be a villain in one, a police in the other, a weaver in the third, a militant in the fourth. The list goes on to 100 varied characters," actress Nandita Das wrote in Scroll.
"He was quite an amazing man, very down to earth, coming from a very lower-middle class family and breaking all the norms, despite his looks. Achieving what he has achieved, it's a phenomenal journey," Ketan Mehta, who directed Puri in his first three films, told the Hindu.
Om Puri! You have left us all too early.. i am so so sorry..The fun the laughter the arguments so vividly etched in my mind..Will miss you— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) January 6, 2017
I have known #OmPuri for d last 43yrs. For me he'll always b a great actor, a kind & generous man. And that is how world shud remember him.— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) January 6, 2017
#OmPuri lent dignity to d medium he worked for. Whether it was stage, TV or cinema. He elevated status of the projects was associated with.— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) January 6, 2017
T 2495 - Shocked to learn of OM PURI Ji's passing just now.. a dear friend a lovable colleague and an exceptional talent .. in grief !— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) January 6, 2017
Goodbye Om! A part of me goes with you today. How can I ever forget those passionate nights we spent together talking about cinema & life ?— Mahesh Bhatt (@MaheshNBhatt) January 6, 2017
So long Omji. Prided myself on being his friend peer & admirer. Who dare say my Om Puri is no more ? He lives through his work.— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) January 6, 2017
A great actor & human being, Omji was my friend and neighbour. Sabse miljulkar rehne wala insaan, has left us...May his soul R.I.P. #OmPuri— Johny Lever (@iamjohnylever) January 6, 2017
Solid actor....Solid filmography....immense talent.... #RIPOmPuri ....cinema has truly lost a brilliant artist....— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) January 6, 2017
Shocked & sad Om Puri is gone. A great actor & human being.not a bone of falsity in his art & heart. Rage against the dying of the light...— Mira Nair (@MiraPagliNair) January 6, 2017
With OmPuri's passing v have lost 1of d great Indian Actors of All time: charismatic,brilliant n technically perfect .N pls remember:A star!— Sudhir Mishra (@IAmSudhirMishra) January 6, 2017
Brilliant . Never obstructed the story telling . Always where the scene and the film required him to be . A perfect cinema actor . https://t.co/qevR1vrhTS— Sudhir Mishra (@IAmSudhirMishra) January 6, 2017
Om-ji, there will never be anyone like you again... as an actor or as a person. Will miss you tremendously. Sad sad day.— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) January 6, 2017
वो आवाज़.. वो सहज मुस्कान.. वो भला सा सुंदर इंसान..कुछ जल्दी ही चला गया! बड़े भैया ओम पुरी.. याद तो बहुत आओगे आप!! ईश्वर शांति दें! जय हो!!— Prakash Jha (@prakashjha27) January 6, 2017
From sheer intensity of 'Ardh Sathya' to the overpowering charm of '100 feet journey' there was no actor like #ompuri— Shekhar Kapur (@shekharkapur) January 6, 2017
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"Gods garden must b beautiful, He always takes the best" Will miss ur laughter over the shared brandy in Berlin. Will miss u lots Omji. RIP— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) January 6, 2017