Thus, said the man with the booming voice in one of his more ‘playing to the gallery moments’.
Om Puri: even in death, he left at the perfectly rounded age of 66 years with extreme talent, grit, and wisdom. Wish it had been a perfectly rounded off 111. This man deserved to live for over a century just for the sheer talent he possessed.
Not blessed with extraordinary good looks, Om Puri made it to the top with just flair and absolutely nothing else. The angry cop in Ardhasatya, the shady womanizing businessman in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, the over the top villain in Narsimha…It was all Om Puri with his dream of a voice and a craze for perfection.
In the screwball Mahabharata scene in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, the one thing that stood out was Puri Saahab in goggles and television inspired Aryan regalia, spouting post-modern dialogues such as, Draupadi teri akele ki nahi hai … hum sab shareholder hai…!
Bharat Ek Khoj would not have been what it was, if it was not for Om Puri’s full throttle voice.
Hollywood embraced his grace and sheer graph of excellence with open arms and he remained an international fixture throughout his life. Salaam Bombay, The Ghost & The Darkness and so many other jewels will have his name in the credit rolls alongside the greatest in the business. Honoured with an OBE by the Queen of England for his contribution to the British film industry, the celebrated actor lived a life unfazed by stardom.
In his suburban locality in Mumbai, Om Puri’s earthiness could be witnessed at its best, as he would cajole the vegetable vendor to give him two extra lemons. Another fine dining restaurant has a chicken dish named after him. This was a man who lived every moment as an experience to be stored away by all players as something precious.
A front-runner for unconventional cinema, he gave substance to character roles like no other. And it would be a crime to not mention his contribution for elevating the standard of art films in Hindi Cinema.
Natural and believable on screen, he made people laugh, cry, cringe and feel the emotions he delivered with such integrity. With a career spanning over several decades, Om Puri left us with roles that might not be huge but memorable enough to be cherished forever.
Yes, today the entertainment industry weeps a huge loss. A loss that also takes along a part of our most favourite childhood memories – The voice of Bagheera sleeps in peace today.
You will be missed, Om Puri Ji.