Om Puri is a character actor from the Bombay film world. Writing about him can be considered sacrilegious when super stars like Amitabh Bachan and Sharukh khan rule the roost. Where does Om Puri stand among them? I will say very close as an actor. He certainly needs mention as he achieved success despite the odds of his physical appearance and built. Om Puri is not a lily white hero or a big muscle man. Therefore his success is all the more significant and a tribute to his histrionic ability as well as adaptability.
Om came from a relatively improvised house hold and had a pitted face. To succeed on the celluloid screen is nothing short of a miracle. There is no doubt that his acting abilities and ability to do justice to the role given to him are at par with the best in any type of cinema English or regional.
Om started his career nearly three decades back. Initially roles were difficult to come by as Hindi cinema was not geared to accept an unconventional actor. But his role in ‘Akrosh‘ and ‘Shodh’ launched him on the Bollywood stage. Over the years Om has breathed life into the roles given to him and as a character actor he is par excellence.
His latest film ‘Kurban’ where he plays an aging Islamic terrorist and the film ‘Singh in King‘ in which he plays a Punjabi villager bring out the acting abilities of Om Puri. There is no doubt that by his acting he has endeared himself to the public at large and certainly carved niche for himself in the world of cinema.
Om has not confined his acting talents to Hindi films only and unlike most bollywood heroes has acted in a number of English films made in Hollywood and England. He has also been honored with the Order of the British empire OBE (honorary) in 2004 for his contribution to the British film industry. This award is a tribute to Om Puri as a versatile actor. Om has thus achieved considerable success in both forms of cinema -Hindi and English. Even the great Amitabh has drawn a blank as far as Hollywood is concerned.Thus Om’s success is significant.
Om Puri is not a star in the accepted sense. But he is an actor who cannot be ignored. Comparisons are always odious but I will not hesitate to say that as a character artiste there are very few who can hold a candle to Om Puri. Lately Om is much in the news for the wrong reason – his biography by his wife which has generated some critical aspects of Oms life. But in the wider perspective Om Puris infidelities pale into insignificance when you evaluate him as an artiste and actor. Certainly Om deserves all the accolades one can bestow him.To succeed on the Bombay film scene with all his handicaps and looks is a tribute to the resilience of man and the dedication of Om Puri.