Om Puri, one of India’s most critically acclaimed actors, died in Mumbai on Friday, reportedly after suffering a heart attack. He was 66.
Puri, whose versatile career saw him feature in Indian films such as Ardh Satya and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro as well as Hollywood fare like Gandhi, City Of Joy, The Hundred Foot Journey and Charlie Wilson’s War, was known for his gritty character roles in several landmark Bollywood titles from the 1980s.
Born in the northern state of Haryana, Puri made his film debut in the 1976 film Ghashiram Kotwal before embarking upon a four-decade career that spanned across more than 100 Indian, Pakistani, Hollywood and British films. A well-known figure in the UK, Puri featured in a number of hit Brit films such as indie comedy East Is East, about a Pakistani immigrant adjusting to life in northern England, as well as My Son The Fanatic, about a taxi driver and a prostitute who forge an unlikely relationship as Islamic fundamentalists look to clear up their town.
He was awarded an honorary OBE for his contribution to the British film industry in 2004 and the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in India, in 1990.
He had recently wrapped filming Gurinder Chadha’s latest Indian epic Viceroy’s House for Pathé.
In December, Puri reflected on his career when he tweeted: “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, I am proud of it.”
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi led the tributes to Puri on social media: