Few artists in Bollywood are able to pave their path to personal success and to leave behind a legacy—remarkably when you have a pockmarked face on screen.
In an industry full of pretty men, if you aren’t good-looking, fair and if you have some sort of mark on your face, you are primarily fit for only one role: to scare people. But Om Puri has been among those select-few who have broken all barriers that screen artists have predominantly built. This tallies with his dialogue in Baabul, “Paramparaon ki lakeerein jab dhundli padh jaati hai, toh nayi lakeerein kheenchne se parhez nahi karna chahiye.” (TR. When the lines of traditions become blurred, then you should not hesitate from pulling new lines.)
His devotion, passion and love for drama and acting made him leave behind a mark in the film industry. Om Puri has ascertained what he said in Ghayal Once Again, “Jab ek corrupt aadmi marti hai toh uski satta khatam hoti hai, aur jab ek sacha aadmi marta hai toh uski satta shuru hoti hai.” (TR. When a corrupt man dies then his power ends, and when an honest man dies then his power starts.)
When yesterday I read about Om Puri’s death at the age of 66 after he suffered from a heart attack, I became wistful. But strangely, the only scene in my mind was that of Awara Paagal Deewana where he utters these words before dying, “Marne se pehle mere baal dye kara dena, I want to die young.” (TR. Before dying you guys dye my hair, I want to die young.)
I really loved Om Puri’s message in Prakash Jha’s Chakravyuh. He plays the role of Govind Suryavanshi, the chief Marxist ideologue. His character in the movie is said to be inspired from Kobad Ghandy. His brilliant acting led the film [which shows the reality of India and its issues related to the Naxalism] become a success.
As we grieve on his death, Om Puri will live in our hearts forever through the impressions he has left with his versatility. We will miss you. Another [living] gem to look forward to is the finest Naseeruddin Shah…