Remembering Om Puri Saab on his 67th birth anniversary.

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Om Prakash Puri (18 October 1950–6 January 2017) was an actor who appeared in mainstream commercial Indian films, as well as independent and art films. He is best known for his author-backed roles in films like Aakrosh (1980), Arohan (1982) and television films like Sadgati (1981) and Tamas (1987) and also light-hearted roles in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) and Chachi 420 (1997). He had various collaborations with director Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani. Puri also appeared in non-Indian productions in the United States, Britain and Pakistan.

Puri was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 1990; and in 2004, was made an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

He has worked in Hindi television serials like Kakkaji Kaheen (1988) (roughly meaning “Uncle Says”) as a paan-chewing ‘Kakkaji’, which was a parody on politicians, and Mr. Yogi (1989) as a suave ‘Sutradhaar’ who enjoys pulling the protagonist’s leg. These two serials underlined Om Puri’s versatility as a comedian. He received critical acclaim for his performance in Govind Nihalani’s television film Tamas (1988) based on a Hindi novel of the same name. He played comic roles in Hindi films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro which reached a cult status, followed by Chachi 420 (1997), Hera Pheri (2000), Chor Machaye Shor (2002), Deewane Hue Pagal, Chup Chup Ke, Kismet Connection and Malamaal Weekly (2006) and Oh My God. He was regular in films directed by Priyadarshan and Kamal Haasan.

His notable roles in commercial Hindi films included Drohkaal, In Custody, Narsimha, Ghayal, Mrityudand, Aastha, Hey Ram, Pyar Toh Hona Hi Tha, Farz, Gadar, Lakshya, Dev (2004), Rang De Basanti, Yuva, Singh Is Kinng, Mere Baap Pehle Aap, Billu, Kyunki, Lakshya, Dabang, Bhaji In Problem, Khap, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Ghayal Once Again. Puri was seen in the role of Mohammad Ali Kasuri in Road to Sangam (2009). In 2010, he appeared in The Hangman. In 2011 he was in the Indian action film Don 2.

He has also worked in some episodes of the TV series Aahat during the second season which was aired between 2004 and 2005 on Sony channel. Other notable television appearances included Bharat Ek Khoj, Yatra, Mr. Yogi, Kakaji Kahin, Sea Hawks, Antaral and Savdhaan India’s second season.

In 2014, he appeared opposite Helen Mirren in the comedy-drama The Hundred-Foot Journey. At the time of his death in January 2017, he was working on the Marathi film, 15 August Bhagile 26 January.

Several of his completed films released after his death including Viceroy’s House and Tubelight.

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Celebrating Cinema

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