It was a moment of pride for Indians when the 89th Academy Awards paid tribute to late actor Om Puri,who died at the age of 66, on January 6, this year. But back home, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui slammed Bollywood award functions for not having a single mention of the late actor. Ever since, twitter has been abuzz with mixed reactions.
Actor Huma Qureshi,who was fortunate to have worked with Puri in her debut international project Viceroy’s House, feels that the senior actor deserved this adulation by all means, though she refused to comment on her Gang of Wasseypur co-star Nawaz’s angry tweet. “I don’t really know in what context he (Nawaz) said that, so it won’t be fair for me to comment. But it wasn’t a surprise at all when Omji was remembered at the Oscars. It was so overwhelming to watch his mention in the remembrance video,” says Huma.
The actor feels proud to see the kind of love and respect Puri earned internationally for the man he was and the work he had done as an artist. “He (Omji) was the best actor not just in our industry but even in the West. I was very lucky that I got to work with him. I have so many scenes with him because he plays my father. He was immensely talented and I could perform better because of him,” adds the actor, who was last seen in Jolly LLB 2 alongside Akshay Kumar.
Full of praises for the veteran, Huma says that while people are lauding Indian actors making a mark in the West today, Puri was among the pioneers. “We all know about his work in Indian cinema but globally too he has given some remarkable performances and done legendary roles.”
I feel in each scene, he (Om Puri) contributed way more than I could ever do. He led by example and has definitely left a mark on everybody’s mind that has worked with or has met him.
Talking about the filming days, the 30-year-old actor recalls several emotional scenes she shot with Puri . “One of my conflicts in the film is to choose between the man I love and the father I have to take care of, as Omji plays a blind freedom fighter in the film. There were some heart breaking scenes in the film. I feel, in each scene, he contributed way more than I could ever do. He led by example and has definitely left a mark on everybody’s mind that has worked with or has met him.”
Ask her if she has learned a thing or two from the award-winning actor and Huma says that besides acting, his humility in unforgettable. She narrates, “Last year on Eid, although he was a pure vegetarian, he invited himself over to my house for Eid celebrations and it was the best day we had. I used to call him Abba, because he plays my father in the film. Even off the sets, I used to address him like that. He said, ‘You can call me whatever you want to but now I want to come to your house and meet your (real) Abba.’ My parents loved him. When he died, they couldn’t believe that such a man, who was so full of life, is suddenly gone.”
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