Veteran actor Om Puri’s death on Friday morning shook not just the Indian film industry, but also Hollywood. Western publications including Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian also paid tributes, calling him a “versatile artist” known for his “craggy features and penchant for taking unusual roles”, which made him a critics’ favourite. Puri’s stint in Hollywood started with a cameo in the Oscar-winning film, Gandhi (1982), in which he played the role of Nahari which lasted for 90 seconds.
Puri went on to feature in popular British films including My Son the Fanatic (1997) and the hit comedy, East is East (1999). Puri was one of the few actors to have received the honorary OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his contribution to British cinema in 2004. Here’s a look at the complete works of Om Puri in the West:
Released in 1982, Gandhi, was Om Puri’s first English film, which saw him in a 90-second appearance. The Oscars, while showing the nomination for Best film category, chose the scene in which Om Puri’s character was talking to Ben Kingsley’s character, Gandhi (who bagged the best actor Oscar for playing Gandhi).
The Jewel In The Crown (British TV Series)
Om Puri played the role of a veterinary, Dr DeSouza, working with a Nun, sister Ludmilla, and running a sanctuary.
Sam & Me
In the 1990 Canadian film directed by Deepa Mehta, Puri played the role of protagonist Ranjot Chowdhary’s father. The film went to win an Honourable mention at the Cannes Film Festival.
City of Joy
Om Puri’s first major role in an English film saw him portray Hasari Pal, befriending Patrick Swayze’s Max, who is on a lookout for a spiritual rebirth. Based on the book of the same name by Roland Joffé, the film put Puri on the map, and floodgates opened for the popular actor who went on to bag major roles in English films.
The American film saw Om Puri feature in a Horror film. Puri played the role of Dr. Vijay Alezais, who gave an amulet to Jack Nicholson’s character Will, so that he can transform into a wolf. The film received positive reviews and won many awards as well.
The Ghost and the Darkness
In the 1996 Adventure historical film which starred Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas in lead roles, Puri played the role of Abdullah- self appointed leader of those workers who decided to rebel against Val Kilmer. The film won an Oscar for Best Sound Editing in 1997.
My Son the Fanatic
Puri played the role of Parvez, a Pakistani immigrant in England, who is a secular muslim but his life takes an unexpected turn when his son, turns to radical Islam. The film received positive reviews from across the globe, with New York Times calling Puri’s role “ brilliant.”
Such A Long Journey
The Canadian film, which received 12 Genie Awards (which recognize the best of Canadian cinema) in 1998, saw Puri play Ghulam Mohamed, a mediator set in 1971’s wartime climate in India.
East is East
The British comedy film saw Om Puri play a Pakistani taxi driver in England. Puri won praise for his portrayal of a patriarch, who is a woman beater who attacks his family violently when they disagree with him.
The Mystic Masseur
Film based on the novel of the same name by VS Naipaul, Om Puri played the role of Ramgolan. The film received a lukewarm response.
The Parole Officer
The British comedy film saw Om Puri as George, one of the four ex-clients of the Parole officer Simon (Steve Coogan), who assist Simon in proving his innocence after a murder accusation.
A British TV drama series saw Om Puri play Samad Miah Iqbal, a loud, dark-skinned, fiery-tempered, self-contradictory Bangladeshi. The series, which also saw actors James Mcavoy and Phil Davis in major roles, was appreciated by critics and was even nominated for different award ceremonies.
A two-part British film saw Om Puri play the role of Sharma, who disowns his daughter, Heere ( Parminder Nagra) for falling in love with a Christian man.
The British thriller saw Om Puri play the owner of a company, Bahkland, who is trying to watch everything in his company while being just as complex to William.
Charlie Wilson’s War
The Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts starrer, which talked about the secret dealings of the Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson in Afghanistan, and how he helps the people there in their fight against Soviets, saw Om Puri portray the role of Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq.
West is West
The sequel to the 1999 hit, East is East, saw Om Puri reprise his role of typical Patriarch, Zaheer “George” Khan.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Directed by Mira Nair, the popular thriller saw Om Puri play the role of Changez’s father, a poet and a “man of letters.”
The Hundred Foot Journey
The Hollywood film saw Om Puri play the role of Hassan Kadam’s father. In the film, he shares a romantic relationship with Helen Mirren, who he calls his “girlfriend”, after Hassan leaves to Paris to be a more famous chef.