The news of the death of actor Om Puri came as a shock to the artiste fraternity of his native city Ambala and other parts of the region, on Friday.
Puri’s childhood friend and senior journalist Naresh Kaushal, who flew to Mumbai to attend the veteran actor’s cremation, told HT that Puri was born in Ambala where his father worked as a railway employee for a few years.
Kaushal, who was Puri’s childhood friend, fondly remembered how the acclaimed actor never missed a happy occasion in his family and had attended the weddings of his three daughters in Chandigarh and Panhckula.
“The Puris shifted to adjoining village of Sanaur in Patiala district, where we studied together in the government high school up to Class 10. He later went to Khalsa College, Patiala, before taking admission in the National School of Drama (NSD) in 1968-69,” Kaushal said.
“We roamed around the Ambala railway station, trying hard for hours to locate which locality he was born in,” he said.
Senior actor Kuldeep Sharma, who was the director of Chandigarh’s Tagore Theatre till recently, also fondly remembered Puri as a wonderful person and a great actor.
“Whenever he visited Chandigarh, he made it a point to meet us. We spent hours discussing happenings in the field of art, especially theatre’,” Sharma said.
Anil Dutt, a theatre artiste from Ambala, said that the news had shaken artistes of Ambala, the city of his birth.
Khattar condoles Puri’s demise
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar expressed grief over the sad and sudden demise of veteran actor Om Puri in Mumbai on Friday. In a condolence message issued here, Khattar said that Puri, who was born in Ambala, was known for his versatility. “The acclaimed actor had delivered some stellar performances. In his death the cinema world had lost one of its most loved characters,” he added. Khattar conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family and prayed that the departed soul might rest in peace. Members of Haryana Kala Parishad also held a function to pay tributes to Puri.