Om Prakash Puri, the iconic actor of Indian cinema, had marked his acting career working with various works of art. Though also involved in the mainstream cinema, Om Puri was one actor who worked in the art films when there was nil recognition, let alone appreciation and acknowledgment, from the general public of the country. His simplicity of nature reflected his whole personality and today, we are going to talk about his award-winning movies and characters, though awards for acting could never define the actor or the man as he was.
1. Ardh Satya (1983)
Ardh Satya, can be translated as “Half Truth” in English, is a cop-drama and is one of the cult movies of Indian cinemas. Om Puri played the lead role of “Anant” and beautifully portrayed the struggles of a cop due to the evils surrounding him. Directed by Govind Nihalani, this movie won many awards. This was probably the most highlighted movie of his career, as he won two Best Actor Awards for this, one at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 1984 and the other at National Film Awards, India, 1984.
2. Arohan (1982)
In Arohan (The Ascent), Om Puri played the lead role along with Victor Bannerjee and his character, Hari Mondal is a poor farmer. The movie shows the reality and resistance of the farmers in the mid-sixties when the Naxalbari revolution was spreading in Bengal. Because of his classic and memorable character in this movie, Om Puri was awarded the Silver Lotus Award for Best Actor by the National Film Awards of India, 1982.
3. My Son the Fanatic (1997)
Om Puri played the role of the protagonist “Parvez” in this film, who is addicted to alcohol and makes his living by driving taxis. When his son Farid turns into a fundamentalist Islamist, their lives take a different direction altogether. The moving portrayal by him of a simple man’s struggles and harshness of life, made him win the Crystal Star Award for Best Actor at the Brussels International Film Festival, 1998.
4. East is East (1999)
In the comedy-drama East is East, Om Puri played the lead role of the patriarch father of a mixed-ethnicity British family. Zaheed George Khan (Om Puri) is obsessed with maintaining his image and dignity, even over the happiness of his family. He convincingly carried out the negatives existing in the society that the movie wanted to portray and thus, was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in BAFTA Film Award 2000.
5. Narasimha (1991)
In this Action Drama film of commercial Indian cinema, Om Puri played the role of the villain against Sunny Deol. Suraj Narayan Singh aka Bapji (Om Puri), rules the whole city with his muscle power and immense wealth and ultimately becomes the hero’s worst enemy. This role is executed by the actor so brilliantly that he was nominated for the category Best Villain/Villainess in Filmfare Award of 1992.
6. Chachi 420 (1997)
Chachi 420 is one of the cult comedy movies of the Indian cinema, starring Kamal Hassan and featuring Om Puri as Banwari Lal, the secretary of Tabu’s father, Amrish Puri. Lal is somehow tied in between all the confusion going on with the “Trickster Aunt” and his hilarious comic timing led to him being nominated for Best Comedian in the Filmfare Awards, 1998.
7. Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997)
Om Puri played the supporting role of a police officer, Udham Singh in this suspense thriller flick of Bollywood, starring Bobby Deol and Manisha Koirala, and Kajol in the negative role. Udham Singh is assigned the mission of tracking the criminal on the loose and becomes part of the whole mysterious case going on. Thanks to his brilliant performance, he was nominated for Filmfare in the category of Best Supporting Actor.
8. Aakrosh (1980)
Aakrosh, Cry of the Wounded in English, is an art film directed by Govind Nihalani. Om Puri as Lahanya Bhiku plays one of the lead roles along with Naseeruddin Shah and Amrish Puri. The movie focused on and did scornful satire on the judicial system of the country and the corruption that it is consumed with, showing how the underprivileged are oppressed by the rich and the powerful. He won the Filmfare Award for the Best Supporting Actor for this movie.
9. Hera Pheri (2000)
Om Puri played the role of Khadak Singh, Sunil Shetty’s friend in one of the best comedy films of Bollywood, also starring Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal. His comic timing and dialogue delivery made him great in comic roles as well and he was nominated for Best Performance in a Comic Role at the Screen Weekly Awards 2001 for his marvelous acting in this movie.
Apart from these accomplishments, Om Puri was also awarded
- Grand Prix Special des Ameriques Award for Exceptional contribution to the Cinematographic Art, Montreal World Film Festival, 2000.
- Silver Medallion Award, Telluride Film Festival, US, 2001.
- Significant Contribution to Indian Cinema Award, Bombay International Film Festival, 2002.
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Filmfare Awards, 2009.
- Padma Shri Award.
- Order of British Empire Award.
A salute to the legendary actor who changed the face of the Indian Cinema in his simple and intriguing way! We all wish him to Rest in Peace.