The sbcltr list of Om Puri movies that you cannot miss
When veteran actor Om Puri died this morning at the age of 66, he left behind a legacy of work that included art-house cinema, Bollywood, independent world movies and even some memorable Hollywood cameos (City of Joy, Gandhi). What he was perhaps most known for was his versatility and the rare ability to adapt to each character. Getting into their skin in a way only one of a kind actors can, bringing each of them to life with his nuanced performances. Born in Ambala, Haryana, to a railway officer, he was an alumnus of National School of Drama and Film and Television Institute of India. He made his debut in the 1976 Marathi film Ghasiram Kotwal, based on the play by Vijay Tendulkar and the rest, as they say is history. In order to familiarise the ones not acquainted with his work, sbcltr compiled a list of some of Puri’s essential films.
East is East
Somewhat like the modern day adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof, In this 1999 British comedy, Puri plays the patriarch in a mixed ethnic family (Pakistani-British) who struggles to get his family to accept his traditions and conflicts ensue. Watch it for the balance between humour and drama which makes this a compelling narrative about the often common complexities of life.
Set in 1940s India, it is the story of a subedar (tax collector) who has an eye for women and commands the beautiful, married Sonbai (Smita Patel) to sleep with him, but much to his chagrin, she humiliates him and flees to safety. A powerful tale of oppression and the fight against it in rural India, the film is perhaps one of the finest socialist-feminist movie to be made in Indian cinema.
Puri plays Anant Valenkar, a man who wanted to complete his MBA but is forced to return to Mumbai and become a sub-inspector where he deals with brutality and the corrupt confluence of power and the toll that it takes on his idealism.
Based on the story by Premchand and directed by Satyajit Ray, the film is an indictment of the caste system in India. Puri plays the untouchable Dukhi, who goes to the village Brahmin to get his daughter’s marriage date fixed and is asked to work for free in lieu of that.
Jane Bhi Do Yaaron
A comedy/satire that takes on the corruption in politics, business and bureaucracy in India. Om Puri plays the part of a corrupt builder Ahuja with finesse and will have you in splits throughout the film with his authentic dialect and dialogue delivery. A must watch for its ensemble cast and its epic climax.
My Son the Fanatic
Based on the short story by Hanif Kureshi, it is the tale of Pakistani taxi-driver Parvez (Puri) and prostitute Bettina (Rachel Griffith) who find themselves trapped in the middle when Islamic fundamentalists decide to clean up their local town in Britain.