Om Puri

Om Puri

Born Om Puri
(1950-10-18) 18 October 1950
Ambala, Haryana, India
Nationality Indian
Education National School of Drama, Delhi
Occupation Actor
Years active 1972–present
Spouse(s) Nandita Puri (1993 - 2013)
Children Ishaan Puri
Awards Padma Shri, National Film Awards

Om Puri OBE[1] (born 18 October 1950) is an Indian[2] actor who has appeared in mainstream commercial Pakistani, Indian, British, and Hollywood, Independent films and art films. His credits also include appearances in American films. He has been awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India.[3]

Early life

Om Puri was born in Ambala, Haryana, to a Punjabi family. His father worked in the railways and in the Indian Army.[4] Puri graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He is also an alumnus of the 1973 class of National School of Drama where Naseeruddin Shah was a co-student.[5]

Personal life

He married Nandita Puri in the year 1993. The couple separated in 2013. They have a son named Ishaan.[6]


Puri has worked in numerous Indian films and in many films produced in the United Kingdom and the United States.

He made his film debut in the 1976 Marathi film Ghashiram Kotwal, based on a Marathi play of the same name by Vijay Tendulkar. It was directed by K. Hariharan and Mani Kaul in cooperation with 16 graduates of the FTII. He has claimed that he was paid "peanuts" for his best work.[7] Along with Amrish Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil, he was among the main actors who starred in what was then referred to as art films such as Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992).

He was critically acclaimed for his performances in many unconventional roles such as a victimized tribal in Aakrosh (1980) (a film in which he spoke only during flash-back sequences); Jimmy's manager in Disco Dancer (1982); a police inspector in Ardh Satya (1982), where he revolts against lifelong social, cultural and political persecution and for which he got the National Film Award for Best Actor; the leader of a cell of Sikh militants in Maachis (1996); as a tough cop again in the commercial film Gupt in 1997; and as the courageous father of a martyred soldier in Dhoop (2003).

In 1999, Puri acted in a Kannada movie A.K. 47 as a strict police officer who tries to keep the city safe from the underworld — it became a huge commercial hit. Puri's acting in the movie is memorable. He rendered his own voice for the Kannada dialogues. In the same year, he starred in the successful British comedy film East is East, where he played a first-generation Pakistani immigrant in the north of England, struggling to come to terms with his far more westernised children.

Puri in 2009

Puri had a cameo in the highly acclaimed film Gandhi (1982, directed by Richard Attenborough). In the mid-1990s, he diversified to play character roles in mainstream Hindi cinema, where his roles are more tuned to mass audiences than film critics. He became known internationally by starring in many British films such as My Son the Fanatic (1997), East Is East (1999) and The Parole Officer (2001). He appeared in Hollywood films including City of Joy (1992), opposite Patrick Swayze; Wolf (1994) with Jack Nicholson; and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) opposite Val Kilmer. In 2007, he appeared as General Zia-ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson's War, which stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

He has worked in Hindi television serials like Kakkaji Kaheen (1988) (roughly meaning "Uncle Says") as a paan-chewing 'Kakkaji', which was a parody on politicians, and Mr. Yogi (1989) as a suave 'Sutradhaar' who enjoys pulling the protagonist's leg. These two serials underlined Om Puri's versatility as a comedian. He received critical acclaim for his performance in Govind Nihalani's television film Tamas (1987) based on a Hindi novel of the same name. He played comic roles in Hindi films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro which reached a cult status, followed by Chachi 420 (1997), Hera Pheri (2000), Chor Machaye Shor (2002) and Malamaal Weekly (2006).

His more recent Hindi film roles include Singh Is Kinng, Mere Baap Pehle Aap and Billu. Puri was seen in the role of Mohammad Ali Kasuri in Road to Sangam (2009). In 2010, he appeared in The Hangman. In 2011 he was in the Indian action movie Don 2.

He has also worked in some episodes of the TV series Aahat during the second season which was aired between 2004 and 2005 on Sony channel. Other notable television appearances of Om Puri include Bharat Ek Khoj, Yatra, Mr Yogi, Kakaji Kahin, Sea Hawks, Antaral.

Puri was seen on the small screen in a crime show Savdhaan India’s second season on Life OK.[8]

In 2014, he appeared opposite Helen Mirren in the comedy-drama The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1972 Ghashiram Kotwal Ghashiram Marathi film
1977 Godhuli Based on a Hindi story by Premchand
1977 Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane Kannada film
1977 Bhumika
1978 Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan Marxist man Directed by Saeed Akhtar Mirza
1980 Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai Garrage Mechanic Directed by Saeed Akhtar Mirza
1980 Aakrosh Lahanya Bhiku Won Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award
1980 Bhavni Bhavai Ketan Mehta
1981 Sadgati DuKhi Director: Satyajit Ray
1982 Gandhi Nahari Directed by Richard Attenborough
1982 Vijeta Arvind Directed: Shyam Benegal
1982 Chann Pardesi Tulsi Punjabi film
1982 Arohan Hari Mondal Won, National Film Award for Best Actor
1983 Ardh Satya Anant Velankar Won, National Film Award for Best Actor
1983 Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro Ahuja
1983 Long Da Lishkara Dittu Punjabi film
1984 The Jewel in the Crown Mr De Souza English TV series
1984 Giddh Bhashya
1985 Mirch Masala Abu Mian Directed: Ketan Mehta
1985 Nasoor Dr Sunil Directed: Ashok Chopra
1985 Aghaat Trade Unionist Director: Govind Nihalani
1988 Ek Hi Maqsad Dr. Ram Kumar Verma
1988 Puravrutham Raman Malayalam movie
1990 Ghayal ACP Joe D'Souza Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1991 Sam & Me Chetan Parikh
1991 Narsimha Suraj Narayan Singh 'Baapji'
1992 Maya Memsaab adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary
1992 City of Joy Hazari Pal English film adaptation of Dominique Lapierre's novel
1992 Ankuram Satyam Telugu film
1992 Current Velu
1992 Raat Sharji Hindi film
1993 In Custody Deven Urdu/Hindi film
1993 Patang Mathura
1994 Wolf Dr. Vijay Alezias English film
1994 Drohkaal DCP Abhay Singh
1994 Woh Chokri
1996 The Ghost and the Darkness Abdullah English film
1996 Maachis Sanatan Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1997 My Son the Fanatic Parvez English film
1997 Chachi 420 Banwari lal-Secy
1997 Aastha Amar
1997 Gupt: The Hidden Truth Inspector Udham Singh Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1997 Mrityudand Rambaran Mahto
1998 Such a Long Journey Ghulam Mohamed English film
1998 Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha Inspector Khan Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
1998 Vinashak – Destroyer Inspector Khan
1999 East Is East George Khan English film
1999 A.K.47 Commissioner Yashwant Sinha Kannada film
2000 Hey Ram Goel
2000 Kunwara Balraj Singh
2000 Hera Pheri Khadak Singh
2000 Dulhan hum le jayenge Bhola Nath
2000 Ghaath Ajay Pandey
2001 Farz ACP Arjun Singh
2001 The Mystic Masseur Ramlogan English film
2001 Gadar: Ek Prem Katha Narrator
2001 The Parole Officer George English film
2001 Bollywood Calling Subramaniam
2002 Awara Paagal Deewana Ballu Bolbachan
2002 Dhruva Kannada film
2002 Chor Machaye Shor
2002 White Teeth Samad English series adaptation of White Teeth by Zadie Smith
2003 Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai Sam
2003 Second Generation A British TV serial
2003 Code 46 Bahkland English film
2003 Maqbool Inspector Pandit
2003 Dhoop Father Of Dead Military Man
2004 Kyun! Ho Gaya Na...
2004 Aan: Men at Work Police Commissioner Khurana
2004 Lakshya Subedar Maj. Pritam Singh
2004 Yuva Prosonjit Bhatacharya
2004 Dev Special Commissioner Tejinder Khosla
2005 Deewane Huye Paagal Don
2005 The Hangman Shiva
2005 Mumbai Xpress ACP S.P. Rao
2006 Rang De Basanti Amanullah Khan
2006 Malamaal Weekly Balwant 'Balu'
2006 Chup Chup Ke Prabhat Singh Chauhan
2006 Don: The Chase Begins Again CBI Officer Vishal Malik
2007 Fool & Final Father of Rahul / Raja
2007 Charlie Wilson's War Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq English film
2008 Mere Baap Pehle Aap Madhav Mathur
2008 Kismat Konnection Sanjeev Gill
2008 Singh Is Kinng Rangeela
2008 Mukhbiir SP Intelligence — Rathod
2009 Billu Sahukaar Daamchand
2009 London Dreams Arjun's uncle
2009 Kurbaan Bhaijaan
2009 Delhi-6
2010 Khap Sarpanch
2010 Dabangg Police Inspector
2010 Na Ghar Ke Na Ghaat Ke Sankata Prasad Tripathi
2010 Action Replayy Rai Bhahadur
2010 West Is West George Khan English film
2011 Don 2: The King is Back CBI Officer Vishal Malik
2011 Love Express Khadak Singh Bakshi
2011 Teen Thay Bhai Chixie Gill
2012 Agneepath Additional Commissioner Gaitonde
2012 Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya Chowdhary
2012 Chaar Din Ki Chandni Fatoor Singh
2012 Chakravyuh Govind Suryavanshi
2012 OMG: Oh My God! Hanif Bhai
2012 Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal David
2013 Jatt Boys Putt Jattan De Jora Vailly Punjabi film
2013 Bhaji in Problem Punjabi film
2013 The Reluctant Fundamentalist Abu
2014 The Hundred-Foot Journey Papa Kadam English/French
2014 Heartless Dr. Sanjay Trehan
2014 Aa Gaye Munde U.K. De
2014 Chaar Sahibzaade Narrator Punjabi film
2015 Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan Dr. Rajendra Prasad Hindi
2015 Dirty Politics Laddu Babu aka Sai Kumar Konakandla Hindi
2015 Chapekar Brothers Bal Gangadhar Tilak[9] Hindi
2015 Bajrangi Bhaijaan Moulana Sahab Hindi
2015 Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho Matang Singh Hindi
2015 A Million Rivers Shiv English
2015 Uvaa Hindi
2016 Ghayal Once Again ACP Joe D'Souza Hindi
2016 Aadupuliyattam Muni Malayalam
2016 The Jungle Book Bagheera Hindi
2016 Viceroy's House English, filming
2016 Santheyalli Nintha Kabira Kannada, filming
2016 Tiger Kannada, filming[10]
2016 Actor In Law Pakistani film debut[11]


1988 Bharat Ek Khoj Various roles A Doordarshan Television Series [12]
2003 Second Generation Sharma (A Mentally Challenged Bakery Factory Owner) A British TV Serial [13]

Awards and nominations



On an interview given to IBN-7 Om Puri insulted Indian Army on the surgical attack of Pakistan. He was heavily criticized by the Indian Media after which he apologized for his remarks.[15] On 5 October 2016 he was again interviewed by Arnab Goswami on Times Now where he said he regretted his remarks the earlier night[16]


  1. 1 2 "Indian actor Om Puri awarded OBE". British Broadcasting Corporation. 23 July 2004.
  2. "BBC NEWS — South Asia — Indian actor Om Puri awarded OBE".
  3. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  4. "Rediff On The Net, Movies:An interview with Om Puri".
  5. Puri, Nandita (2005-01-18). "Brothers-in-arms". Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd. Archived from the original on 2005-02-28. Retrieved 2005-05-27.
  6. "The Om Puri Story: A marriage on the rocks, a son caught in the middle and old lovers". Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  7. Jha, Subhash K (2007-12-12). ""I've been paid peanuts for my efforts"- Om Puri". Greynium Information Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  8. "Om Puri returns to TV with crime show". 24 July 2012.
  9. "Om Puri to play Bal Gangadhar Tilak onscreen". 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  10. A. Sharadhaa (23 September 2015). "Om Puri back with Tiger". The New Indian Epress. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  11. "Om Puri's first Pakistani film to release on Eidul Azha". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  12. "Bharat Ek Khoj (TV Series 1988– )". Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  13. "Second Generation (2003 TV Movie) : Full Cast & Crew". Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  14. "Om Puri to get lifetime achievement award at International Film Festival of Prayag". Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  15. "Om puri insulted Indian army on national television, supports Pakistani artists". IBN7.
  16. "Om Puri VS Arnab Goswami: 5 Oct 2016". Times Now. 5 October 2016.
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