NEW DELHI: Veteran actor Om Puri, has been feted by Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) in the US for his contribution to the Indian cinema. The honour was given to the 63-year old actor on the eve of release of his next international release, The Hundred Foot Journey co-starring Helen Mirren, which is opening on 8 August.
The actor, who has made a name for himself in Indian and international cinema, discussed his long journey to stardom at a conversation moderated by actress Madhur Jaffrey. This was followed by a screening of his latest film.
Based on the book by Richard C Morais and directed by Lasse Hallström, The Hundred-Foot Journey is about the cultural war that ensues the opening of an Indian restaurant in the south of France next to a famous Michelin-starred eatery. Puri plays the role of a patriarch of a family displaced from their native India. The movie also stars Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon and Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla. It is produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Juliet Blake.
During the conversation with Jaffrey, Puri revealed that when he first came to Delhi nearly four decades ago with only Rs 120 in his pockets to try his luck in theatre, he could not anticipate the success that lay ahead of him. A versatile theater and film actor, Puri, has made a name for himself in Hollywood as well. The actor also added that he and Naseeruddin Shah were the ‘two idiots’ who joined the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune.
Puri made his debut with the Marathi film Ghasiram Kotwal based on a Marathi play of the same name by Vijay Tendulkar. The film was directed by K Hariharan and Mani Kaul in cooperation with 16 graduates of the FTII.
Jaffrey also discussed Puri’s big break in Bollywood – Ardh Satya portraying Puri as a policeman struggling to deal with the evils around and inside him. “This was my lottery in the Hindi film industry. Everybody sort of sat back and noticed me,” Puri said. He also received the National Film Award for Best Actor for the film.
Puri considers himself to be introverted, but he believes acting gave him a voice to convey his emotions. “I had a lot feelings looking at the world around me, particularly, the disparities in society used to disturb me,” he said.