Om Puri Foundation unveiled in Cannes to help arts, farmers

NEW DELHI: The Om Puri Foundation has been unveiled today at the 70th Cannes Film Festival to carry forward his legacy and the high standards set by him as an actor on films, television and the theater.

Ms Nandita Puri and his son Ishaan were present as the Foundation was unveiled yesterday first at the British Pavilion and later at the Indian Pavilion.

This was followed by a discussion with veteran critic Derek Malcolm, actor-director Nandita Das and actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui along with the Puris, moderated by eminent critic and wrier Uma Da Cunha.

The Foundation aims to take forward Om Puri’s legacy, philosophy and values that he cherished.

Initially, the Foundation will initiate the Om Puri Scholar for the most deserving student from the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune, the Om Puri Fellow for the most deserving student from the National School of Drama in Delhi where the actor had his initial training before joining FTII; and the Om Puri Grant for promising and deserving filmmakers to go to international film festivals to broaden their understanding of world cinema.

Ishaan told from Cannes that the Foundation intends to take the actors films and work in television to schools, colleges and universities worldwide to keep alive the rich body of his work.

It will also work to take forward a social cause that saddened Om Puri very much – the state of Indian farmers. The Foundation will offer scholarships to deserving children of farmers to pursue their higher studies and thus help farmers to make ends meet.

Recipient of the OBE (Order of the British Empire) and the Padma Shree, Om passed away on 6 January 2017, leaving behind a large body of work that included theatre, television (one of the best being Shyam Benegal’s ‘The Discovery of India), and around 150 films in Hollywood and the United Kingdom apart from India.

Best known for his author-backed roles in early years, he also excelled in comedy as well as action films and was known as the angry young man of art cinema in his early years. His powerful voice has been used to advantage by Shyam Benegal in ‘The Discovery of India” as the narrator apart from his appearance in more than ten different roles in that series, and by many makers of animation films.

He made a mark overseas with ‘East is East’ apart from Richard Attemborough’s ‘Gandhi’ where he had a short but impactful role and then went on to act in more than a dozen films overseas.

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