January 7, 2017 4:12:44 am
One of the most versatile actors of Indian cinema, veteran actor Om Puri died of a heart attack Friday morning. He was 66. He is survived by his ex-wife Seema Kapoor, his wife Nandita Puri and their son Ishaan. Puri was discovered at his Lokhandwala residence by his driver, who did not receive a response after he rang the doorbell. Puri had reportedly returned late on Thursday night after a shoot and was alone at home.
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According to forensic experts who conducted Puri’s autopsy, the actor suffered from an acute myocardial infarction, which led to his death. Puri, doctors suspect, fell down after the heart attack and bruised his head. “The bruise on his head is the only external injury,” a doctor from R N Cooper Hospital said.
Samples from his stomach, intestine, spleen and liver were preserved for further chemical analysis. “The opinion on final cause of death has been reserved till then,” Dr R Sukhdev, head of forensics at Cooper hospital.
The recipient of two National Awards (Arohan and Ardh Satya) and the Padma Shri (1990), Puri’s versatility is evident in his filmography. Through his early films, Puri managed to break the mould of the “lead man”, usually reserved for the more glamorous faces.
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui tweeted, “The Best Actor in World, An inspiration 2 me & many, he was suppose 2 work with me in Manto.Deeply saddened by da news, RIP #OmPuri Saab (sic).”
Hollywood actor Helen Mirren, who worked with Om Puri in the American comedy drama The Hundred-Foot Journey, said “I worked with Om only once on the film A Hundred-Foot Journey, however, once met, he was unforgettable. Om Puri was such a great, expansive, life force of a man, he instantly became a great friend. He was a generous, life loving man. He loved to act, he loved to feed people, and above all he loved his country and its culture. My profession will miss an original, and India will miss a great representative.”
Among the first to reach his residence was his actor friend Anupam Kher, who confirmed the death. He was also present when Puri’s body, which had been brought to his home at Trishul Apartments in Andheri at 5 pm, was taken to Oshiwara crematorium for the last rites at 6.30 pm. Relief Road was completely gridlocked after the ambulance made its way to the crematorium, where it was received by a sea of photographers and camerapersons. Several police personnel had been deployed to manage the crowd on the streets and inside the crematorium.
Puri’s funeral was widely attended by members from the fraternity, both mainstream and art cinema. Govind Nihalani who made six films with Puri, starting with Aakrosh in 1980, Ardh Satya (1983), Party (1984), Aaghat (1985), Drohkaal (1994), and Dev (2004) was one of the first to arrive.
Mita Vashisht, who worked with Puri in Drohkaal; Kabir Khan who was shooting with Puri a few days ago for Tubelight; filmmakers Sudhir Mishra, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Kanu Behl; actors Ranvir Shorey, Mukesh Rishi, Farhan Akhtar, Paresh Rawal, Ila Arun, Shakti Kapoor were also present.
The ceremony was brief: a priest performed the last rites with members of Puri’s family, including his 19-year-old son Ishaan, on a podium inside the crematorium, as visitors streamed past to pay their respects. Puri’s wife Nandita, who, in recent years, had shared an acrimonious relationship with him, was comforted by family members. His first wife, actor and anchor Annu Kapoor’s sister, Seema, was not present.
After his rift with Nandita, Puri had embarked on something of a second innings with Kapoor, and had teamed up with her for Mr Kabaddi, her directorial venture, which went on floors in September last year.
In the midst of the constant flow of people, there was a poignant moment when the Gayatri mantra was recited in unison. By 7:40 pm, Puri’s body was taken for the final act of cremation.
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