Om Rajesh Puri Wiki, Biography, Age, Family, Height, Death, Net Worth, Fast Facts

Om Rajesh Puri Wiki, Biography

Om Prakash Puri (18 October 1950 – 6 January 2017) was an Indian actor who appeared in mainstream commercial Hindi films as well as Bengali, Kannada, English, Punjabi and one Telugu film, as well as independent and art films and also starred in several international cinema. He is widely regarded as one of the finest actors in the Indian cinema. He won two National Film Awards for Best Actor, two Filmfare Awards and India’s fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri in 1990. In 2004, he was made an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

He is best known for his author-backed roles in films like Aakrosh (1980), Arohan (1982), Ardh Satya (1983), television films like Sadgati (1981) and Tamas (1987), light-hearted roles in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) and Chachi 420 (1997) and several mainstream commercial films throughout his career. He had various collaborations with director Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani. Puri also appeared in non-Indian productions in the United States, Pakistan and Britain. In the 1990s, he appeared in My Son the Fanatic (1997) and the comedy drama East Is East (1999), receiving a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Puri was born to a Punjabi Hindu Family in Ambala. His father, Tek Chand Puri, worked on the railways and in the Indian Army. Puri’s parents received no birth certificate and had no records, so his family was unsure of his birth date. But his mother told him he had been born two days after the Hindu festival Dussehra. When he began his schooling, his uncle chose 9 March 1950 as his “official” birthday. However, as an adult when he moved to Mumbai, Puri looked up when Dussehra was celebrated in 1950, to establish his birth date as 18 October.

Puri came from an underprivileged background. When he was six years old, his father who was a railway employee was put behind bars on allegations of theft of cement. This resulted in their family becoming homeless. To make ends meet, Puri’s brother, Ved Prakash Puri, worked as a coolie (railway porter) and Puri worked in a local tea shop, did odd jobs and collected coal from nearby railways tracks to support his family. He and his brother’s children were later brought up by a maid servant, Shanti.

Puri’s first film was Chor Chor Chhup ja, a children’s film. During this time, to make ends meet he also worked at the Actors’ Studio, where future actors such as Gulshan Grover and Anil Kapoor would be his students.

Subsequently, Puri worked in numerous Indian films, as well as many films produced in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Puri made his debut in the mainstream films genre 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. 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).

Puri married director/writer Seema Kapoor, the sister of actor Annu Kapoor, in 1991, but their marriage ended after eight months.

In 1993, he married journalist Nandita Puri, with whom he had a son named Ishaan. In 2009, Nandita wrote a biography of her husband titled Unlikely Hero: The Story of Om Puri. Upon the book’s publication, Puri spoke of his anger at the inclusion of explicit details of his previous relationships. In 2013, Nandita filed an allegation of domestic violence against him, and the two opted for a judicial separation shortly afterwards.

His second wife reported that they kept a “secular house”, but that “while Om is not ritualistic, he does not mind others being so”. He took “solace in spiritual reading”, particularly in the writings of spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, many of whose books he shared with friends. Puri seldom took politics seriously, and often found relaxation by cooking or gardening. In an interview to Rajya Sabha TV in 2012, Om Puri spoke about his interest in agriculture and cooking, and suggested that his dream was to open a dhaba by the name Daal Roti.


In October 2016, Puri appeared for a debate on a news channel regarding a Hindi film producer’s ban on Pakistani actors after the Uri attack. During the debate, he made insulting comments about Indian soldiers which led to heavy criticism on social media. However, Puri later apologised for his comments.


On 6 January 2017, Puri died at the age of 66, after having a heart attack at his residence in Andheri, Mumbai. He was honoured at the 89th Academy Awards in memoriam segment for his contribution in world cinema.

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