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Veteran Indian Actor Om Puri Dies at 66

Om Puri, the veteran Indian actor whose career spanned “Gandhi” and “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” has died, according to Indian media reports. He was 66.

From middle class beginnings, Puri studied at the Film and Television Institute of India and debuted in 1976 Marathi film “Ghashiram Kotwal.” But with a large number of roles his career blossomed and he became a superb character actor. His career spanned work in Indian regional cinema, Bollywood, live theater in India, British film and television, and Hollywood.

He received an OBE in the U.K. and India’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri.

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who may not have agreed with Puri’s secular political views, offered his praise. “The Prime Minister condoles the passing away of actor #OmPuri and recalls his long career in theatre and films: PMO” it was reported on social media.

Manoj Bajpayee, one of India’s finest actors of the new generation, tweeted his appreciation. “Completely shocked to hear that om puri ji is no more. may his soul be blessed with peace! it will take a long time to come to terms with his demise.”

Cameron Bailey, executive director at the Toronto International Film Festival, was quick to  pay tribute. Via Twitter, Bailey called Puri “an unforgettable screen presence in the UK, Canada, Hollywood and throughout India.”

Puri reached worldwide audiences with British independent drama “East is East,” and had recently completed big budget “Viceroy’s House,” directed by Gurinder Chadha.

More to follow.

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