Om Puri, the superlative actor of Indian cinema and winner of multiple National and International awards turns 65 today. Glamsham.Com wishes him many happy returns of the day.
Om Puri’s versatility as an actor can be judged from the fact that he has won the prestigious Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to The British Film Industry, a rare feat achieved by few actors of Indian Cinema. But readers would be stunned to know that entering Bollywood was not a cakewalk for Om Puri. Reasons were not just lack of funds but his menacing looks too!
In an interview Om Puri recalled, ”On the insistence of my friend Naseeruddin Shah, I decided to join FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) hoping to win Punjab government scholarship. But to my bad luck the scholarship was declined and I was left dejected. However one of my friend, Jugnu Singh, requested a businessman to sponsor me and he agreed.”
Thus Om Puri was excited and began preparation for the FTII interview. At the interview Om Puri floored the judges by narrating a scene from Shakespeare’s play ‘Julius Caesar’. Om looked confident of winning an admission but to his dismay the board selectors rejected him as they found his face neither suitable for a hero nor a comedian or a villain! However one of the selectors was in favor of Om Puri. He was none other but Girish Karnad, eminent actor and filmmaker, who argued in support of Om saying acting has nothing to do with looks of an actor. All thanks to Karnad that Om could secure admission at FTII.
However obstacles in Om Puri’s life had not ended because though Om Puri had secured admission at FTII, the sponsorship guaranteed by Jugnu Singh had not arrived and once again, Om was in dilemma. Here again Girish Karnad came to his rescue. He helped Om Puri secure a role in a children film called CHOR CHOR CHHUP JAAYE, which is officially Om Puri’s debut film.
The film fetched him his first remuneration of Rs 3000/-, which eventually helped Om Puri pay his fees at FTII.