Odia cine industry remembers beloved Omji

Bhubaneswar/Mumbai: Saddened by the death of veteran actor Om Puri due to a heart attack this morning, cine personalities of the Odia movie industry remembered the legendary artist with a grief-stricken heart.

Director Basant Sahu stated, “After getting the information on Omji’s demise, I am left speechless. Undoubtedly, India has lost a fantastic actor. As a viewer, I can say no actor has the versatile acting talent like Omji. He can play the role of any character, be it a villain, comedian or any other type of role. He can act in any character in parallel, commercial or art film. We cannot believe he is no more among us.”

Sahu further said, “For the first time in India, Omji was the first actor who got popularity because of his acting not glamour quotient. He was neither having a good health nor physique when he started his career. The trend of choosing actors only for acting skills without considering good looks picked up only after the craze for Omji.”

Sahu added, “I met Om Puri for the first time when he was in Cuttack during the initial days of his career to act in a Hindi film directed by late Biplab Roy Chowdhury. Apart from this, I had met Omji when he was in Odisha to attend award functions of Tarang as a guest.”

Recalling Om Puri’s connections with Odisha, Sahu added, “The legendary actor was batch mate of Bijay Mohanty at the National School of Drama (NSD).”

“When he was at Tanala Sahi slum of Cuttack to act in the Hindi film, I met him and got impressed with the way he chatted with us. He was so down to earth in his behaviour,” Sahu stated.

Expressing his sadness following the death of Om Puri, Movie Producer Nila Madhab Panda said, “For me Omji is not only an actor as his personality is way above than acting. He makes people around laugh and never tells lies. After his death, there is no multi-talented actor left behind.”

Panda added, “I had met Omji last during the Edinburgh film festival where we had a dinner. I must say his spirit towards life at such age is unmatchable with a person of much lesser age like me.”

“Omji had given a voice over for my one of the documentaries recently,” Panda remembered.

Also read: No hard and fast rules in the pursuit of art: Om Puri

Omji’s acting in Hollywood, regional movies are incredible besides his contribution towards Bollywood industry, Panda said.

“We cannot believe a big-hearted person like Omji passed away because of a heart attack,” Panda concluded.

Bijay Mohanty, a veteran actor and NSD batch mate of Om Puri, said, “The demise of Omji is an irreparable loss for the Indian movie industry. Nothing can be more tragic for me as I have lost a friend. I will pray Lord Jagannath to rest his soul in peace.”

Mohanty added, “As a person, Omji is the finest one. He did not have hypocrisy.”

Also read: Om Puri to play Bal Gangadhar Tilak onscreen

Expressing similar views, another veteran actor Ajit Das said, “Omji is a idol for us. While studying at the NSD, I was having problems in Hindi accent and used to seek advice from Omji to improve on that area. He used to call me ‘Ajitey’.”

“One of his strengths is his unique voice, which will keep him alive in our memory in many years to come,” Das added.

Another actor in Odia cine industry Pradyumna Lenka said, “I got a chance to meet Omji beacuse of my closeness with actor Bijay Mohanty. Omji’s behaviour showed how down to earth person he was.”