The sudden demise of legendary Indian actor Om Puri has not only left his fans and fellow artists from Bollywood in shock but, given the international recognition he gained, several well-known international faces have also expressed their grief. The latest to join the chorus is Leslee Udwin, whose documentary “India’s Daughter” was banned in India last year.
“Om was a true champion of women’s rights and again he and I sent much time lamenting the fact that not just in India but around the world women are so abused and exploited, so disrespected and violated – not just physically but emotionally and psychologically as well. Injustice of any kind made Om ji more than angry – it made him deeply sad. So, again anyone who truly loved Om, I urge you to honor his memory by being active in the alleviation of the suffering of women and girls in India (and elsewhere too),” Udwin wrote in a heart-rendering tribute on www.bornofweb.com.
Puri was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, in 1990 and was made an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2004.
“Om has left us. And he has left us heavily bereft and lacking. He was not just one of the best actors in India but also in the world. And more than that, he was also such a hugely special human being. What made him both these rare things, was his enormous heart, and a soul so profound that it imbued everything he said and did and seemed to resonate with an almost audible timbre, like his voice which made his body visibly vibrate when he spoke,” Udwin, who had cast Om Puri in her productions like “East is East & West is West” wrote.
Udwin is a British filmmaker, actress, and producer, who started her career as an actor and initially appeared in the British soap opera “El Dorado”.
“In India, in particular, I often felt he was more at ease with the humblest worker than with the dignitaries we sometimes had to meet. He often spoke of having been so privileged as to have had the generosity of a benefactor without whom he would not have been able to go to drama school and pursue his dream. He was true to himself, loyal to his humble beginnings, genuine in his love of others,” Udwin wrote.