Did you know? Om Puri ran a chai kiosk in his childhood

Did you know? Om Puri ran a chai kiosk in his childhood

Narrating his childhood struggles, the Bollywood legend shared his father was sent to prison when Puri was six years old
19 Dec, 2015

LAHORE: Indian thespian Om Puri has said he has got so much love and respect in Pakistan that he would like to come here every year.

“There are two locks on Pakistan and India sides and the keys to these locks are in the hands of Nawaz Sharif and Modi. Unlocking these will afford people on both sides an opportunity to interact with each other,” he said in a lighter vein. He was recollecting his film journey memories at the International Film Festival at the Alhamra Art Center, The Mall on Friday.

Narrating his childhood memories and struggle in early life, he said when he was six his father, who was a railway employee, was put behind bars on allegation of cement theft at the railways store. “We had to vacate the railway quarter and my mother rented out a room. She sent my elder brother to railway station to work as coolie and I was sent to a kiosk to serve tea to customers,” he said and jocularly remarked: “If I had a tea shop, I would have been the prime minister of India.”

Says he would love to visit Pakistan every year

Mentioning his early days at the National School of Drama, he said the school not only taught how to act but also built our character. He made mention of a teacher who played a pivotal role in “building up my personality”. Consulting music and reading material in libraries was mandatory at the NSD, he added.

He told the audience that his first film was Chor Chor Chhup Ja. He also talked about his friendship with Naseeruddin Shah who he met at the institute. He also shared with the audience how Neelam Man Singh, a known theatre actress and director, helped him get admission to the film institute at a time when he was facing penury. Meanwhile, he got a job at Actors Studio, where he used to teach speech and among his pupils were Anil Kapoor, Gulshan Grover and many other famous Indian artistes.

Since he was struggling to become part of the mainstream cinema, he said, Naseeruddin Shah took him to Shayam Benigal and he also did stage plays and Punjabi cinema. “People still remember my Punjabi movies Chan Perdesi and Long Da Lashkara.”

“I was recognised with the film Aakrosh in 1981 for which I got Rs10,000,” Mr Puri said.

Speaking about his experience of the Western cinema after commercial and art movies, he said his character in City of Joy was a good experience and he learnt how to drive a rickshaw for the particular role in the film.

Speaking about his role in film “Machis”, his eyes turned teary while recalling that some of the dialogues of the film were immensely moving.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2015


Truth Serum Dec 19, 2015 11:25am
He can stay in Pakistan permanently. All these guys find love and respect in Pakistan, once nobody asks for them anymore in India.
Historicevents Dec 19, 2015 11:35am
Mr Om Puri you are nice friend,very true and soft spoken, your speech signals that you are a ambassador from Gandhi's India. Mahatma Gandhi has great respect for every human being irrespective of caste,creed,religion. There are more than 100 books on Gandhi available, just ask your friends in Pakistan to read some, this will accelerate more friendship between Pakistanis & Indians.
Gurjeet Brar Tohada Parona Dec 19, 2015 11:45am
The best actor with best voice and dialogue delivery.
Parvez Dec 19, 2015 12:25pm
Om Puri and Naseerudin Shah.........not only great actors but great human beings as well.
vin Dec 19, 2015 01:02pm
He is a true follower of religion of peace.
Rizwan Dec 19, 2015 01:04pm
Sir a very warm welcome to Pakistan.. Our nation appreciates your work and we are a big fan of yours. You are truly a big actor and a gentleman too because you don't hesitate talking about your past.
Peshawari Munda Dec 19, 2015 02:35pm
@Truth Serum,,,This is an extremely rude of ya!
Utpal Dec 19, 2015 02:45pm
It is n ot only Om Puri Sir, but I am a common man from Kolkata, I have also love and high respect for Pakistan. And believe me I am not the only one, there are lots who are like me, you our Pakistani brothers and sisters what you think?
KD Dec 19, 2015 02:59pm
@Truth Serum what makes you think nobody is asking for him in India. He was, he is and he will always be one of the finest artists that India has ever produced.
Ajay Ladkani Dec 19, 2015 04:15pm
@Truth Serum he will starve in Pakistan as most pak artists are working in Bollywood.
Akram Dec 19, 2015 04:24pm
@Ajay Ladkani . No one starves in Pakistan. Come and see, or ask Puri when he returns.
SA Chandio Dec 19, 2015 05:29pm
I'm pretty sure he's nice person but did you know Pashto movies super star Badar Muneer was driver before getting his first chance in the movie!!!???
Tauseef Dec 19, 2015 05:30pm
@Utpal I can tell you that people in Pakistan want peace but there is a deep-rooted suspicion of India/Indians in most Pakistanis mind. We are the same people but it is tragic that we hate each other. Maybe, a little bit of prosperity in both countries will change mindset that is so rigid and regressive at the same time.
probono publico Dec 19, 2015 05:33pm
Om Puri as well like PM Modi and many others are grassroot individuals from South Asia that they developed themselves due to their hard work and sincerity of purpose, bless them.
M.Saeed Dec 19, 2015 07:04pm
Another rise of a chai-wala in India!
rich Dec 19, 2015 07:32pm
only in india and usa u can be a tea boy and yet rise to be graet in ur country eg puri saab, Pm saab
Zulfi Dec 19, 2015 08:31pm
Making chai seems to advance ones career in India (examples Modi, Om Puri)
GAWAL MANDI YA Dec 19, 2015 08:50pm
For someone to proudly tell about his journey and tell it with pride being from a poor family and their struggles,and never forgetting where he came from,I cannot help but have respect for Mr.Om Puri,he is spreading the message of peace.I consider him as a ambassador of peace,people like Om Puri are needed to get over this hump of tu tu main main and actually work toward whats more important,the people,their welfare,their education,their well being,their futures,there is no future if both sides continue to ready themselves to wipe each other out,whats good in it,you are fighting over land that actually belongs to the people,so stop all this already,think about the people who actually put you there to make a difference in their lives.These politicians need to stop being selfish and think long term.
Historicevents Dec 19, 2015 08:55pm
@Utpal .Thanks Utpal,how's Kolkatta these days,how's Park St,and the restaurants there like Blue Fox,Magnolia,I am talking about say 45 years back,when we spelt Calcutta.Anyway be assured people of Pakistan too love India and Indians.You are cordially invited to visit Pakistan,and see the historic places,as well as old historic archaeological sites,including Mandirs,and Gurduwaras.
Faiyaz Dec 20, 2015 03:33am
@Ajay Ladkani are you for real! If you really think this then I pity your ignorance!
Saeed Khan Dec 20, 2015 04:22am
I love him. He is great. He should be given the freedom of Pakistan medal.
Zack Dec 20, 2015 09:23am
Mr. Om Puri.. God bless you, Please run for the office in India then may be we will have hopes of peace.
Shahid Dec 20, 2015 09:57am
@Utpal this is your simplicity and the height of Moral we would love to love India if we get the respect from your government otherwise there is no reason to dislike. Let's remain simple not to search the reason of hate follow the stars
imtiaz Dec 20, 2015 09:59am
i like mr Om puri
Heart Broken Dec 21, 2015 12:55am
@Utpal I wish we could meet