The 66-year-old actor had apparently returned from a party the night before, where he had allegedly consumed liquor.
Mumbai: Veteran Bollywood actor Om Puri died early Friday morning due to cardiac arrest inside his Oshiwara flat. The 66-year-old actor had apparently returned from a party the night before, where he had allegedly consumed liquor.
He went to his Oshiwara flat, where he fell in the kitchen sometime during the night, injuring himself. His driver, who arrived at the flat early Friday morning, found his body. The body was taken to Cooper Hospital and underwent an autopsy. The actor’s last rites were performed in an electric crematorium at around 6.30 pm.
Senior police inspector of Oshiwara police station Subhash Khanvilkar said, “The driver (Mr Mishra) in his statement has said he had to take keys from the neighbour and it was then that they saw the body lying on the floor.” Shabana Azmi along with Javed Akhtar and Ashok Pandit rushed Puri to the hospital but he was declared brought dead. The Asian Age spoke to the workers who were present with Puri the previous night at the party. The workers on condition on anonymity alleged Puri was highly intoxicated and had been dropped home after the party by an actor friend. Ram Avatar, an ex-driver of Puri, recalled his former employer.
“I was to meet him this Sunday but I am saddened I couldn’t meet him one last time. He had helped fund my first daughter’s marriage and had called me to meet him after he came to know that I got my second daughter recently married too.” Sources said Puri had also funded the education of his driver, Mr Mishra. Mr Mishra’s son is now an engineer.
Some of the actors who attended the acclaimed performer’s funeral included Anup Jalota, Johnny Lever, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar, Kanwaljit Singh and Alok Nath. Puri won various awards during his career, including the National Award for Best Actor for the 1983 film Ardh Satya and, the BAFTA award for Best Actor in 1999 and Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award.
Mr Jalota called Puri a global actor. “The greatest thing he did was making acting visible. He worked for a month in my upcoming movie Mr Kabaadi, which will be released in March this year. I don’t think anyone could contribute to the field at a level that he has done,” he said.
Mr Nath said, “He was a person internationally recognised for his work. However, at the age of sitting back and getting rewards for his hard work, he had to undergo troubles in life. It is sad to know that he was found lying in his flat with no one around.”
Dr Ganesh Shinde, the dean of civic-run Cooper Hospital, said, “The post-mortem was done, we have taken samples and sent to Kalina lab. However, the actor had fallen down at his residence due to a massive heart attack. He collapsed on the floor and had injures on the left side of his brain.”
Mr Pandit said Puri was to host a show in the US and he had gone to his residence on Friday to pick him up for a meeting at the US embassy. “But I didn’t know we’ll have to pick up his body,” rued Mr Pandit.