Nagpur: Om Puri, the very talented actor we just lost tragically, was a man under siege for the last few weeks of his life.
Some thoughtless comments of his, made under duress on a talk show, were coming back to haunt him badly. Added to that his pro – Pakistan (as some ‘nationalists’ saw it) statements made him a hate target indeed.
“Whenever I came to Pakistan, I experienced nothing but Hospitality.” These were one of the many beautiful words said by the late Indian actor Om Puri as he praised Pakistani hospitality in the last year. A rare sane voice in India, Om Puri died a couple of days ago. His death was initially reported to be a heart attack by the officials but now major Indian news outlets are hinting a foul play.
Hindustan Times has reported that when his body was brought to the hospital he was seen to have a head injury. Deccan Chronicle goes even ahead with hinting a foul play saying that the police have initiated an investigation into the death. They have also interrogated the driver and domestic help of Om Puri.
Om Puri who has been an acclaimed and talented actor who acted not just in many unforgettable Bollywood movies, but also made his mark in Hollywood. He has even worked in Pakistani movies.
But this sensitive Actor was under severe criticism because of his recent remarks which were widely misunderstood. People even accused him of being an alcoholic and speaking ‘under influence’.
While trying to defend the inclusion of Pakistani artists in Indian movies, he was being bombarded with questions on an Indian talk show. He was asked about an Indian soldier’s death in an attack and he said that the soldier was there on his own will, no one forced him to go there. That didn’t go too well with some Indians and some electronic media. He was heckled and verbally slapped by Arnab Goswami on Times Now who would not accept Om Puri saying ” I am guilty; I am ashamed” again and again.
He had already apologized a dozen times to Indian masses for his words. He even went to the village of the dead soldier, cried and apologized to the family of the dead. But that wasn’t enough.
The abuse didn’t stop since it had a background – created by Om Puri himself who was too candid for his own good. In a recently made video he is seen questioning the Indian hypocracy over cow slaughter. “We ban Indians from eating beef, but we allow its export in a big way because it earns us Dollars! People world over eat beef, why should anyone prevent Indians from eating it?” he asked. Om Puri showed the other side of the coin to the Indian masses. He showed a mirror to rising fanaticism in India. He was countering the massively popular hate Pakistan rhetoric with logic and sanity.
Apart from his recent stint in a Pakistani movie, ‘Actor in Law’, he visited Pakistan almost half a dozen times and said he will continue going because of the love he gets. He is even reported to have said ” I will shift to Pakistan then…”.
Now, some theories are doing the rounds that his pro Pakistan stance was the cause of his ‘murder’.
There are three different claims: 1) Om Puri had a heart attack and died on the spot. 2) Om Puri was hit on the head while he was drunk, which lead to his death. 3) Om Puri was strangled to death by RAW agents who wanted to avenge his comments about Pakistan.
There were many twitter posts saying very harsh things about Om Puri; some were attributed to fellow film star Anupam Kher even.
“Om Puri – you are a coward who needs to be dealt in a filmy way” said one that also tagged Anupam.
The question people are beginning to ask now – including his family – Has he been ‘dealt with?’