Indian actor Om Puri, whose repertoire as an actor reflected a rare realism and was popular for films like East Is East, Gandhi, City of Joy and Wolf, was honoured at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony in the “In Memoriam” montage on Sunday.
Om, who died after a heart attack in Mumbai in earlier this year, got a musical tribute by Grammy and Tony-nominated singer and songwriter Sara Bareilles. She delivered a special performance of the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now. A visibly emotional actor Jennifer Aniston introduced the memoriam segment.
Om was remembered at the awards ceremony, which was held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. He was included in the annual montage along with Carrie Fisher, Prince, Gene Wilder, Michael Cimino, Patty Duke, Garry Marshall, Anton Yelchin, Mary Tyler Moore, Curtis Hanson and John Hurt.
Sara created an emotional moment as she rendered the song in memory of all the departed souls. While not in the video presentation, actor Bill Paxton, who died the night before, was mentioned by Jennifer before Sara took the stage.
Om was known for his deep baritone and different acting style, as well as craggy, pockmarked but distinctive face. He had an affinity towards socially relevant cinema.
A National School of Drama alumnus, Om nurtured an international career, which started with a cameo in Richard Attenborough’s iconic Gandhi. Among some of his British films were My Son the Fanatic, East Is East and The Parole Officer. He also appeared in Hollywood films such as City of Joy, Wolf and The Ghost and the Darkness.
A Padma Shri awardee and National Award-winner, Om was also made the honourary officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the British film industry.