We all miss Om Puri very much as an actor.
But to those of us who knew him personally the loss is doubly felt. I remember when Om Puri turned 65 in Albi, France where he was shooting for Lasse Hailstrom’s 100 Foot Journey, the entire unit threw a surprise birthday party for him.
And his co-star Helen Mirren wished him in shuddh Hindi. Not just that . The cake had ‘Om, Janam Din Mubarak’ written on it. This, from a unit composed of French, British and American actors and technicians.
Om was overwhelmed.
He had told me, “It was the best birthday of my life.I don’t recall having so much fun for any of my birthdays ever. There were 40 unit members from Europe and America greeting me in Hindi and singing ‘Happy Birthdy’. I had tears in my eyes.”
The fun had only begun. “They wheeled in a gigantic cake which had ‘Happy Birthday Om’ written on it in Hindi. The ‘Om’ was written in the Hindu symbolic way. I don’t know how they managed it.And how did they got someone to write wishes for me in Hindi?! But they gave me the best birthday of my life. I don’t think I’ll ever have a birthday as pleasurable as this.”