Om Puri's greatest contribution lies in the fact that he convinced audiences and filmmakers with his performances to see an actors talent beyond their face, believes his long-time film industry colleague and friend Satish Kaushik.
"(Puris death) is very shocking and unbelievable," said Kaushik, who knew Puri for nearly four decades, adding, "We have lost a friend, a great actor who has been revolutionary in his performances."
Kaushik, who has worked Puri in films and theatre and also co-wrote one of Puris most memorable roles in "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron" said, "I have such great fascination for Om Puri as an actor."
Recalling one of his initial meetings with Puri during the play "Bichchoo" in 1979/80 when Prithvi Theatre had just opened and then working together in "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron", "Mandi" and lately "Jai Ho Democracy", Kaushik said, "He has been so inspiring. His performances have been milestones."
"His greatest contribution has been that when a face like Om Puri was accepted, he actually set a trend, set a mark for actors today ... if actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui are big stars, thanks to Om Puri who convinced audiences with his performances both the audiences and the filmmakers that the talent is much more that you look in an actor. That is his greatest contribution," he told PTI.
"I knew Puri saahab very personally as I have seen his journey very closely because when I landed in Mumbai in 1979 a face like him was trying to get a foothold in the film industry.
"How actually Om Puri has paved for actors like us, that to be accepted by parallel cinema first and then commercial cinema then going international? his journey has been fascinating," he said.
Kaushik said there is much to learn and get inspired from Puri, adding, "The kinds of films he has done, whether serious, comic, pathetic or sad roles, its just amazing!"
"When I did Brick Lane, my first English language film, I just took a DVD of East is East and watched him (Puri) performing that how an Indian actor gets into the skin of character in a British film. That was like a book for me, East is East," he recalled.
Kaushik, who shared a camaraderie with Puri, said, "He had this habit of always patting me and hitting me all the time. He used to feel really happy by twisting my arm and doing things like that. Very, very special relationship (we shared). He was always loving... Whether it was theatre or doing films together or meeting socially it was aways great opportunity to spend time with him."