East is East star Om Puri dies from suspected heart attack

Om Puri, who is one of India's most revered actors, has died at the age of 66 from a suspected heart attack

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Om Puri

Om Puri

'East is East' actor Om Puri has died at the age of 66.

The acclaimed Indian actor reportedly suffered a heart attack after he returned to his Mumbai home from a film set on Thursday (05.01.17), a family member told the BBC.

The star's career spanned five decades, covering many landmark Indian films in the 1980s, and he also was able to crossover into British cinema and one of his most memorable roles came in 1999 cult drama 'East is East', in which he played Pakistani immigrant Zaheed 'George' Khan the patriarch of a mixed race family living in Salford, Manchester.

His performance as the domestic abuser, who is struggling to cope with his seven children's wishes to adopt British culture rather than follow his Muslim beliefs, earned him a Best Actor in a Leading Role BAFTA Award nomination.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office led the tributes to the actor following the news of his passing, posting on Twitter: "The Prime Minister condoles the passing away of actor Om Puri & recalls his long career in theatre & films."

Actor Kamal Haasan also took to the social networking site to pay tribute to Puri, writing: "So long Omji. Prided myself on being his friend peer & admirer. Who dare say my Om Puri is no more? He lives through his work. (sic)"

Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar tweeted: "You will live in our hearts forever through the impressions you have left with your versatility. We will miss you. RIP #OmPuri. (sic)"

Actor-and-martial artist Akshay Kumar wrote: "Sad to hear about the passing away of the very talented Om Puri, my co-actor in many films ... heartfelt condolences to the family. #RIP"

And actor Anupam Kher posted: "I have known #OmPuri for d last 43yrs. For me he'll always b a great actor, a kind & generous man. And that is how would shud remember him." (sic)

Among Puri's other British film credits is his cameo in Richard Attenborough's 1982 epic on Mahatma Gandhi, role in horror film 'Wolf' - in which he appeared with Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer - and 'The Ghost and the Darkness'.

He also appeared alongside Nicholson and the late Patrick Swayze in 'City of Joy' and other Hollywood films such as 'The Ghost and the Darkness' and 'Charlie Wilson's War' - which starred Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

In 2004, he was awarded an honorary OBE for his contribution to the British film industry.

And in India, he was best-known for his performances in films like 'Ardh Satya', 'Sadgati', 'Paar' and the satirical 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro'.

In Twitter posts made two weeks ago, Puri had reflected on his life and career, stating: "I have no regrets at all. I have done quite well for myself. I didn't have a conventional face, but I have done well, and I am proud of it. I have been in the film industry for 35 years, and everyone, including the spot-boys, will vouch for my character - Om Puri."

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