Jaipur, Guess, why did Nandita Puri write her husband Om Puri’s biography – “An Unlikely Hero – Om Puri”? According to the actor, “she found me the most gullible prey – almost like the slowest deer in a herd being chased by a tiger”.
“It was the easiest thing to do,” Om Puri, who claims that he “likes being stripped by my wife”, told the press at Jaipur Literature Festival Thursday.
The actor and his wife were the picture of a perfect couple – as they held court in a corner of the Diggi Palace tackling the press persons who peppered them with queries about movies and the actor’s new biography written by his wife.
“It took me two-and-a-half years to write the book and one year of research,” Nandita said, looking at her husband.
Nandita, a former journalist, still reads his movie script. “I give her my script and give her Rs.500 and she agrees to read them,” the actor said with a grin.
Om Puri still swears by Ardh Satya – the 1983 hit by Govind Nihalani – which painted a grim picture of the Mumbai underworld. “That was a movie which exposed the Indian government machinery and the underworld. My role was kind of a catalyst,” he said.
What is the actor’s dream role? “I want Amitabh Bachchan to leave some of characters for me. I want him to tell me – ‘Yeh roles tumhare liye bacha hai (these are the roles left for you)’,” Om Puri said.
He rued that the new Bollywood movies lacked literary content.
“The new movies are not rich in literature. Directors like Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt and V. Shantaram used to make cinema enriched in literature. The new cinema may be getting global recognition, but they are mostly comments on the non-resident Indians and Indians living in the Gulf. We want the world to appreciate our work,” he said.
Praising a handful of new directors, Puri said: “Directors like Ashutosh Gowarikar, Vishal Bharadwaj and Rajkumar Hirani are doing a good job – making movies that are not run-of-the mill commercial potboilers. But they make up only 25 per cent of filmmakers. People say the audience demands such cinemas – but in that case movies like ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Chak De India’ would not have broken the box office.”
Puri said he was willing to play “unconditional and meaningful roles in television – not the usual saas-bahu ones”.