Crossover cinema must relate to people: Om Puri

Gurgaon: One of the first Indian actors to work in international movies, Om Puri feels crossover cinema has a bright future if made on "relatable issues". A veteran of over 250 films, he also advises newcomers to complete their education before joining the "speculative" movie industry.

"The future of crossover cinema is very bright, but we must realise that crossover cinema can only survive if we talk about common problems. If other people are not able to relate, obviously the films won`t be successful," 60-year-old Om told reporters in an interview here.

He was here to promote the film ‘West is West’, which has just released here and is a sequel to the crossover film ‘East is East’.

Om made his presence felt in the international arena with movies like "City of Joy" (1992), opposite late actor Patrick Swayze; "Wolf" (1994) alongside actor Jack Nicholson and "The Ghost and the Darkness" (1996) opposite Val Kilmer. In 2007, he appeared as General Zia-ul-Haq in "Charlie Wilson`s War", which stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

He also featured in crossover films like "Life Goes On" and "Bollywood Calling".

After struggling a lot, Om has achieved what he has today; so he is convinced that youngsters "must have a parallel profession because it is a very speculative industry. A lot of people come here and they don`t make it; so if they don`t make it, they have to have something to go back to."

Before taking the plunge into the world of glitz and glamour, wannabes should also complete their formal education and train themselves as actor, advises Om.

"New actors should complete their formal education and they should go for proper training in acting. I went to the National School of Drama (NSD) for three years, then to the Film and Television Institute of India also, as it is a perfect learning platform," he said.

A respected name in filmdom now, Om made a humble beginning in 1976 with "Ghashiram Kotwal", based on a Marathi play by the same name and the Ambala-born actor so far had a fruitful stay in the movie industry.

"My journey so far has been satisfactory. I don`t brag about myself and about my work and I don`t even want to. People will come to know about it themselves. I have done 250 films out of which 30 will be remembered even when I am gone," he said.

His performance in off-beat films like "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron" (1983), "Ardha Satya" (1983), which won him a national award, "Aakrosh" (1984) is seen as milestones in his acting career.

But Om tried his luck in mainstream films too and was appreciated for his comic role in "Hera Pheri" and after that bagged many such roles. And he feels commercial cinema always has its eyes on the box-office and "they also do lot of compromises; but in realistic films there are less compromises."

"Commercial cinema will not feel shy to put six songs that have nothing to do with the theme of the film, but realistic cinema will not do that. They make films to be successful, but not at a cost," added the actor, who was last seen in "Teen Thay Bhai".

Nowdays he has more mainstream movies in his kitty, including "Don 2", "Choron Ki Baraat", "Bin Bulaye Baraati" and the "Agneepath" remake. He will also be seen in the issue-based movie "Khap", which is about honour killings.


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