Om Puri has returned from the screening rejuvenated as an actor. At the prestigious Museum Of The Moving Image in New York, Om was honoured with a tribute and a lecture on his oeuvre on August 3.
Says Om Puri, "During the discussion they showed clippings of my films. I felt honoured and well, appreciated. Madhur Jaffrey introduced me at the Museum. It all added up to a feeling of great satisfaction within me."
Om Puri is enjoying the rave reviews he is getting. "The kind of appreciation I have received for The Hundred Foot Journey has resurrected my faith in me as an actor. I haven't been getting too many good offers at home. The Hundred Foot Journey came to me at a time when I had hit rock-bottom in terms of the offers in India and also in my personal life. It was a part of an isolated homeless Indian that I could identify with."
Says the actor, "When during our press interviews in America, Helen was asked about her favourite food, she said Indian. I played a part in that. I introduced her to Indian food. The film revived my joy in the art of cooking."
Shooting with Helen Mirren was a learning experience for Om. "I don't very often get to work with a co-star who understands cinema and the camera so minutely. Helen's husband Taylor Hackford is a reputed director. She lives in a rarefied atmosphere of cinematic enlightenment at home. I am not privileged with the same kind of domestic atmosphere. Working with Helen was enlightening. That she too likes my work was a bonus."
The reviews abroad have referred to Om Puri as the finest actor from India. Does that put a pressure on him?
"Not at all! I completely agree with their assessment," Om shoots back his tongue not quite in his cheek.