Special tribute to Om Puri at US museum

A scene from The Hundred-Foot Journey
A scene from The Hundred-Foot Journey

NEW YORK: Veteran actor Om Puri will be the focus of a special tribute program which will also have a preview screening of his latest film “The Hundred-Foot Journey”, in which he co-stars with Helen Mirren.

Puri, 63, will appear at the Museum of the Moving Image on August 3 for a conversation about his career moderated by actress and writer Madhur Jaffrey.

The tribute program, presented with clips of Puri’s finest performances, will be followed by the preview screening of “The Hundred-Foot Journey”.

“‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ is a warm, richly textured film, and a showcase for Om Puri, who has a memorable role opposite Helen Mirren,” says David Schwartz, the museum’s chief curator.

“The evening at the museum is a great opportunity to pay tribute to one of the world’s most beloved and admired screen actors,” he says.

In “The Hundred-Foot Journey”, an adaptation of the book by Richard C Morais and directed by Lasse Hallstrom, the opening of a new Indian restaurant in the south of France next to a famous Michelin-starred eatery is cause for an all-out war between the two establishments.

Puri plays the role of a patriarch of a family displaced from India.

‘Helen Mirren is my Smita Patil’

Talking of his co-star, Om Puri compares veteran British actress Helen Mirren with Smita Patil.

The film also stars Manish Dayal and Juhi Chawla.

“The special thing in this film would be that I am acting with Helen Mirren and they fall in love with each other. She is my Smita Patil,” Puri said.

The film will have a romantic angle between Puri, 63, and Mirren.

“It (film) has senior citizens’ love angle which is tender and compassionate. There is no sexuality in it. We also danced together… We did Waltz. I was very nervous as I am not a dancer. But we moved well. She helped me,” the actor said.

Off screen, Puri and Mirren shared a good rapport but there was no conversation on films as such.

“She had admiration for me. She is a wonderful co-star. I cooked meal for her two-three times and she loved the Indian food. We were living far from each other, she was living in the countryside, I was living in the city (while shooting in France). It was quite a distance. So whatever chat we had was on the sets during free time,” Puri said.

Ace Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, American talk show host-actress-producer Oprah Winfrey and TV-film producer Juliet Blake are producing the film.

“I still haven’t met him (Steven Spielberg). He did not come on the sets. Only Oprah Winfrey was there… She had come for three days. She is a very nice, pleasant person. She greets you in Hindi saying Namaste,” Puri said.

“She said she will go to Rishikesh. She is into spirituality now. I gave her a book, ‘Blue Mountain’, that I was reading,” he added.-PTI