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Two Much

Thanks to the high-pitched drama over Om Puri’s biography played out repeatedly on television screens,a great deal of the actor’s liaisons...

Written by Alaka Sahani |
November 25, 2009 12:53:18 am

Honestly speaking,the Puris could have spared us the details

Thanks to the high-pitched drama over Om Puri’s biography played out repeatedly on television screens,a great deal of the actor’s liaisons—with women at various stages of his life—have become public much before the release of Unlikely Hero: Om Puri. Still,a lot more revelations were waiting to tumble out. And what could have been a better occasion than a rather grand launch of the biography written by the actor’s wife Nandita in Mumbai on Monday evening.

After the reported storm in the Puri household,the launch seems to be an occasion to celebrate,bond and,most importantly,to put the record straight. Nandita was the star of the evening graced by Amitabh Bachchan,who released the book; Girish Karnad; who wanted to surprise Om; and other dignitaries from the film industry. Praises were showered on her from all quarters for “honest and objective writing”. The biographer admitted to have “taken Om Puri out of the closet by locking the wife” in her.

Leading the band of admirers was Om. He extolled his biographer-wife as “a brilliant writer,but lazy” in between sharing the story of their romance. “I request her friends present here to call her every day and ask her how much she has written that day,” pleaded the actor,who was proud to give details of the journalist-turned-writer’s achievements. The admiration was accompanied by vociferous defending of his wife who according to him was a pawn in the evil claws of the electronic media that chose to highlight only certain aspects of his life.

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“The interviewer could have asked Nandita what the book is about,” the actor complained. The reports could have highlighted his successful journey to the film world from an impoverished childhood in Ambala,Haryana,suggested Om as well as Pramod Kapoor,publisher of Unlikely Hero and head of Roli Books. “Very few biographers have the courage to tell the truth,” said Kapoor,who felt the truth has been trivialised.

The truth certainly prevailed the rest of the evening. In the next edition of the book,Om wants more space dedicated to two more women who have played a significant role in his life—Mala,national award-winning costume designer,and his ex-wife Seema Kapoor. “To get a divorce from Seema,my lawyer asked me to charge her with infidelity.

Prodded by him I broke the lock of her cupboard and fished out a letter of a common friend. That was produced by the lawyer as the proof of her infidelity. I’m ashamed of my action and guilty,” choked Om,with moist eyes.

But before the audience could digest this,the actor was back to sharing assorted trivia almost instantly,like not using glycerin in Govind Nihalani’s Drohkaal.

Om then proclaimed he was still reeling under guilt—for making Nandita cry and upsetting their son Ishaan. Pat came another apology to the boy.

Trust the baritone of Bachchan to lighten the confession-heavy atmosphere. As he read out passages from the book—dotted with sepia-tinged photos of Om—the extraordinary life of one of India’s finest actors unfolded.

However,the evening of revelations was still not over. A bespectacled Ishaan,read out a note on his loving Baba,who snores very loudly and hates having a bath.

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