East Is East actor dies from heart attack aged 66

Stars are shocked and saddened over his sudden death

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Stars have paid tribute to Bollywood actor Om Puri, star of cult British film East Is East, who has died aged 66.

The prolific actor, whose career spanned four decades, suffered a heart attack after returning to his home in Mumbai from a film set on Thursday.

Leading the tributes were his former co-stars and others in the film industry.

Dame Helen Mirren and Om Puri attend the gala screening of The Hundred Foot Journey (Anthony Devlin/PA)

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Archie Panjabi, who played Puri’s daughter in Bafta-winning East Is East, paid tribute.

Emmerdale actor Chris Bisson, who also starred in the film as one of his children, said he had been an inspiration:

East Is East and Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol called the star a “dear soul”.

Kunal Nayyar, best-known for starring in US sitcom The Big Bang Theory, wrote a message to Puri.

Priyanka Chopra, who appeared with Puri in 2006 Hindi film Don, shared a picture of the two of them together on her Instagram page.

She wrote: “The end of an era …. The legacy lives on.. RIP #OmPuri #roma #mrMalik #don”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first to share a tribute to Puri, saying: “The Prime Minister condoles the passing away of actor Om Puri & recalls his long career in theatre & films.”

Puri’s death was announced by Bollywood director Ashoke Pandit on Friday, who said that he was “sad and shocked”.

Puri had won a slew of national awards and international fame for his work in several critically acclaimed films during his prestigious career.

His breakthrough film was the 1983 gritty drama Ardh Satya, or Half Truth, about a young policeman’s crisis of conscience as he deals with the nexus of crime and politics in India.

Puri had a small role in Richard Attenborough’s film Gandhi, based on the life of the Indian freedom leader Mohandas Gandhi.

He also acted in several Hollywood films, including City Of Joy, Wolf and Charlie Wilson’s War.

Om Puri and Ila Arun (Yui Mok/PA)

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Puri won plaudits for his portrayal of tough but loving Pakistani patriarch George Khan in the 1999 comedy drama East Is East, for which he was nominated for a best actor Bafta. More recently, he starred alongside Dame Helen Mirren in the 2014 comedy The Hundred-Foot Journey.

He appeared in the critically acclaimed television adaptation of White Teeth in 2002 and later reprised his role as George Khan in the 2010 sequel West Is West.

Puri was made an honorary officer of the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to British cinema in 2004.

He will be cremated later on Friday, the Associated Press reported.