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Nandita Puri to celebrate 20 years of Om Puri's East Is East


Directed by Damien O'Donell, the British film will also be screened at LIFFT India Filmotsav.

Om Puri in East Is East (1999)

Suparna Thombare

During a candid conversation at the ongoing LIFFT India Filmotsav in Lonavla, Nandita Puri spoke about taking late veteran actor Om Puri's legacy forward with the foundation named after him, and taking the 1999 film East Is East around the world.

The Om Puri Foundation, which was launched in 2017 at the 70th Cannes International Film Festival's British Pavillion is his former wife Nandita's passion project.

Om Puri passed away on 6 January 2017.

Humility, passion, respect... three traits younger artistes can imbibe from Om Puri

In an exclusive conversation with Cinestaan.com, Nandita opened up about all the work that is being done by the foundation.

"The idea is to take his films to schools, colleges, universities, and festivals around the world. To keep his legacy alive," she says.

Earlier this year New Castle, UK, had it's first international film festival and they paid tribute to Om Puri by showing three of his British films. Actress Caroline Goodall spoke in his memory and they even served his favourite food like palak paneer and chole bhature.

Nandita Puri at LIFFT India Filmotsav

2019 will be even more special as it is the 20th year of one of Om Puri's most known international films, East Is East (1999).

Nandita is focusing on taking the film to as many schools and festivals as possible.

"We want to celebrate 20 years of East Is East by taking it to many places across the world. Details are being finalised. It is one of his most iconic films," says Nandita.

Directed by Damien O'Donell, the British film will also be screened at LIFFT India Filmotsav.

This is one part of the Foundation's work. "The other bit is his philosophy. He came from a very deprived background. So we instituted the Om Puri Fellowship at NSD [National School of Drama] this year for a deserving candidate who wants to work in theatre for two years. After coming out of NSD he (Om Puri) wanted to work in theatre but he had no money. He couldn't stay in Delhi so he went to FTII [Film and Television Institute of India] in Pune, which was going through funding problems at the time," she says.

"And we have instituted the Om Puri Scholarship at FTII for the most deserving candidate too," she adds.  

Filmmaker Shyam Benegal is also one of the founding fathers of the Foundation.

The Foundation also provides for education of farmers' children.

"Another thing close to his heart were the farmers. He always believed that their children should have the right and access to education. So we give out Om Puri Kisaan Award. This year we have four awards - three to farmers' children from Maharashtra and one to a girl child from Bundelkhand."

There is also the Om Puri annual memorable lecture which happened in August in Mumbai, featuring Govind Nahalani, Benegal and Raveena Tandon.

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