Born in in 1950, Puri attended the Film and Television Institute of India as well as National School of Drama, and later made his film debut in the 1976 film “Ghashiram Kotwal.” He quickly followed it up with award-winning performances in films like “Aakrosh” in 1980, for which he won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award, “Arohan” in 1982 and “Ardh Satya” in 1983, for which he won the National Film Award for Best Actor two years in a row.
Besides his many character roles in Bollywood film, Puri also appeared or starred in numerous English and Hollywood films and TV shows as well. He co-starred in 90s American films like “City of Joy,” “Wolf” and “The Ghost and the Darkness.” He made star turns in Udayan Prasad’s “My Son the Fanatic,” where he played a taxi driver struggling with his son’s radical beliefs, and “East is East,” where he played a Pakistani father who’s authority is challenged by his Anglicized children.
Puri also appeared in English series’ like “Jewel in the Crown,” “The Canterbury Tales” and “White Teeth.” He played Pakistani General Zia-ul-Haq in the Mike Nichols’ 2007 film “Charlie Wilson’s War,” and most recently appeared alongside Helen Mirren in “The Hundred-Foot Journey.”
For his distinguished career, Puri was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 1990, and made an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2004.