Actor Om Puri on thursday accused the media of sensasationlising segments of his biography written by his wife Nandia, causing "much embarrassament" to him and his family.
Reacting to media focus on parts of the book by his journalist wife, pertaining to his relationship with various women, Puri, the parallel cinema veteran, who made a mark in movies like 'Ardh Satya', Richard Attenborough's 'Gandhi' and 'Mrityudand', said he was pained by the sensationalism.
"I am proud of my story, my childhood and my journey and I see it as an inspirational story for millions of Indians. The book 'Unlikely Hero' is a tribute to my friends, my colleagues, my mentors and the women in my life. Nandita is a journalist of repute and I am proud of her writing. I have read some parts of the book and it sounds dignified and good," Puri said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, the media has picked up certain protions out of context and glorified it. They have blown it out of proportion and added words I have not said or even heard of. It has upset my family, especially my twelve-year-old son and he has taken it badly," the actor said.
"It has tarnished Nandita's reputation as a serious wrtier and my image as well. It pains me that because of the sensatiionalism by certain segments of the press, my family and I have to go through so much embarrassment," Puri added.
Indignant with the media coverage, author Nandita said that the book has been misrepresented. She said she had tried to present an entire era of Indian cinema through her husband's life story but media has chosen to portray it as "pornography".
"Om Puri is a great actor of Indian cinema and I have tried my best to represent the era of 80s through him. The story is about his childhood, his contribution to the cinema. There is only one chapter about his relationships in the book," Nandita told PTI.
The author said that Puri had chosen to talk about only those relationships in the book that had touched him and contributed to his being. "He chose to tell me about his relationships with those women, who meant a lot to him and touched him in a special way. But by pulling out those portions and putting them in wrong context, the media has not only tarnished Puri's image but has also hurt the women in his life," Nandita said denying reports that Puri was upset with her for making public the details of his private life.
"If he did not want them to be public he would not have spoken to me about them," she added. Publishers Roli Books said in a statement, "'Unlikely Hero' is a story of Om Puri's determination and perseverance that cut through the deep-rooted rejudices of the Indian film industry. the book is a documentation of his childhood, work and success in India and abroad."
Puri, 59, one of the few Indian actors to have successfully crossed over to international cinema, has worked with A-listers like Richard Attenborough, Ben Kingsley, Patrick Swayze, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.
The foreword of the book has been written by late Swayze, who worked with Puri in 'City of Joy'. "Om's entire journey can be read in his face and he adds a layer of credibility and passion to every role he essays.
City of Joy truly changed my life. I came back to my country with a sense of bubble we live in and made a commitment to be like Om," wrote Swayze in his foreword. Attenborough and Kingsley have also contributed to the book, remembering the times spent with Puri on the sets of the film 'Gandhi', which went on to win eight Academy awards in 1982.
Puri played a religious bigot in the film, who is reformed by coming into the contact of Mahatma Gandhi. The actor has been honoured with the Padma Shri by the Indian government for his contribution to the parallel and commercial films.
He is also the recipient of honorary Order of the British Empire for his contribution to British cinema. The book will be released later this month in Mumbai and then subsequently in Delhi and Chennai. PTI