Om Puri will soon share celluloid space with Hollywood biggies Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in the forthcoming film Charlie Wilson's War, where he will play the character of General Zia-ul Haq, late President of Pakistan. The film -- being produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and directed by Mike Nichols (The Birdcage, Closer) -- also stars Amy Adams and Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Puri, who worked with Nichols earlier in Wolf, has just returned from Los Angeles after a session of script reading, rehersals and costume. Shooting will begin in Morocco from next month and in the US in December. The film is a drama based on Texas Congessman Charlie Wilson's dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war against the Soviets have some unforseen and far-reaching consequences.
"Charlie Wilson's War is a political film set during the period when the USSR invaded Afghanistan, and America wanted to use Pakistan to get rid of the Soviets," says Puri, whose body of work in Hollywood includes films like City Of Joy, Ghost In The Darkness, Wolf, East Is East and My Son: The Fanatic among others.
"I was in LA for two weeks on pre-production work and am currently doing research on the character. I remembered Zia having a gold tooth and confirmed it with Shatrughan Sinha and his wife Poonam, who were close to the General. I also found out that the chain he wore on his sherwani had a decorative pocket watch.''