Amrish Puri’s 87th Birthday: A Look At Bollywood’s Favourite Villain and His Memorable Roles
On Amrish Puri’s 87th Birth Anniversary, let’s take a walk down memory lane to remember the actor’s life and contributions to cinema through his iconic villainous roles
Bollywood’s favourite villain, Amrish Puri was born on 22nd June 1932 in Punjab. He stated acting in 1967, doing theatre and voiceover parts, and was active till his death in 2005. He worked in more than 400 films in different languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Punjabi, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, and English. The actor made his Bollywood debut in 1971 with Reshma Aur Shera, and went on to play many memorable characters. He is best remembered for these iconic roles:
In 1987’s superhero film, Mr. India, which became a cult classic, Amrish Puri played the role of Mogambo, an evil, retired Army General who wants to conquer India. Mogambo is considered one of Bollywood’s best villains and his dialogue "Mogambo khush hua" ("Mogambo is pleased”) is always mentioned in any tribute for Amrish Puri.
Amrish Puri appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, as a demonic thuggee priest, performing human sacrifices and enslaving children. He was a terrifying villain in the movie that was among the top ten grossers of that time.
Thakur Darjan Singh
The actor appeared in Karan-Arjun as an evil Thakur who brutally murders his relatives, the two brothers Karan (Salman Khan) and Arjun (Shahrukh Khan) to prevent them from inheriting their grandfather’s estate.
Chaudhry Baldev Singh
As Simran (Kajol’s) strict and traditional father in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Amrish Puri provided the necessary contrast to Raj (Shahrukh Khan’s) carefree, modern character and conflict to the love story.
Chief Minister Balraj Chauhan
Amrish Puri played a greedy and indifferent Chief Minister in Nayak, who blames his shortcomings as a politician on red tape and bureaucracy.
Amrish Puri did not play the villain in Virasat but had a short yet memorable role as a feudal lord and an authoritarian father who wants his well-educated son to stay in the village and help with its progress and development.
These and many other roles have made Amrish Puri eternal in cinema. Filmmakers sought him out due to his loud and powerful voice — for which he used to receive training for three to fours — and for his incredibly intimidating personality on screen. He was consistently and seemingly effortlessly able to inspire fear and hatred in the minds and hearts of thousands of cinema-goers. He gave chilling performances as the bad guy and also a patriarch who wishes to uphold the good and traditional values of Indian culture. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life and legacy of this renowned actor, describing his life as an inspiration: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again—and you might end up like Indian film actor Amrish Puri, who overcame an early setback on the way to fulfilling his big screen dreams.”