86th birth anniversary of the most loved villain

Anagha Telang

Rememberd for his magnificient and heavy voice, for his hateful negative roles and for his outstanding acting skills, The legendary actor Amrish Puri's 86th birth anniversary pushes us to talk about this verstile theatre and film artist.

Who was Amrish Puri?
Born on 22 June, 1932 at Jalhandar Punjab to a Punjabi speaking family of Nhihal Chand Puri and Ved Kaur. Amrish is mailny popular for his negative roles in Hindi cinmea and as well as other international films. He was also a famous theatre actor and has worked with notable playwrights sucha as Satyadev Dubey and Girish Karand. In India he gain popularity because of his role in the Hindi film Mr. India as Mogembo and for the global audience he is better known as Mola Ram in Indiana Jones & the temple of Doom. 

Film Career...
Amrish was inspired by his elder bothers Madan and Chaman Puri and thus started his acting career. His life as an actor started in the year 1967 and he worked till his death in the year 2005.  He failed his first screen-test and thus found a job with the Employees' State Insurance Corporation Ministry of Labour and Employment.Along with his regular job puri At the started performing at the Prithvi Theatre in plays written by Satyadev Dubey. He slowly became a well known stage actor and won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1979. This theatre achievement soon led to work in television ads and eventually to films at the relatively late age of 40.

Puri is well known for his success in bollywwod cinema he has also worked in  Kannada, Marathi, Hollywood, Punjabi, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil films.
In the role of a negative actor Amrish for the first time acted in 1980 super-hit movie Hum Paanch. After this film in any bollywood negative role people started expecting only Amrish puri. Puri was considered as supreme in villainous roles in the 1980s and 1990s. In those decades, there was hardly any Bollywood film that did not feature Puri as a villain. His dominating acting skills and a heavyt voice made him stand out amongst the other villains of that time.

Few of his famous villain characters are:
  •  "Mogembo" in Mr. India, 
  • "Jagavar" in Vidhaata, 
  • "Thakral" in Meri Jung, "Bhujang" in Tridev, 
  • "Balwant Rai" in Ghayal, 
  • Barrister Chadda in Damini and 
  • "Thakur Durjan Singh" in Karan Arjun. 

He also did a comic role in Chachi 420. He acted alongside Kamal Haasan and the role was highly appreciated.

In 1990s until his death in 2005, Puri also featured in positive supporting roles in many movies. Some of his notable positive roles are: Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, 
  • Phool Aur Kaante, 
  • Gardish, 
  • Pardes, 
  • Virasat, 
  • Ghatak and 
  • China Gate. 

International Recognition...
He is known to international audiences for his roles as khan in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982) and as the main antagonist Mola Ram in Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). He shaved his head for the role, and it created such a wonderful impact that he kept his head shaved. That bald look gave him the opportunity to experiment with different looks as a villain in his future projects. Puri and Spielberg shared a great rapport. "Amrish is my favorite villain. The best the world has ever produced and ever will!" ,Spielberg said.

  • 1968: Maharashtra State Drama
  • 1979: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Theatre
  • 1986: Filmfare Best Villain Award, Meri Jung
  • 1991: Maharashtra State Gaurav Puraskar
  • 1994: Sydney Film Festival, Best Actor Award – Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda
  • 1994: Singapore International Film Festival, Best Actor Award – Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda
  • 1997: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award – Ghatak
  • 1997: Star Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor – Ghatak
  • 1998: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award- Virasat
  • 1998: Star Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor – Virasat
  • 2000: Kalakar Awards for Best Supporting Actor

Amrish Puri died on 13 January,2005 beacuse of blood cancer at the age of 72. The film industry faced a huge loss after the death of this legendary actor. 

After 13 years of his death the film industry is still searching such a dynamic villain with a dominating screen presence and flawless dialouge delivery. Villain for the film industry in that decade meant only Amrish Puri and till date the industry is looking for its Mogambo and Thakral....

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