Star Of The Week - Amrish Puri


Name: Amrishlal Puri
DOB: June 22, 1932
Star: Cancer
Birthplace: Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Occupation: Actor


• Amrish Puri was an important figure in Indian theatre and cinema. He worked with notable playwrights of his time, such as Satyadev Dubey and Girish Karnad.

• He is remembered for playing iconic negative roles in Hindi cinema as well as in other Indian and international film industries. To Indian audiences, he is most remembered for his role as Mogambo in Shekhar Kapur's Hindi film Mr. India (1987), and to Western audiences, for Mola Ram in Steven Spielberg's Hollywood film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

• Amrish Puri has won three Filmfare Awards for Best Supporting Actor, among other awards.

Interesting facts:

• Amrish Puri was born to a Punjabi-speaking family of Lala Nihal Chand Puri and Ved Kaur. He had four siblings, elder brothers Chaman Puri and Madan Puri (both of whom are also actors), elder sister Chandrakanta and a younger brother, Harish Puri. He was the first cousin of legendary actor and singer K. L. Saigal.

• He acted in more than 400 films between 1967 and 2005, and was one of the most successful villains in Bollywood. Puri first came to Mumbai following the footsteps of his elder brothers – Madan Puri and Chaman Puri, who were already established actors known for playing villainous roles.

• He failed his first screen test, and instead found an alternative job. At the same time, he started performing at the Prithvi Theatre in plays.

• He eventually became well known as a stage actor and won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1979. This theatre recognition soon led to work in television ads and eventually to films at the relatively late age of 40.

• Puri went on to work in Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Hollywood, Punjabi, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil films. Though he was successful in many regional films, he is best known for his work in Bollywood cinema.

• He was noticed in the 1980 super-hit movie Hum Paanch in which he played the main villain. Puri reigned supreme in villainous roles in the 1980s and 1990s. In those decades, there was hardly any Bollywood film that did not feature him as a villain. His dominating screen presence and baritone voice made him stand out amongst other villains of the day.

• 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. He shaved his head for the role, and it created such an impression that he kept his head shaved.

• Puri and Spielberg shared a great rapport and Spielberg often said in interviews: "Amrish is my favourite villain. The best the world has ever produced and ever will!"

• His comic role in Chachi 420, alongside Kamal Haasan, was highly appreciated.

• Since the 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, Pardes, Virasat, Ghatak and China Gate.