The only thing cinema enthusiasts love more than a good looking, virtuous hero, is a great villain bubbling with vicious schemes. Someone who can make an impact on them despite playing the part of the antagonist. And Amrish Puri is etched in the hearts and minds of all of us as the best villain of all time, and nobody has been able to fill his shoes. He has been immortalized in cinema through his iconic dialogue delivery and his many negative portrayals onscreen made him a favourite villain of yesteryear. From the chilling Baba Bhairo Nath in Nagina to the sophisticated Mogambo in Mr India, Amrish Puri pulled off the many versatile characters he played with ease. In honour of the late actor’s 88th birth anniversary today, here is a look at some of his most iconic onscreen avatars. Read on:
Mola Ram in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
George Lucas’ evil characters have always been the most iconic in cinematic history starting with the likes of Darth Vader. Mola Ram was no exception. Amrish Puri plays the role of a demonic priest who enslaves children and offers humans for sacrifice.
Amrish Puri as Mola Ram
The role of Mola Ram is perhaps the most hated of all his characters, not just in Indian cinema but globally.
General Dong in Tahalka
Amrish Puri looked straight out of a comic book, and was the perfect villain with his over the top outfits, defined facial hair, bald head complete with a tatttoo on the top. And of course, his menacing laugh was perfect as always.
Raja Sahab in Koyla
Movie still from Koyla
He plays the role of a cruel and power-hungry impotent man in this film, where he tricks Madhuri Dixit, a young girl into marrying him in an effort to cure his illness. Perhaps one of the most despicable characters that Amrish Puri has ever played, the film was nominated for the Filmfare Award for the Best Performance in a Negative Role.
Baba Bhairo Nath in Nagina
There were few roles that Amrish Puri could not pull off. In this film, he plays the role of a snake charmer, the only one who is capable of controlling the shape-shifting snake played by Sridevi. He wants to get his hands on the sacred mani, the location of which is only to Sridevi. Amrish Puri’s evil tantrik get up is the stuff nightmares are made off.
Angar Chand in Hulchul
A still from the movie
Video grab – Venus Youtube
It is reassuring to know that even in a comedy film, Amrish Puri could stay play the villain convincingly. He plays the father to 4 boys and he rules over them with an iron thumb. The plot revolves around his intense hatred for women and him not permitting any women inside his house. A certain refresher from his other serious roles, this quickly became a fan favourite. His look was quiet similar to his look in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Mohabbatein.
Mogambo – Mr. India
Amrish Puri’s acting in this role was so iconic that his dialogue ‘Mogambo khush hua’ has become a pop culture reference even for people who have not seen the movie. He plays the role of an evil mad scientist who has his own kingdom where he stages weird, depraved parties. The director of the film Shekar Kapur wanted an actor who would enjoy the role of villain in a cult classic and Amrish Puri certainly delivered. To talk of villains in Indian Cinematic history is to talk of Amrish Puri’s Mogambo.