A lethal dominance that once ruled the screen

This day marks the birth anniversary of an actor who once redefined the screen presence with his striking voice, fearsome looks & intense eyes. India better knows him as the over-ambitious Mogambo in 1987 movie Mr.India & the world knows him for his character of priest (tantrik) Molaram in legendary Steven Spielberg’s hollywood movie “Indiana jones and the temple of doom (1984)”.

Amrish is my favourite villain. The best the world has ever produced and ever will!”

Steven Spielberg (Highest grossing director in the world).

An ambitious Pakistani politician in most watched movie of the Indian cinema “Gadar-Ek Prem Katha (2001)” is still as famous as Tara Singh. He was in the character, he didn’t act but just lived that character.

Yeah. He is the Sapera of Main naagin tu sapera. You must have encountered that serpent-charmer of “Nagina (1986)” with long hairs playing harp continuously.

Be it outshining four powerful villains (Pran, Prem Chopra, Danny & Madan puri) of that era in Andha Kanoon (1983) or music lover cruel man in Jackie Shroff’s famous debut movie “Hero (1983)”, even the lead actors struggled to mark their space while sharing screen with him.

“Shahenshah (1988)” was Bachchan’s comeback movie famous for his attire & specially the dialogue “Rishtey mein to hum tumhare baap hote hain, naam hai Shahenshah” but don’t forget the Amrish Puri’s entry scene in which he emerges from a swiming pool & explains the definition of Kanoon to his people. And what about the dialogue which prompted the spike in the sell of Black dog wine;

“Jab bhi gori titliyan dekhta hu na thakur..toh mere man mein hazaron kaale kutte bhonkne lagte hain aur tab main black dog pita hu.”

Who can forget the powerful Balwant Rai of “Ghayal (1990)” & Bhisambhar Nath of “Ram Lakhan (1989)”. Such was the ascendancy of his powerful personality that multi-starers were made just to tackle the juggernaut character played by him. Some of them are:

  • Andha Kanoon (1983)” staring Bachchan & Rajini.
  • Asli Naqli (1986) staring Shatrughan Sinha & Rajinikanth.
  • Tridev (1989) staring Naseeruddin Shah, Sunny deol & Jackie Shroff.
  • Maidan-E-Jung staring Dharmendra, Manoj Kumar & Akshay Kunar
  • Tahalka (1992) staring Dharmendra, Naseeruddin Shah & Aditya Pancholi.
  • Karan Arjun (1995) staring SRK & Salman Khan

Tahalka is widely famous for his look & specially the song Shom shom shom” that he keeps reciting in the movie.

Bt remembering Amrish Puri only for his villainous characters will be injustice to his versatility & the theatre background from where he came. For example, An aggressive but caring father and jamindar in “Virasat (1997)”, a man of principles in “DDLJ (1995)”, a helpless father &, x-freedom fighter with ‘Tamrapatra” in “Ghatak (1996)”- These close to reality roles played by him defines his versatility.

When it comes to comic timing, he was as good as any other seasoned comedian. Watching him in “Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004)” & “Chachi 420 (1997)” still makes us laugh.

Last but not the least, this article will remain incomplete without mentioning the politician of the reality-check political drama “Nayak (2001)” which finds significance even in the modern days. The epic interview scene still gives goosebumps.


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