Amrish Puri – A Star but The Legendary Villain

Amrish Puri a legendary star of Bollywood chose the path to be one of the most successful veterans by bringing many villainous roles to life in a memorable way.

In the time of transition of Hindi Cinema to Bollywood, many talents earned their place and won the hearts of the audience. The rise of Bollywood began in 1970 when the veterans of today began their careers. At the same time when everyone loved the charisma of the hero, there were few who chose to be the losing characters as villains. 

One of the most successful villains of Bollywood whose dialogues as “’Mogambo Khush Hua” can be heard from Gen Z who don’t know the actual face behind the same.

Lesser is known for his film debut in the Marathi Film “Ghashiram Kotwal’’ in 1972. His career boosted his first role as the main villain in the super hit film “Hum Paanch” in 1980. This hit brought such a unique and perfect blend of performance, voice, and personality that came to the notice of everyone, and was continuously cast as a villain in many movies.

Bio and Career

Amrish Puri whose complete name is Amrish Lal Puri, was born of a Hindu Punjabi family. 

Born 22 June 1932. He followed the steps of his elder brothers who were working as character actors. So in the mid-1950s he moved to Mumbai but failed his first screen test.

To earn a living he landed a stable job with Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) while pursuing acting as his hobby with amateur stage groups. Such a potential talent soon earned a name among such a local group. From local stages to small theatres Amrish Puri started getting attention and work in television advertisements. At the late age of 40 Amrish Puri was getting his first few movie roles.

Amrish Puri’s character and his fame were due to his deep and heavy-sounding voice. In his early roles, he had little dialogue because he got cast as henchmen or side villains.

As every actor of that era wanted to be the protagonist, Amrish Puri kept working his way and got his first role as the antagonist and main villain in Hum Paanch.

His tone and dialogue took the audience’s love for the acting of villain actors to such a level that Amrish Puri reigned supreme in villainous roles in the 1980s and 1990s.

From the first failed screen test to the peak of his career, Amrish Puri acted in more than 450 films between 1967 and 2005. Mainly as one of the most successful villains of Bollywood.

Significant work

Amrish Puri holds the record of  Filmfare wins in the Best Supporting Actor category, alongside famous actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Kapoor.

To bring light to his most famous characters, it’s important to begin with his most memorable role and catchphrase. In the movie, Mr. India (1987) his memorable role of  ‘Mogambo’ with the most indulgent catchphrase of “Mogambo Khush Hua” is still known to every Bollywood lover. This role is one of the most recognized screenplays of the silver screen which made him eternal.

Another one is his climax dialogue, “Ja Simran, jeele apni zindagi” from the romantic blockbuster Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Here Amrish Puri played the role of the strict father of Kajol. Amrish Puri played the wicked Thakur Durjan Singh in Karan Arjun is a memorable performance.

In Nagina Movie starring Sridevi as a nagin. Amrish Puri played the snake-charmer (Tantrik) Baba Bhairo Nath  Amrish Puri played the indifferent chief minister who challenges Anil Kapoor, the main protagonist of the movie Nayak. In one of the most famous blockbusters of cinema Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, Puri played the unrelenting father of Sakina.

This man can be seen taking on other or non-villainous roles as:-

Amrish Puri is The dhoti-clad old man with a walking stick, raging with anger at the mention of the word ‘woman’. In the comedy romance movie Hulchul.Cast in a comedy-drama of Chachi 420 (1997) movie instead of a heartless villain on the screen Amrish Puri was seen hitting a man disguised as a woman in the comedy film

International audiences know Amrish Puri for his role as the antagonist Mola Ram in Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. Another role as Gandhi’s Muslim employer and patron in South Africa is Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982).

Less known Side

Amrish Puri as we know him from his performance and stage life as an antagonist. But as a talented actor, Amrish Puri worked in multiple roles. Carrier is not restricted to villain roles nor limited to Hindi cinema. Amrish Puri has also worked in Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Punjabi films.

Even great talent played a role in international cinema in popular movies such as Mola Ram in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). As a fact after this role, his shaved head grabbed such attention that the impression that he kept his head shaved and became one of the most popular villains in Hindi Cinema.  

From a bald, dangerous villain to a positive, loving character with shoulder-length hair. Many Punjabi films feature Amrish Puri in positive roles.

Amrish Puri wasn’t always a bad guy in Bollywood movies. He also worked prominently as a caring family patriarch. His most popular movies: Are Pardes, Taal, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai, Chachi 420, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.

In the era of non-CGI movies, Amrish Puri was a villain to the core on stage. A character of a deep baritone voice who would often enlarge his eyes in the event he got happy. His role as a villain makes him famous for his men’s failure when playing the movie’s main villain.

In his real and social life, people often recognize him for having a kind and gentle nature. His co-star Harrison Ford, the international fame of Indiana Jones, describes him as One of the nicest and kindest actors I have ever worked with


After a brilliant period from 1967 to 2005, Amrish Puri’s achievements also include winning several Filmfare and other awards. In January 2005, after an illustrious career. He passed away in Mumbai due to a cerebral hemorrhage resulting from complications of myelodysplastic syndrome.

The last film of this legendary actor was “Kisna: The Warrior Poet”, in 2005.  Shortly after the release of his last film, the veteran talent of the film industry entered the eternal rest. Which left not only the industry but the whole country in silence by his early departure.

Even after two decades of his death his dialogue and tone still have a unique importance. Not limited to the entertainment industry but also in our daily fun conversations to funny social media reels.

Amrish Puri’s performance deeply impressed the audience. His name is revered in Indian Cinema history.

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