The late Amrish Puri, an actor who spoke more with his eyes than words, went away way too soon. But in a career that spanned over three decades, he cemented his position as one of Hindi Cinema’s greatest villains. Steven Spielberg, a giant filmmaker of Hollywood, who directed him in the 1984 Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, once said, “Amrish is my favorite villain. The best the world has ever produced and ever will.”
So on the occasion of his 86th birth anniversary; let’s have a look at his five most iconic roles:-
1. Mr India (1987)
“Mogambo khush hua”, these three words immortalized a villain that was as scary as it was fascinating, and as popular among kids as among the masses. With a baritone that could overpower the most powerful of voices, Puri gave both menace and amusement to the character.
2. Ghayal (1990)
Balwant Rai was a smuggler in disguise of a business tycoon. He held the brother of a boxer hostage in his secret hideout and was on the run from the hero throughout the second half of the film, yet, his confrontation scenes with Sunny Deol made the film a runaway blockbuster and Balwant Rai became another iconic villain from Amrish Puri’s filmography.
3. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Baldev Singh was not the villain of the film, but certainly the conflict of the love story between Raj and Simran. He slaps Raj eight times when he discovers his surreptitious romance with Simran, but finally leaves his daughter’s hand as he realizes Raj’s undying love for her. “Ja Simran, jee le apni Zindagi”, he says before she runs behind the train. This dialogue is also one of the reasons behind the legacy of DDLJ.
4. Gadar-Ek Prem Katha (2001)
Ashraf Ali, from Pakistan, was as distorted and devastated with the Indo-Pak partition as the people in India. He was in equal shock when his daughter got married to a Sikh. Gadar had some fiery confrontations between Deol and Puri’s characters that led to multiple catcalls and wolf-whistles in the cinemas. Unlike most of his previous films, this character had a meltdown and finally accepted and embraced his son-in-law and the fact that there’s no religion above humanity.
5. Nayak (2001)
Thousands of memes have been made only on that one interview scene between Anil Kapoor and Amrish Puri. Balraj Chahuhan, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, could be described as one of Puri’s only characters that’s closest to reality. Corrupt, conniving and catastrophic, this character wreaked havoc in the life of the film’s hero by making him the CM of Maharashtra for a day. Although a commercial failure back in 2001, it has become a cult classic today.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Hero, Meri Jung, Damini, Karan Arjun, Ram Lakhan, Ghatak and Virasat.
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