A Biography Of Amrish Puri
We have all been huge fans of Bollywood movies. People might call them clichéd or technically backward or musicals and etc, but we have to agree that some movies inspite of all the technical mistakes are no less than Indian classics. Everyone loves and admires the ‘hero’ in the movie but without the villains there would be no heroism to show. Now talking about villains, the most famous and iconic villainous characters that we know of in the Indian film industry is Mogambo and his epic line ’Mogambo khush hua’. This character was played by the legendary Amrish Puri. His roles as a villain were so convincing that it was hard to accept him as a positive character in a movie initially but with his great acting skills it dint take time for the audience to accept his versatility. This is a great achievement for an actor. His booming laugh, bass voice and that ice-cold and spine-chilling glare added to his brilliant acting style. It is no wonders that he worked with the best directors and actors in his career and was never outshone by anyone. He has his own screen space and he did his best to contribute to the role.
Amrish Puri (22nd June 1932-12th January 2005) was born in Nawanshahr, Punjab to sardar Nihal Singh Puri and Sardarni Ved Kaur. He was the third amongst five siblings. He later moved to Shimla to finish college from B.M. college in Himachal Pradesh. He was very involved in the Indian theatre movement which picked up speed in the 1960s. he married to Urmila Devekar on 5th January 1959 and had two children. Son Rajeev Puri who is a well-established business man and daughter Namrata Puri who is happily married with two kids. Amrish Puri was a devoted husband father and a grandfather. He is also said to be a very pious and religious man and was a devotee of lord Shiva. Amrish Puri had a fetish for hats. He had about 200 of them. It is rumoured that he always bought a hat every time he went overseas.
Following the footsteps of brother Chaman Puri and Madan Puri, both actors, he came to Mumbai to try his luck in cinema. Surprisingly, Amrish puri, falied his first screen test in 1954. He found work with the Ministry of labour and later performed at the Pritvi theatre in plays written and directed by Satyadev Dubey. With his hard work and consistence performance he became an well-known and well established theatre personality which finally led him to some television advertisements and his first movie Reshma aur Shera in 1971. After that the world saw him in many Bollywood movies like Nishant, Manthan, Bhumika and Suraj ka satvan ghoda, doing supporting roles. The turning point of his carrier as a villain however was when Shekhar Kapur cast him in his movie Mr. India in 1987 in the role of Mogambo which became to be one of the most iconic and epic villain characters known to the hindi film industry. Some of his other outstanding movies where he played the bad guy Koyla, Karan Arjun, Ram Lakhan, The Hero, Nayak, Shahensha , saudagar etc. although he was more famous for his negative roles, he played the good guy with an effortless ease. He was well known for the effort that he put in to delve in the character which came out so flawlessly on the screen. His performance in yash raj’s movie dilwale Dulhaniya le jayenge as baldev who is a loving but strict father is very heart warming.
The kind American that he plays in Subhash Ghai’s Pardes stays with you. He played the role of a loving and doting father and grand-father in khushi and chori chori chupke chupke. This does not end the versatility of this legend. His comical roles in movies like Chachi 420 where he ‘falls in love’ with the character of kamal hasan and his role in jhooth bole kauwa kaate alongside anil kapoor are still very entertaining and close to the heart. He has done over four hundred movies in his career of three decade. He also did a kannada movie, kaadu, directed by Girish Kannada, a malyalam movie, Kalapani where he played the role of a sadist jailor. Among Punjabi movies his roles in Chan Pardesi as the corrupt landlord Joginder Singh and his role as a bad guy in Sat Sri Akal are very famous. Apart from these he also did a few telegu movies like jagadeka veerudu athiloka sundari, Major Chandrakanth and some Tamil movies like Thalapathi which was directed by Mani Ratnam andRajneekanth”s Baba where he played the role of an evil tantrik. Along with a long list of movies he also has a long list of awards that he won in his lifetime. He won the sangeet natak akademi award in 1979 for theatre. He also on the very coveted filmfare award for the best actor in a supporting role for Ghatak and Meri jung. In 1994 he won the Singapore internationalfilm festival best actor award Suraj ka satvan ghoda.
Amrish puri died on 12th January 2005 of brain haemorrhage. He may not be with us today in person but his remarkable work and undying love for the hindi film industry will live forever in our hearts and he will be remembered fondly wenever we think of Mogambo or the father in DDLJ saying “ja jeele apni zindagi”.
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