“Mogambo khush hua...” Amrish Puri remembered on his birth anniversary


The iconic villain of Indian cinema Amrish Puri is known for his imposing personality and thundering voice. It is the 83rd birth anniversary of the man who with his bulging eyes and deep baritone voice personified badness on screen, in a career spanning over three decades.

He is most remembered for his role as the megalomaniac terrorist chief ‘Mogambo’ in Shekhar Kapur’s sci-fi ‘Mr. India’. The image of Puri attired in a dazzling suit and uttering “Mogambo khush hua...” is still strongly embedded in the minds of people who grew up in those times. Puri who shuddered audience with his villainy in Bollywood, had also worked in regional and international films.

He played the role of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in British filmmaker Richard Attenborough’s epic film ‘Gandhi’ in 1982, and appeared as the demonic priest Mola Ram in Hollywood film ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ by Steven Spielberg in 1984. It is said that Spielberg was so impressed by Puri that the director had exclaimed, “Amrish is my favorite villain- The best the world has ever produced and ever will!”

Amazingly, one of the greatest villains ever, Puri had failed his first screen test in the film industry where his elder brothers Chaman Puri and Madan Puri had already established themselves as actors. And what a failure it was, that shot him to stardom eventually!

Puri turned his attention to theatre and eventually became well known as stage actor, even bagging the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1979. His success in theatre led him to television serials and got him noticed. Eventually, he debuted in Dev Anand’s ‘Prem Pujari’ at the age of 40. His brother was also cast in the 1970 film.

He went on to act in critically acclaimed films like ‘Ardh Satya’ and ‘Manthan’. His role of the scheming lawyer Indrajit Chaddha with characteristic flick of hair was as famous as Sunny Deol’s ‘tareekh pe tareekh’ dialogue. He also played the negative character of a good-hearted Nageshwar Don in ‘Phool Aur Kaante’.

His vicious roles have immortalised him as the quintessential villain of Bollywood. Puri also made a name for himself as a positive character in films like ‘Gardish’, ‘Ghatak’, ‘Pardes’ and a few others.

The legendary actor born on 22 June, 1932 passed away at the age of 72 on 12 January, 2005, due to a cerebral haemorrhage.