Amrish was born on June 22, 1932 and today on the occasion of his 86th birth anniversary we will shed light on few of his best performances. Amrish passed away on January 12, 2005, is not only known for performing iconic negative characters but was a skilled theatre artist too. The actor has appeared in more than 400 films and we bring few of his epic performances on his birth anniversary.
The actor was born in Jalandhar, Punjab to a Punjabi-speaking Khatri family of Nihal Chand Puri and Ved Kaur. He had four siblings, elder brothers Chaman Puri and Madan Puri (both of whom are also actors), elder sister Chandrakanta, and a younger brother, Harish Puri. He later moved to Shimla and graduated from B.M. College, Himachal Pradesh.
Amrish Puri acted in more than 400 films between 1967 and 2005, and was one of the most successful villains in Bollywood. Puri first came to Mumbai following the footsteps of his elder brothers- Madan Puri and Chaman Puri, who were already established actors known for playing villainous roles. He failed his first screen test, and instead found a job with the Employees' State Insurance Corporation Ministry of Labour and Employment (ESIC). At the same time, he started performing at the Prithvi Theatre in plays written by Satyadev Dubey. He eventually became well known as a stage actor and won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1979. This theatre recognition soon led to work in television ads and eventually to films at the relatively late age of 40. Puri went on to work in Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Hollywood, Punjabi, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil films. Though he was successful in many regional films, he is best known for his work in Bollywood cinema. He made his debut at the age of almost 40 in 1971 in Reshma Aur Shera (1971).
Through the 1970s, Puri often worked in supporting roles, usually as the benchman of the main villain. He was noticed in the 1980 super-hit movie Hum Paanch in which he played the main villain. After that, he started getting cast as the main villain in other movies. Puri reigned supreme in villainous roles in the 1980s and 1990s. In those decades, there was hardly any Bollywood film that did not feature Puri as a villain. His dominating screen presence and baritone voice made him stand out amongst the other villains of the day.
He is known to international audiences for his roles as khan in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982) and as the main antagonist Mola Ram in Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom(1984). He shaved his head for the role, and it created such an impression that he kept his head shaved. His bald look gave him the flexibility to experiment with different looks as a villain in subsequent movies. In villainous roles, Puri is best remembered as "Mogambo" in Mr. India, "Jagavar" in Vidhaata, "Thakral" in Meri Jung, "Bhujang" in Tridev, "Balwant Rai" in Ghayal, Barrister Chadda in Damini and "Thakur Durjan Singh" in Karan Arjun. His comic role in Chachi 420, in which he acted alongside Kamal Haasan was highly appreciated.
Since the 1990s until his death in 2005, Puri also featured in positive supporting roles in many movies. Some of his notable positive roles are Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Phool Aur Kaante, Gardish, Pardes, Virasat, Ghatak and China Gate. He received the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award for Meri Jung and Virasat.
Amrish Puri was suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare kind of blood cancer, and had undergone some brain invasive surgery for his condition after he was admitted to the Hinduja hospital on 27 December 2004. His condition required frequent removal of the blood accumulated in the cerebral region of the brain and after some time he slipped into a coma shortly before his death around 7:30 a.m on 12 January 2005. His body was brought to his residence for people to pay their last respects, and his funeral was on 13 January 2005 at Shivaji Park crematorium.
The actor was honoured by several awards and nominations-
Wins- In1968, Maharashtra State Drama ; In 1979, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Theatre; In 1986, Filmfare Best Villain Award for Meri Jung; In 1994, Sydney Film Festival, Best Actor Award for Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda ; In 1994, Singapore International Film Festival, Best Actor Award for Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda ; In 1997, Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Ghatak ; In 1997, Star Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor for Ghatak ; In 1998, Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Virasat ; In 1998, Star Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor for Virasat and many more.
Your birthday is here, but it’s sad to know that you are no longer here. It’s woeful that you were taken from us too soon. Here’s sending you a very special birthday wish to heaven. May all of your heavenly wishes come true! We all miss you sir, happy birthday.