Amrish Puri has been the quintessential villain that Bollywood required and merited. He is still associated with his negative parts in a variety of movies as he cleared out a permanent check on the universe of film by making his characters undying. Such was his on-screen moxy that he could give the hero a complex. His profound voice combined with a forcing identity cleared path for tyrant parts like Mogambo in Mr. India, Ashraf Ali in Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, Baldev Singh Chaudhary in DDLJ.
In fact, Steven Spielberg once said in an interview, "Amrish Puri is the best villain world has ever produced and will ever be!". In a career that spanned close to three decades, Amrish Puri became the archetypal and unforgettable Bollywood villain.
Let's take a look at 10 Interesting and unknown facts about the 'Legendary Actor' Amrish Puri:
1. Amrish Puri's love for acting brought him to Mumbai where his brother, Madan Puri, was already an established actor for playing villainous roles. Ironically, he failed his first screen test and had to take up a job in LIC to support himself.
2. Amrish Puri did a government job for 21 years and he resigned as an 'A' grade officer after he started getting recognition as a theater actor and bagged good roles.
3. Eventually, he started working as a stage actor in Satyadev Dubey's plays. He became a well-known stage actor and won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (the highest Indian recognition given to practising artists) in 1979.
4. He was the highest paid villain compared to his contemporaries. The confident actor knew his worth and chose to walk out of a N.N Sippy's movie as the director wasn't ready to shell out 80 lakhs.
5. Even after achieving success in Bollywood, he never treated theatre acting as a stepping stone to films, as opposed to many Bollywood actors. He straddled the theatre world, parallel cinema, and commercial cinema and justified every zone.
6. Interestingly, Amrish Puri was sceptical to play Mogambo's part in Mr. India. He approached Shekhar Kapur, the director of the film, to enquire how he'd pull off his character with ease? Shekhar replied, "You have to play Shakespeare's role for 10-year-old kids." Convinced, he played his character so well and the rest is history.
7. In his book, the Act of Life, the late actor revealed how Kaadu, an Indian Kannada film, changed his life, career and social status and how brilliantly the director, Girish Karnad, put the stamp of a villain on his persona.
8. Other than his voice and persona to pull off any character with ease, he was very meticulous when it came to other aspects. Anupam Kher revealed, "He was very particular about his shoe laces, his moustache's length and other tiny details."
9. Amrish Puri's efforts were unparalleled. He disliked his voice being recorded during magazine interviews, as he was apprehensive it would compromise his baritone voice's rarity in his movies.
10. Other than his much-acclaimed villainous roles, he also indulged in playback singing for various movies like The Hero (2003), Tarazu (1997), Shikari (1991), Aaj Ka Arjun (1990).