The late Amrish Puri is best known for his larger-than-life villainous avatars he has portrayed on screen. Remember 'Mogambo Khush Hua' from the 1987 hit Mr India? It absolutely makes the skin crawl in repulsion. But the stellar actor, who was born on June 22, 1932 also portrayed gentler roles sporadically on celluloid. And much like his villainous Mola Ram in the Hollywood production Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the bad man of Indian Cinema excelled in portraying good, benevolent characters as well. As Bollywood celebrates Amrish Puri's 87th birth anniversary, we take a look at 5 times the great actor discarded his popular villainous avatar and simply played the good guy with equal elan.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
The Aditya Chopra directorial that had Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in lead roles saw Amrish Puri as the archetypal Indian father hell bent on getting his daughter married to the groom of his choice. However, Puri's portrayal of the loving dad at heart, who lets go off his daughter to be reconciled with her lover at the end of the film, makes him a truly good guy at heart. Who can forget the baritone voice saying,"Ja Simran ja, jee le apni zindagi," perfectly capturing a father's love for his daughter.
Subhash Ghai's 1997 hit starring Shah Rukh Khan and Mahima Chaudhry, saw Amrish Puri play an NRI rich man who decides to get his Americanised son Rajiv (Atul Agnihotri) to get married to Ganga, a girl with strong Indian values. However, following much ups and downs, that sees Rajiv even attempting to rape Ganga, Kishorilal rejects Rajiv (and, symbolically, his own Western compromises), to embrace his foster son Arjun (Shah Rukh Khan) and decides to wed Arjun and Ganga instead.
China Gate (1998)
The Rajkumar Santoshi directorial, though more well known for its Chamma Chamma song picturised on Urmila Matondkar, had Amrish Puri play the role of Colonel Keval Krishan Puri, a court marshalled officer on a redemption mission to catch a deadly dacoit with his fellow war veterans.
Though a far cry from blockbusters, this Priyadarshan Bollywood debut film had Amrish Puri play Former Justice Gopichand Verma, a strict taskmaster with a heart of gold, hiding a terrible secret within himself. The film also starred Jay Mehta and Revathi in lead roles. The gentle chemistry shared between Revathi and Amrish Puri is something to look out for.
Another Priyadarshan directorial starring Anil Kapoor, Pooja Batraand Tabu, apart from the veteran Amrish Puri, the film saw Amrish Puri play Raja Thakur, a traditional village father who keeps on having conflicts with his westernised son. His simple display of emotions will make audiences feel that the film belongs more to him than anybody else.
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