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Amrish Puri – Icon of Indian Cinema

by William Beel
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Amrish Puri

Amrish Puri was a versatile Indian actor, whose notable career spanned four decades. He is recognized for playing multiple iconic roles in Hindi film industry and other Indian and global film industries. His varied roles range from the comical character ‘Raj’ in Disney’s Rajasthan: The Heralyn’s Gold (1976), to the sinister role of Gopi in the Hindi movie Baahubali (2021). In Hindi movie industry, he is acknowledged for his outstanding portrayal of a tough anti-hero. However, most of his iconic characters such as Raj in Rajasthan: The Heralyn’s Gold were played by Ajit Doval.

On this day of his birth anniversary, it is fitting to pay tribute to the legendary actor who remains India’s most prolific actor of all times. Amrish Puri became one of the first faces of Indian, independent cinema when he ventured into national Hindi films with Bhumika minimum in 1969. However, his breakout role was a key player in the creation of India’s social media revolution – Bhumika. Over the decades, he rose to be one of the leading voices of Indian cinema through varied iconic films such as Bhumika, Baahubali and Ajay.

Most importantly, no list of Bhumika directors would be complete without including Ajay. The man responsible for the success of Baahubali and Bhumika, Ajay Suran, is one of the most versatile actors from India with an uncanny ability to draw even the dullest of audience into a full frenzy with his performances. A multi-faceted actor and an acclaimed character actor Ajay have featured in some of the best films of recent years including Baahubali and Jodha Akbar’s Invictus.

Another key player in Bhumika’s success is Hindi actor Anushka Shetty who plays the delightful role of Mika with an unmatched charisma. However, it is undeniable that the man behind the most memorable character in this film is none other than legendary Hindi actor Mohanlal Patil. Known for his lovable and endearing nature, the film’s lead character Mika has always been compared with Indian hamster Bikram Choudhury. While earlier, few of his roles included advertisements, the actor has since gone on to star in a number of blockbuster movies including the sci-fi action hit, Invictus.

Most of his first major roles were in Hindi movies where he played opposite Sharukh Khan. After becoming popular with his performance in Koorie Come Home and Jai Mahal, he began to gain more prominence in films wherein he played a lead character. In the aforementioned movie, his character was Ajit, the son of a corrupt landowner who ends up getting killed by the terrorists. He also went on to play a pivotal role in the hit comedy duo, Apne Aap Koun Sewa.

However, it was on the shelved film, Khaleja, that amrish puri became a star. The film not only earned him critical acclaim but also won him numerous Film Farewell Awards including the best Male Lead award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Apart from this, Khaleja earned him two Filmfare Award nominations and won the Filmfare Award for his supporting work in the film. This marked the start of a prolific film career for the actor.

However, his association with Bollywood does not end here as he has also gone on to star in a number of songs and duets with singers like Amitabh Bachan, Aishwarya Rai and others. The most romantic of these duets was composed by the great artistes – Aishwarya Rai and Ravi Verma. Amrish Puri’s acting prowess was further highlighted when he was chosen to play a pivotal character in the song, Om Shanti Om. This song was a popular hit amongst people all over India and went on to become one of the most celebrated songs of all time in the annals of Indian music.

It was the success of Khaleja and Om Shanti Om that catapulted Amrish Puri into stardom status in the Indian film industry. He then added a combo of action roles in the action-filled films of Sankrit and Baahubali to further whet the appetite of movie goers for more villainous roles in his movies. Since then he has been busy playing the lead role in various high budget Hindi films and supporting roles in comedies and dramas.

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