Amrish Puri, a legendary actor in Indian cinema, is a significant figure. He was best known for his baritone voice and for his performances as legendary villains in Bollywood films. He was also one of the first Indian actors to star in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a worldwide hit Hollywood film.
In Steven Spielberg’s 1984 film, Mola Ram, the late actor played the villain. He is now remembered by Western viewers for his outstanding work in the film. Were you aware, however, that the late actor turned down the part?
Hollywood’s celebrated director Steven Spielberg was refused permission to film Temple of Doom, in India, according to Amrish Puri’s autobiography “The Act Of Life.” The director set up the film in Sri Lanka, Macau, and London.
Amrish refused to audition for the part of Mola Ram in the film when American casting agents came down to India. Not only did the actor decline to audition for the role, but he also invited them to watch him perform on the set of his upcoming film. Amrish Puri even declined to read a page of English text to the casting officers, saying, “How does Spielberg know what language do I speak? He would know me as an actor.” Dolly Thakore, the casting director, then dispatched to Spielberg, stills from the horror film Gehrayee.
According to the report, Amrish finally decided to play the role and thought the production was fantastic. The actor even referred to Steven Spielberg as “very boyish, an unassuming kind of person”, in his book. About the crew, he wrote, “None of them had any ego, problems or reservations about me being an Indian. Unlike many of our actors in Indian films, there was expertise at all levels, and you couldn’t just do anything and get away with it.”