When Mr India released in 1987, Amrish Puri’s Mogambo with his distinctive ‘Mogambo khush hua’ line quickly became the most popular villain after Sholay’s Gabbar. In the years since, Mogambo has been studied by many film historians, and Amrish Puri’s performance has often been cited as the reason why the character has proved so successful. But few know that Amrish Puri was not the first choice for this role. In his autobiography The Act of Life, Puri shared that more than 60 percent of the film had already been made by director Shekhar Kapur when he was chained to play the role of a villainous intruder.
Puri said he was “a little apprehensive” because more than half of the film had already been made. “I thought ‘inhe ab jaakar meri yaad aayi? (Do they remember me now?) ” In an earlier interview with IANS, Anupam Kher said he was the one who made the film, but was replaced in the middle.
Speaking of his Mogamba, Puri detailed in his autobiography that the director had given him all the freedom to design his character. Amrish shared that Mogambo was “conceived as a Hitler-like figure,” but his nationality was not specified. “His nationality was not clear and the foreign origin was not specified, although he definitely looked like an intruder, the name must have been unusual, mysterious and striking,” he said. The name Mogambo, he said, comes from a 1953 Hollywood movie starring Clark Gabl.
The filming schedule was exhausting because Amrish Puri said he had not seen daylight for 15-20 days. “The large orchards of Mr. India were located in RK Studios. “I have never seen daylight for 15-20 days since Mogambo existed and died in his lair,” he wrote.
Mogamb’s signature dialogue is still popular today, as is Puri’s gesture of tapping the crystal ball on the armrest of his throne. Puri told how the event happened. “I remember sitting on this throne while the lights were adjusting.” Now, just to empathize with the figure, I started tapping my fingers on the throne and wearing all those rings. It looked like a scary gesture and a very sinister sound appeared. Shekhar is very attentive, he noticed and said, ‘Wait – I want this’. And it became one of the characteristic gestures of Mogambo in the film, “he recalled.
Amrish Puri’s Mogambo wore a very specific costume and described in detail that Kapur gave him all the freedom to create his own appearance. “One thing was for sure, black was associated with negative and bright colors decorated with gold embroidery would have shocking value. So the result was the queen and the reign of evil. My makeup was not disgusting, but I suggested that the mustache should be removed and the eyebrows should be oddly arched. Only with this slight change did Mogamb’s face get a special look, “he wrote.
Amrish Puri’s Mogambo is still remembered as one of the most popular villains of Hindu cinema.