Boney Kapoor remembers Amrish Puri on actor’s 88th birth anniversary
Amrish Puri had played the iconic villain Mogambo in Mr. India
Producer Boney Kapoor has remembered legendary actor Amrish Puri on his 88th birth anniversary. Amrish Puri had played the iconic villain Mogambo in Mr. India and also starred in an earlier film called Hum Paanch, both produced by Boney Kapoor.
“That was the time when Pran Sahab and Premnath ji were ruling the roost as villains and in prominent character roles. Amrish ji was working in theatre and had already done few very good films with the likes of Shyam Benegal, where he was appreciated a lot but had not got his due in the industry yet,” said Boney Kapoor.
Interestingly, Amrish Puri was signed for 40,000 rupees for Hum Paanch and Boney had promised him 10,000 as bonus if the film succeeded. Eventually, the film became a hit and Amrish Puri was paid 50,000 as his fees.
“For the film Hum Paanch, Amrish ji understood the nuances of his character from Bapu (director of the film) and added his own improvisation improvising for his look. The red shawl that he wore was from the film Ponga Pandit. The picture of the sun on the shawl was symbolic of power that he thought would add to the character of a zamindaar,” added Boney Kapoor.
When Boney signed him for Hum Paanch, he had told Amrish that he is going to become a much sought after villain in years to come.
While the film was being shot, Boney Kapoor told him that his fees would be 2.5 to 3 lakh after the release of Hum Paanch. Only Pran and Premnath were charging that much and more. They were among the highest-paid character artistes/villains those days.
When it came to casting for Mogambo in Mr. India, the makers wanted a new villain who could become cult after this character like Amjad Khan who played Gabbar in Sholay or Kulbhushan Kharbanda who played Shakaal in Shaan started being recognised for those iconic villains.
Auditions were done for 2 months and few of the most popular artists known for playing villains also approached the makers but they couldn’t find their Mogambo. Producer Boney Kapoor, writer Javed Akhtar, and director Shekhar Kapoor then agreed that no one would play the character better than Amrish Puri.
Amrish Puri got a sketch made of his character with the complete get-up including wig, costume and accessories, looking at which Boney Kapoor told Madhav tailor that if he gets the exact look that was shown to him in the sketch, he would pay him double price.
“He was so excited that he worked on his look with Madhav tailor and his make up man Govind. While the dialogues, punch line was written in the script by Javed sahab, his look added the chaar chaand in the personality of Mogambo. I will give all the credit to him for that look and the way he played Mogambo, rest is history as they say,” Boney Kapoor shared.