When Amrish Puri Refused To Audition For Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones 2
Did You Know? Amrish Puri Initially Rejected Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones 2 ( Photo Credit – IMDb; Wikimedia )

Indian Cinema has a number of villains, but no one comes close as Amrish Puri who has impressed everyone by playing negative characters in his long acting career. On the other hand, there are very few Bollywood stars who have worked in Hollywood and among them was Amrish, who played the villain in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. However, the actor had turned down the offer; scroll below to know what made him reconsider his decision.


Released in 1984, the Harrison Ford starrer is the second instalment in the Indiana Jones franchise and a prequel to the 1981 film. The movie was nominated for the Academy Award and won an Award for Best Visual Effects. A sequel, Last Crusade was later released in 1989, followed by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. Ford is currently working on the fifth movie, which is set to release in 2023.


Coming back to the topic, before his passing away, Amrish Puri in his autobiography, The Act of Life, had written that he initially refused Steven Spielberg’s offer to work in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Later when casting director Dolly Thakore sent his pictures to the filmmaker from the horror film Gehrayee, Steven became adamant that he wanted to cast Puri to play the iconic villain, Mola Ram.

Later, a few casting directors from the US had come to India to audition Amrish Puri but he refused that too and asked to watch him perform while he shoots for his film. Interestingly, he even declined to speak dialogues in English and told casting directors, “How does Steven Spielberg know what language do I speak? He would know me as an actor.”

Somehow, the Mr India star agreed to work in Harrison Ford starrer Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and he appreciated the production and the director calling him, “very boyish, an unassuming kind of person.” He further took a subtle dig at how production works in India, he wrote, “None of them had any ego, problems or reservations about my 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.”

During the release, Indiana Jones 2 was embroiled in a controversy as many thought the film is demeaning Indian culture and even called Amrish Puri ‘anti national’. “It was a chance of a lifetime working with Spielberg, and I don’t regret it even for a moment. I don’t think I did anything anti-national; it’s really foolish to take it so seriously and get worked up over it,” the actor wrote.

Years later, Steven Spielberg talking about Amrish Puri, said, “Amrish is my favourite villain. The best the world has ever produced and ever will.”

Stay tuned to Koimoi for more throwback stories.

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