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Amrish Puri, 72; Busy Character Actor in India’s Film Industry

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Amrish Puri, 72, a leading character actor in India’s film industry, died Wednesday in a Bombay hospital of a brain hemorrhage, a hospital official said.

Puri, who suffered from a neurological disorder, was admitted to Bombay’s Hinduja Hospital on Dec. 28 after falling at his residence the day before.

With his deep voice and gruff, evil laughter, Puri appeared in about 220 Bollywood movies after his 1971 debut in the Hindi film “Reshma Aur Shera.”

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He also had parts in English-language films, including a small role in the Oscar-winning 1982 movie “Gandhi” as Khan, the nonviolence leader’s Muslim sponsor in South Africa, where Mohandas K. Gandhi began his fight against injustice.

Puri shaved his hair for the part of the villain Mola Ram in Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” in 1984.

Before joining the Hindi film industry, Puri acted in Indian theater and did voice-overs for advertising campaigns.


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