Mogambo khush hua!

Over a period of more than three decades, Amrish Puri portrayed characters of many colours and hues on the celluloid, but his most iconic performance by far has to be that of the megalomaniac Mogambo. In an industry that churns out 100s of mediocre films every year, even an above average flick gets branded as “good cinema”, hence most of them hardly have any recall value. It indeed becomes very rare for people to remember the characters, and more so the villains.
But Mogambo and Gabbar Singh are arguably the only two villains in the history of Hindi cinema who have stood the test of time and their respective catchphrases – “Mogambo khush hua” & Gabbar’s “Kitne Aaadmi the” – have become part of the public lexicon. While Amjad Khan’s cave-dwelling, horse riding Gabbar was more relatable to the Indian audience, the missile-totting Mogambo was somewhat of a novelty that the Indian audience had come across.
Now, it is not an easy task to introduce a character to the Indian viewers, but Shekhar Kapur’s excellent direction and of course Amrish Puri’s over the top, larger than life performance of the maniac, hell-bent on bombing India, enthralled the Indian viewers like never before. From 1987, when Mr India was released, till his last day, he was loved and revered by the fans as Mogambo. All of his roles, irrespective of their quality, were relegated to the corner of the mind where random memories dwell, but never surface.
On his 78th birth anniversary (June 22, 2010), his director Shekhar Kapur tweeted: “Happy Birthday Mr Amrish Puri/Mogambo wherever u r, on this earth u r irreplaceable”. This would have pleased Mogambo for sure.

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