When Amrish Puri was rejected in first screen test for 'harsh' face and 'scary' voice: 'Let me make it my strength'

Jun 23, 2022 03:35 PM IST

Amrish Puri's grandson Vardhan Puri has revealed that Amrish Puri failed his first screen test. Amrish who acted in more than 450 films, died in 2005.

On Amrish Puri's 90th birth anniversary, his grandson Vardhan Puri remembered the late actor on Instagram. Sharing an old picture of Amrish, Vardhan penned a long note for him and told his fans how Amrish got rejected after his very first screen test but did not give up. Also Read: Amrish Puri 'stormed off' set because co-star couldn't memorise lines; grandson Vardhan recalls anecdote

Amrish Puri died in January 2005 after battling skin cancer.
Amrish Puri died in January 2005 after battling skin cancer.

Sharing the picture, Vardhan wrote, “He got blatantly rejected in his first screen test at the tender age of 21 and was told that he could never become a hero with a ‘harsh’ face and ‘scary’ voice like his. “You look like such a villain”, he was told by a smirking ace filmmaker in a deriding fashion. After multiple such rejections and heartbreaks he said to himself one lonely night that, “Wait a minute. I do look different. I do sound different. It’s a fact! But let me not look at this like they all do as my weakness. Let me make it my strength. And then one day the world will take note of me. Let me hone my skills and come back and become a villain and character actor. But before I start my journey I want to be fully prepared.”

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He added, "The very next day he started working relentlessly on stage (while continuing his government job with Employee State Insurance Corporation) with Pt. Satyadev Dubey who went on to become his guru. Years of practice and thousands of shows later, after proving his mettle in the world of theatre and becoming a name to reckon with, the biggest filmmakers of the country started hearing whispers about his name from sources. When the whispers become louder, all of them started attending his plays curious to know what all the hullabaloo was about, sitting on the floor and getting mesmerised by his performance. Mind you, these were the same filmmakers who had rejected him at the age of 21. He was now 41, with a wife and two children. It had taken him 20 years of sincere, unwavering work to get the respect he deserved. No marketing, no selling, no sycophancy. Just plain and simple hard work, patience and discipline.

He concluded by saying, “Who knew that this boy who hailed from a lower middle class family in Nawashahar, Punjab with nothing but dreams in his large bulging eyes would go on and become an actor who Steven Spielberg would call, “The greatest villain the world has ever produced.” Dreams do come true. The man I’m talking about is my God, my guardian angel, my best friend, my idol and my grandfather. His name is Amrish Puri. You know the actor. I wish you knew the human being too.”

Actor Siddhant Chaturvedi wrote, “Forever.” Actor Malvika Raaj called Amrish a ‘legend’. Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur commented, “What an amazing tribute to your grandfather.” Singer Armaan Malik said, “Greatest to ever do it. What a beautiful caption bro.”

One fan wrote, “This is beautifully written @vardhanpuri02 What an inspiring way to pay tribute to your Grandfather.” Another one wrote, “What an amazing journey. Beautifully written.” One fan recalled the time when he met Amrish. He wrote, “What a fantastic actor -What a screen presence -met him once in a hotel in Hyderabad and Puri sahab was most comfortable chatting in Punjabi -this was in 1996."

Between 1967 and 2005, Amrish appeared in over 450 movies as an actor. On January 12, 2005 Amrish died. He had undergone brain surgery to treat his myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare form of blood cancer, after being admitted to the Hinduja hospital on December 27, 2004. From Mogambo in Mr India to the grumpy dad in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Amrish Puri has a long list of legendary roles.

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