So next time you’re watching some current Bollywood hit and you see Amitabh Bachchan making a cameo as an aging kingpin or a lovable uncle with an annoying catchphrase, keep in mind that this is a man for whom the privilege of phoning in performances in fluff roles that are largely the result of stunt casting has been especially hard won.
You’ve perhaps picked up a dvd because its cover bore a picture of, say, Amitabh Bachchan in shades and a bowtie carrying a scope rifle with something blowing up in the background, only to find that the movie contained therein had a couple of underwhelming action set pieces, but was mostly three hours of some guy crying about his mom.
Deep of the voice, wild of the eye, and massive of the brow, Puri, though a versatile actor who played many diverse roles in his four decade career, truly made his mark with his portrayals of over-the-top bad guys in countless Bollywood action and masala movies.
For a movie as silly as Mr. India to sweep you up in its enthusiasms — getting you to root for an invisible Indian everyman against a jackbooted cartoon straw man called Mogambo — is pretty impressive in its own right.
I gather that Disco Dancer has a bit of a legendary reputation amongst people who seek out bad films, especially bad films from Bollywood, and while there’s nothing in the movie that isn’t completely ludicrous, I have to say that there was not a drop of irony in my embrace of this film. It’s just so insanely, beautifully gaudy and completely nuts.