Puri acted in more than 500 films between 1967 and 2005, and was one of the most successful villains in Bollywood. Most of them were hits. Puri first came to Bombay in the early 1950s following the footsteps of his elder brothers – Madan Puri and Chaman Puri, who were already established actors known for playing villainous roles. He failed his first screen test, and instead found a job with the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation Ministry of Labour and Employment (ESIC). At the same time, he started performing at the Prithvi Theatre in plays written by Satyadev Dubey. He eventually became well known as a stage actor and won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1979. This theatre recognition soon led to work in television ads and eventually to films at the relatively late age of 40.