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Mola Ram

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"You've betrayed Shiva!"
Indiana Jones[src]

Mola Ram was the high priest of the Thuggee and leader of the cult.


The son of a Thuggee priest, Mola Ram emigrated from Bengal to Pankot in search of three Sankara Stones. With two already in his possession, Ram believed all five would empower the Thuggee to destroy their British persecutors and establish his goddess Kali's reign on Earth. In Pankot, he found a powerful ally in Chattar Lal, the Prime Minister of Pankot Palace. Ram poisoned Pankot's ruler, Maharajah Premjit Singh in 1930 and with Lal's help, subdued the heir: Premjit's young son, Zalim. The pair restored the palace's long-neglected Kali temple, and set up a mining operation beneath the palace, with the intent of locating the remaining stones.

Indiana Jones, Willie Scott and Short Round came across the village that Mola Ram had stolen from and left to rot. The inhabitants there tasked them to go to Pankot Palace and bring the Sankara Stone stolen, as well as the children, back to them. The trio arrived at Pankot Palace, with Indy suspecting it was the centre of activity for the Thuggee, leading to them discovering the Thuggee and Mola Ram in a Thuggee celebration, watching him sacrifice a victim by pulling out his heart and lowering him into a lava pit, and seeing the Thuggee bring out the three Sankara Stones that they had found. After the Thuggee left the room, Indy claimed the Sankara Stone Mola Ram had stolen, and came across the kidnapped and enslaved children, only to be caught. After Indiana Jones, Short Round and Willie were captured, Indy was brought before Mola Ram. Mola Ram revealed his goals to Indy and then had him drink the blood of Kali, turning him into one of them, and had Short Round enslaved with the rest of the children. Mola Ram attempted to sacrifice Willie to Kali, and allowed Indy to do it for him. Indy nearly lowered Willie into the Lava Pit below, but Short Round, who had escaped and was free, returned him to his senses with fire, and they saved Willie and fought against the Thuggee. As Indy faced Mola Ram, Mola Ram escaped down a trapdoor. Indy and the others rescued the children, claimed the Sankara Stones and battled numerous Thuggee, with Mola Ram leading the latter. The trio managed to escape the catacombs via a mine cart.
Molaram death

The demise of Mola Ram by crocodiles.

Indiana Jones eventually confronted Mola Ram on a bridge over a nearby gorge, who had captured Willie and Shorty. Indy threatened to drop the Sankara Stones into the river below, but Mola Ram laughed in his face, stating that they would be found, before ordering his men to kill him. Indy cut the rope holding the bridge up, causing most of the Thuggee to fall into the river to be eaten by crocodiles. Mola Ram held onto the bridge and fought Indy for a while, before Indiana called upon the God, Shiva, to use the Sankara Stones against the evil cleric. Mola Ram was burned by the Stones and then fell into the river where he was devoured by the crocodiles.



Following Mola Ram's demise, people searched the river and found no signs of his body. Rumors began to circulate that his body had disappeared from the river and, despite statements by the British that the high priest was dead, they were unable to provide any evidence to prove it, moving to punish anyone who publicly said otherwise.[3]

Maharajah Singh also publicly declared Mola Ram deceased and offered $2,500 to anyone that could provide proof, or information on who might have taken the body.[3]

However, the stories circulating that Mola Ram haunted the ruins of the flooded "Temple of Doom" pleased both parties, as Singh and the British were keen to keep others away from the area.[3]


Mola Ram was a strong worshipper of the Hindu Goddess of Death, Kali, and was devoted to conquering the world and ruling it in her name. He was also highly devoted to the villainous Thuggee cult that he leads, and wishes to make them, and himself, all-powerful. This devotion to evil forces is only a fraction of his villainous character and throughout the film, he is shown to be exactly that: a cruel, heartless, sadistic, ruthless, psychopathic, power hungry and even genocidal man. He enjoys, and is happy to cause, the suffering of others, sacrificing innocents in horrific ways, torturing his enemies and brainwashing them into becoming his subordinates, and even kidnapping innocent children and enslaving them to support his cause, not caring for their mutilation. Mola Ram is also vile to his own allies, throwing one of them to their death in a crocodile-infested river and chuckling at his death. Mola Ram's ultimate plan is an extremely merciless one, as he is willing to rule the entire world and have his belief be the only one there is, and he is shown to be genocidal, wishing to slaughter the British, other religions and he is straight up willing to kill anyone who stands in his way.

Behind the scenes Edit

Mola Ram was portrayed by the late Amrish Puri in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Though he is the main antagonist, he does not appear until an hour into the film. Mola Ram is named after an 18th-century Indian painter.

In early drafts of the story, the burning Sankara Stones actually release Mola Ram from the same "Black Sleep of the Kali Ma" he inflicts on Jones before falling to his death, hinting that he may not have been in control of his actions. It was also intended that Mola Ram, after falling from the bridge, be killed by landing on the rocky embankment below, followed by the crocodiles tearing apart his corpse.[4] However, although this was cut from the film, this happens in the film's novelization and film's comic book adaptation.

Mola Ram Ceremonial Headdress

Mola Ram's ceremonial headdress.

George Lucas wanted Mola Ram to be terrifying, so the screenwriters Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz added elements of Aztec and Hawaiian human sacrificers, and European devil worship, to the character. To create his headdress, make-up artist Tom Smith based the skull on a cow (as this would be sacrilegious) with a latex shrunken head. Puri was chosen as Spielberg and Lucas did not want to cast a European actor and apply dark make-up. In the role, Puri resembles Eduardo Ciannelli, who played the cult leader in Gunga Din, an inspiration for the film.

When Mola Ram is eaten, the Wilhelm scream can be heard.

Non-canon storylinesEdit

While LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures covers the plot points of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in broad strokes — Mola Ram still performs a sacrifice, topples the cistern to flood the mines and is defeated by Indiana Jones on the broken bridge — the game's sequel takes a more liberal approach.[5] LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues depicts Mola Ram and Maharajah Zalim Singh stealing the three Sankara Stones from Mayapore in Jones's presence. When Singh is returned to his senses, Ram uses the Black Sleep of the Kali Ma to animate and take control of the temple's large stone statue of Kali. The pair are led down to the rope bridge and the statue is eventually destroyed with Jones, the Maharajah, Short Round and Willie Scott escaping across the bridge in possession of the Sankara Stones. Mola Ram attempts to give chase wielding the Kali statue's head but the bridge collapses under their weight and Ram falls to his doom.[6]

Mola Ram makes a cameo appearance in LEGO Star Wars: Bombad Bounty as one of the patrons of the Mos Eisley cantina. He can be seen bobbing his head to the cantina band's music until Han Solo shoots Greedo. Jar Jar Binks attempts to clean up afterwards but loses control of his vacuum cleaner and sucks Mola Ram as he attempts to flee.[7]

Appearances Edit

Non-canon appearancesEdit


Notes and referencesEdit

External linksEdit

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