Born to Nihal Chand Puri and his wife Ved Kaur in Nawanshahr, British India, in 1915, Madan Puri was the second of their five children – four sons and a daughter.
Madan Puri grew up in Nawanshahr, completing his education there. In the 1940s, he entered films, with the help of his cousin, the legendary singer K.L. Saigal who had already made a mark in the industry. Madan Puri made his debut in Ahinsa (1947). Over the next 20 years, he established himself as a menacing villain and character actor playing either the uncle/ father/ elder brother, police officer or politician. Breaking away from the stereotypical villain – who either made scary faces or wore clothes that indicated a villainous nature – Madan Puri specialized in his facial expressions revealing the diabolical nature of the character. It was either a leering smile or the expression in his eyes that revealed his villainy instead of any prop.
Averaging around seven to eight films per year, Madan Puri became an established name and was at the peak of his career in the 1960s and 1970s. In a career that spanned over 40 years, Madan Puri acted in more than 400 films, honing his histrionic skills – be what the role may.
Some of his popular movie appearances include – Nau Do Gyarah (1957), Baarish (1958), Howrah Bridge (1958), Jaali Note (1960), Gumnaam (1964), Waqt (1965), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Love In Tokyo (1966), and Shagird (1967). Besides Hindi films, Madan Puri also starred in several Punjabi movies.
Once an established star in his own right, he helped his younger brother, Amrish to enter the film world and make a mark as a legendary villain. Married to Sheela Wadehra, they had three sons. Madan Puri died of a heart attack on 13th January, 1985 at the age of 69.