Chattar Lal is a major antagonist of the 1984 Indiana Jones film Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. He is the Prime Minister of Pankot and a secret member of the Thuggee cult.
He was portrayed by Roshan Seth.
Well-spoken and outwardly demure, Chattar Lal seemed to have the makings of an able politician. He was a graduate of Oxford University and served as Prime Minister to Maharajah Zalim Singh. As the Maharajah was still a minor, it was largely apparent that Chattar Lal took care of most of the day-to-day operations of the Maharajah's region. However, Lal was secretly a fanatical member of the murderous Thuggee, devoted to worshiping Kali Ma with human sacrifice. Through regularly administered doses of psychotropic drugs, he subjugated Pankot's young ruler, the Maharajah Zalim Singh, thus allowing the Thuggee to operate with impunity inside Pankot — until 1935, when Indiana Jones, on a mission to recover the Sankara Stone for the people of Mayapore, appeared outside the Pankot Palace gates.
Lal greeted Jones and his friends at the palace, and conversed with Jones on the subject of the Thuggee while at a state dinner headed by the young maharajah. At first, he dismissed reports of the Thuggee cult as stories Jones may have picked up from his time spent at the village, but when Jones persisted, Lal became outright defensive. Jones, realizing the inappropriateness of criticizing his hosts, apologized for shooting his mouth off, but not before the Maharajah made a sympathetic statement that at one time there were indeed Thuggees in his kingdom and that he had dedicated himself to rooting them out.
Later, as Jones, Short Round, and Willie Scott discovered the Temple of Doom below Pankot Palace, Lal appeared in his Thuggee worshiping attire. After Jones was forced to drink from the Chalice of Kali, Lal assisted in the main temple. When Short Round escaped from slavery and arrived to rescue Jones, Lal fought with the liberated Jones, and briefly undid Jones' effort to raise the cage containing the sacrifice victim, Scott. Despite wielding a large knife, Lal was defeated, thrown over the large wheel controlling the winch, and was seriously crushed by the wheel, which stopped, keeping Scott from being lowered in to the fiery pit. Lal's body was moved out from under the wheel, so that Jones could raise Scott to safety again. However, while Jones and Short Round helped free Scott, Lal apparently made his getaway.
Though injured in the battle, Lal escaped the palace with a good amount of stolen treasure. The British then kept a vigilant eye out for Lal should he try to establish another Kali temple.
- In the early versions of the script, Lal attempts to attack Jones in the Thuggee cavern and is knocked into the lava pit by Jones. This fate for Lal is also included in the novelization of the film and the comic adaptation by Marvel.
- In the LEGO game version of the film, Indy and Short Round must rescue Willie Scott and defeat Lal whose body bursts into LEGO pieces when Indy triggers the heated floors Lal is standing on. In the game's sequel, however, Lal is absent on most consoles but still available to play in the PSP version.
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