Study Guide

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Chattar Lal (Roshan Seth)

Chattar Lal (Roshan Seth)

Lal-apalooza

Chatter Lal is the power behind the throne. He's the one who is really in charge—which isn't saying much, seeing that his boss is a brainwashed twelve-year-old. He spends most of the dinner scene criticizing the British, who still occupy India at this time.

Here are some examples:

CHATTAR LAL: It seems the British never forget the mutiny of 1857.

And:

CHATTAR LAL: Captain Blumburtt and his troops are on a routine inspection tour. The British find it amusing to inspect us at their convenience.

And don't forget:

CHATTAR LAL: The British worry so about their empire. Makes us all feel like well-cared-for children.

It speaks volumes about this movie that a dude who is speaking out against colonial rule is cast as the Evil Henchman. This is especially preposterous considering the fact that The Temple of Doom takes place in 1935 (a mere twelve years before Indian independence). Chattar Lal is actually on the right side of history: this is like having a film set in 1764 where the bad guy is an American revolutionary.

But let's not forget that Chattar Lal also aligns himself with a murderous cult. That's never a good idea.

When Willie is about to be sacrificed, we see Lal at the ceremony. He fights Indy, and is thrown into the cage machine's gears. However, the film never makes clear whether or not Chattar Lal is brainwashed or not. After all, the Maharaja uses his Voodoo doll to stop Indy, but that's because he's being controlled by Mola Ram.

Did Chattar Lal willingly align himself with Mola Ram because of his hatred for the British, or was he one of Mola Ram's pawns? We'll never know.

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