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"...don't call me Junior!"
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"Om Namah Shivaya!"
―Sacrifice Victim[src]

A Sacrifice Victim was one of the prisoners of the Thuggee cult under Mola Ram. He was killed in 1935 as part of a ceremony at the Temple of Doom in India.


In 1935, when Indiana Jones, Willie Scott and Short Round found their way down into the Thuggee Temple of Doom, they witnessed high priest Mola Ram sacrifice a man to Kali. As he was being dragged to the altar he helplessly protested about was happening, he was then placed inside an iron cage. Ram reached inside his chest and removed his heart, but the man continued to live without it.[1]

During the 'ceremony' the man prayed to Shiva, knowing his fate. He was then immersed in molten lava, where his skin and clothes caught fire before he was killed by the lava; he screamed in fear and pain throughout the whole experience. As he died, his heart caught fire in Mola Ram's hand as the priest cackled insanely.[1]

Afterwards, Jones made a note in his journal to research a scientific, medical explanation for the victim's survival without a heart as he considered it unlike anything he had ever witnessed before.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

Deep Fried Sacrifice

The sacrifice victim died as he was lowered into lava.

The Sacrifice Victim was portrayed by Nizwar Karanj in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.[1]

According to mechanical effects supervisor George Gibbs, to shoot the scene where the victim's heart gets ripped out by Mola Ram, they had to use a heart fitted with an electric motor inside to simulate its beating. Amrish Puri, Mola Ram's actor, used a fake arm so he could be safely hold aloft the heart as it burst into flame.[3] The victim's chant was developed on set following director Steven Spielberg and the production team telling Karanj how his character was to die. They asked what he would say and Karanj responded with "Om Namah Shivaya".[4] "Om Namah Shivaya", is a Hindu mantra which means "adoration to Lord Shiva".

The Sacrifice Victim's "yanking out of the heart" scene became infamous following the film's release. In a 2012 retrospective collective interview with Empire, associate producer Kathleen Kennedy considered the scene as the "one thing that put all of them over the edge", as the 1984 film Gremlins, produced by Spielberg, had recently included a dark scene involving a microwave around the same period. Because of those two scenes, Kate Capshaw (Willie Scott) felt that Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment "started" the PG-13 rating.[5]

In LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, instead of having his heart ripped out and lowered into the pit, the victim gets lowered and brought back up alive without injury, just wearing boxer shorts, much to his embarassment.[6] The man is absent from the sequel, however, as the sacrificial cage is instead used to broil chicken for comedic purposes.[7]



Notes and references[]