Temple of Doom is also a prequel to Raiders Of The Lost Ark, which means that Indy being confronted by TWO swordsmen takes place before the famous incident in the marketplace. Indy's gun could've come in handy several points through Temple, and thus it's his first choice in Raiders when a sword-bearing enemy comes across him.
It's also why he appears to carry two guns in Raiders.
Another is ripping out a beating heart. It's all about perspective. When we see it done the first time, it's from the followers' viewpoint, who believe the victim's heart is being ripped out. When we see it tried again, it's from Willie and Indy's perspective, who realise the whole thing is a sham, and don't fall for the trick.
Not to mention the fact that your argument is built on the assumption that any supernatural element in the story means that anything which could be supernatural is. Point in fact, if the heart-ripping really is the result of the power of suggestion(as I am inclined to believe), it makes the actual power of the Stones more spectacular and goes further to explain why the Thugees would want them, i.e. so they no longer have to pretend to have magic powers.
Plus, all the followers were drugged with hallucinogenics so they would believe whatever Mola Ram wanted them to believe.
There's also the factor that he probably didn't rip Willie's heart out, because he wanted to do something more terrible to her. Such as making the brainwashed Indy restrain her and lower her to the pit.
Exactly, he wanted Indy to break her heart.
Why the stones worked in Indy's favor even though he didn't worship Shiva. The Shaman prayed to Shiva prior to their departure to Pankot to help guide them. So Shiva was on his side, whether he worshipped Shiva or not. As well as the fact that because Indy spoke Hindi, he knew how to invoke Shiva through the stones just by knowing the language. Whilst Mola Ram who was aware of both Shiva and Kali pretty much tarnished the former. Gods get more pissed off at believers tarnishing their truths than those that don't believe in them at all. In addition, Shiva specifically has been known to acknowledge worship even when it's inadvertent and the worshipper doesn't know or realize what he's doing: there is a Hindu story of a thief who receives Shiva's blessing after the thief spends the night hiding in a tree. The tree is a kind sacred to Shiva, and the thief spends the night idly pulling leaves from the tree and dropping them, where they land on a Shivalingam together with milk dripping from the thief's sack of food. If Shiva will acknowledge that, Indy's heartfelt denunciation of Mola Ram in Shiva's name would likely qualify as well.
Huh, this troper always took it to be that Indy was a historian, a teacher, essentially a scientist of sorts, looking for facts to support beliefs. He doesn't immediately believe in the magic of something until he actually sees it work. Mola Ram on the other hand was just a religious hypocrite, twisting religious tales to suit his needs. My view was that, as Indy said, Mola Ram had betrayed his beliefs to benefit himself, while Indy, the objective outsider, may not be a believer but as such certainly wasn't betraying ANY beliefs, hence why the stones would work for him to smite Mola Ram with godly fury.
The Artistic License regarding Kali worship makes more sense when you consider that Mola Ram is blaspheming Hinduism in-universe.
That and the possibility that he doesn't truly believe in the god he claims to worship and that he's simply using his self proclaimed belief to control the other Thuggees. Like a real cult.
Also: this is 1935. As multiple people state in the movie, the Thuggee have been extinct for a hundred years at this point, plenty of time for their image to get distorted. So, picture this - Mola Ram decides to revive the Thuggee as his own personal cult, he bases it on the information that's available to him at the time, but because so much of that information is British colonial pop culture and propaganda, or influenced by it, the cult ends up looking more like that than like the reality.
There are a lot of indignant viewers who roll out the blackboard and address the film's numerous inaccuracies when it comes to Hinduism, even though it's fairly clear that whatever religion the Thuggee in the movie are practicing, it's either an extremely corrupted version of Hinduism, like what the People's Temple was to Christianity, or it's not Hinduism at all. Who says they couldn't serve eyeball soup and monkey brains if they're already not adhering to Hindu customs?
Why Willie didn't burst into flames when she was closer to the Lava than the last guy? Because at the time the other guy was being sacrificed, Mola Ram had his heart out and was chanting. It was a spell Mola Ram chanting which caused the flames to rise. Whereas when Indy and Short Round were trying to save Willie, Mola Ram escaped and the rest of his chanting followers were busy fighting Indy to invoke Kali.
The Thuggee assassin tries to strangle Indy in his bedroom. This is a reference to the way Thuggees were said to have killed their victims: strangulation.
Also for a rather hefty man, the assassin seems to blend in with a flat, two-dimensional wall painting a little too easily...
Of course, Indy was too busy thinking about Willie to notice.
In typical Indiana JonesArtistic Licence Biology fashion, we get the line, "Those aren't big birds, sweetheart, they're giant vampire bats." They're actually fruit bats; vampires are small, nocturnal, and South American, all of which the well-travelled Indy should know. But this is Indy telling Willie, and she's been getting on his nerves for the last day and a half. He's winding her up.
That, or it's a fictional species of bats.
After Indy and Lau Che exchange the remains of Nurhaci for a large diamond, Lau demands the diamond back in exchange for the antidote to the poison he just drank. The exchange does take place despite the ensuing chaos. Indy does end up with the antidote and the diamond gets lost in a pile of ice in Lau's club. All Lau has to do is wait for the ice to melt and pick up the piece that doesn't.
In the meeting between Indy and Lau Che, it's revealed that Indy had to fight off one of Lau Che's men who broke into Indy's place and tried to steal the ashes of Nurhaci. Why did Lau Che try to steal the ashes before the meeting? Because he probably thought that Indy would give them to a museum.
This movie chronologically takes place before Raiders of the Lost Ark. Where happened to Short Round, Indy's KID sidekick, in between the two adventures?
Word of God is that he went to boarding school and became an archaeologist.
Which also nicely explains why Indy does indeed care about the money he gets selling the few artifacts he can to the museum after Belloq steals the idol in Raiders; He has Short Round's schooling to pay for.
You have to wonder how many of the other Thugee cultists were just innocent guys being mind controlled like Indy was.
Doubly so when you consider that the shooting script and the novelization showed Mola Ram himself snapping out of brainwashing just before falling to his death.
You also wonder if the sacrificial victim was a cultist randomly chosen, or one of the enslaved children (he almost looks like a teenager).
When you consider that being burned breaks the Black Sleep, think of the poor cultists who ended up in the lava pit. They presumably were broken out of their mind control just in time to fall into lava. It would be more horrifying if the Thuggee slave driver also broke free of the black sleep once he started to get flattened by the rock crusher.
Though perhaps some joined willingly and could be More Than Mind Control, as the cultist Shorty burned before Indy still tried to lower Willie into the lava.
Mola Ram cavalierly kills off his own men regularly. It's not too surprising when you look at it from his perspective... these cultists mean nothing to him, and with the hundreds of captive male children (which will eventually become men), he has an inexhaustible supply of mooks. So their lives have absolutely no value to him.
There is a strong possibility that Mola Ram's men were once children who were kidnapped and enslaved like the recent ones. Then end up becoming nothing more than brainwashed minions by the time they've reached adulthood.
Just what exactly happened to the prince prior to being brainwashed?
Just what exactly happened to the prince after being brainwashed? Short Round snapped him out of it, then skedaddled with Willie and Indie. They left a child in the mine.
Seeing how he was able to give Short Round precise directions to escape the mine off the top of his head, dollars to donuts the Maharajah was able to get himself to safety just fine.
If you look closely, he's with Blumbertt and his men when they arrived to save Indy.
Short Round barely cries out when being whipped. Indy says he been on the street since the age of four. It's not hard to imagine he had endured worse.
Also, it was the brainwashed kid Maharaja whipping Shorty; he could probably just swing it hard enough to sting, but not do any real damage unlike the Taskmaster, who whips Indy hard enough to leave bloody gashes all over his back.
The infamous dinner scene in the palace. When I was younger, I thought it was just a typical, "Wow, foreign cultures have really weird diets". It wasn't until I was older that I thought it wasn't the regional culture that brought the menu to the palace. It's a sign that the corruption of the Thuggee cult is becoming more powerful, and that the local nobles are being corrupted by Mola Ram's efforts.
It could also be an attempt to mess with those interfering and stupid white foreigners by feeding them literal Nausea Fuel so they'd get the hint and leave.
How long was the Thuggee assassin standing there in Indy's room, undetected and watching, until he had the opportunity to attack?
If you look closely, he was already right there when Indy says "I'm a conceited ape?".