From the time, we were two and in diapers, the world, and our childhood has revolved around a pre-conceived notion of heroes being good and pure and all-powerful and villains being bad and evil and meant to be defeated in the final battle. In our minds and the minds of the story-tellers, there is only this black and white train of thought with no shades of gray in between. But what if there are more colors in a story than just the two standard black and white ? So follow us today on this enlightening and entertaining journey as we travel around the kingdom of Bollywood to meet villains who have blurred the lines and mixed the colors and made us fall in love with the negative characters they portray on screen.
- GABBAR SINGH
Gabbar Singh was the villain in the classic 1975 film Sholay and the character was played by actor Amjad Khan and recognized as one of the most popular negative roles in Bollywood movies. Gabbar Singh was a sadistic, cruel and barbaric dacoit who leads a small band of people in looting, killing, plundering and murdering the innocents of nearby villages. He ruled with an iron fist and his name invoked fear in the hearts of children and adults alike. To prepare for his role in the blockbuster film, Amjad read a book on Chambal dacoits and adopted a North Indian Kariboli mixed with Hindi accent which made his dialogues and delivery so powerful and effective that he went on to do a commercial for Britannia glucose biscuits where it was shocking to see a villain being used to endorse such a product. Filmfare gave Amjad Khan in the role of Gabbar Singh the title of the most iconic villain in Bollywood cinema and Amjad Khan’s journey to stardom began with this first step.
Balram Prasad or Ballu is an escaped convict and criminal terrorist in the film Khlanayak played by the actor Sanjay Dutt after his release from prison following a 42-month confinement. The film went on to be rated as a blockbuster and the 17th highest grossing film of all times in 2013. It was made unforgettable by Sanjay Dutt’s acting as the villain who had a traumatic childhood that forced him to lead a life of crime and sin. The famous song Naik nahi, khalnayak huain main added to the rough and tough, unkempt and dangerous appeal of the villain Ballu.
Mogambo is the lead role played by Amrish Puri in the science fiction film Mr. India released in 1987 which was the highest grossing film in that year and was also counted among the Greatest 100 Indian films of all time. The character of Mogambo as the invisible superhero in a negative role was popular and widely acclaimed after the film’s release and one of the dialogues in the film Mogambo khush hua is still accredited to Puri and his superb acting and delivery in the film. Amrish Puri was nominated in the category of Best performance in a negative role by Filmfare awards seven times and consecutively for three years from 1991 to1993 but unfortunately, he was never able to secure a win.
- SHER KHAN
Sher Khan is a negative role played by Pran who is considered the king among the villains in Bollywood. His famous role of Sher khan in the action film Zanjeer is remembered and praised to this day. His powerful voice, his strong body language, and his dialogue delivery made the antagonist more realistic and believable and gave more vividness to the 1973 action film released at a time when India was embroiled in terror, crimes and anarchy. One of Sher khan’s famous dialogues that added to the appeal and danger of his negative character is Sher khan aaj ka kaam kal par nahi chorta.
- KANCHA CHEENA
In the 2012 film Agneepath, Sanjay dutt makes a comeback appearance as the infamous villain Kancha Cheena, a mob boss, drug lord and a ruthless, merciless man with supreme power. Sanjay dutt with his bald head, heavily khol-lined eyes and shining silver piercing in his ear defined the boundaries of brutality and exploitation of the innocent and his expressions of sadistic laughter at inflicting pain and committing atrocities lend the film a dark, devilish appeal.
This concludes our list for today but of course apart from these actors are those who have beautifully portrayed characters in a negative role but failed to be recognized or justifiably awarded and among them are Danny Dezongpa, Ashutosh Rana, Paresh Rawal and Anupam Kher.