By Archit Mishra
If there was an Encyclopedia on Bollywood, the most searched words would have been: hero, heroine, romance, songs, action/stunt and last but not the least, villain. Though things are changing radically in B-town, a typical Bollywood saga is incomplete without a happy ending where the makers ensure that the hero gives a good dosage of bashing to the villain before the end credits start rolling. Villains have always existed and frankly speaking, a hero is nothing without his arch-nemesis. The theory holds true in real life as well, as even Shri Ram couldn’t have given us the Ramayana, had there been no Ravana. With this write up, we give a tribute to the most hated antagonists of B-town. who have worked endlessly to make the protagonists outshine and make the scripts memorable.
1. Amrish Puri: Though the Indian film industry spans over 100 years, it is still not too difficult to choose the villain who can be crowned as Numero Uno. It is none other than Amrish Puri a.k.a Mogambo who has starred in over 400 films. His portrayal of Mogambo in Shekhar kapoor’s Mr. India (1987) and his dialogue “Mogambo khush hua” have become epic for Indian audiences. Karan Arjun, Ghayal, Badshah, Koyla and Gadar are some of his other films where his villaneous acts were applauded. His persona is not restricted inside Indian borders only and thanks to Steven Spielberg Puri was cast as the main villain “Mola Ram” in his Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). Such was his charisma that Spielberg was forced to quote that “Amrish is my favourite villain – the best the world has ever produced and ever will!”
2. Amjad Khan: If there is a contest to pick the most famous negative character from Indian films, it has to be Gabbar Singh from Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay (1975). Yes, we are taking about Amjad Khan. Can you believe, Sholay was only the fifth film of Amjad’s career (and the first three starring him only as child artist). Danny Denzongpa was the original choice for Gabbar’s role which eventually went to Amjad and got him a Filmfare Nomination for Best Supporting Actor. While preparing for the role of Gabbar Singh, Amjad read Abhishapth Chambal, a book on Chambal dacoits written by Taroon Kumar Bhaduri (Jaya Bhaduri’s father). His famous dialogues from the film include “kitne aadmi the”, “ye hath humko dede thakur”, “yaha se pachas pachas kos door gaaon me jab bachcha raat ko rota hai to maa kahti hai beta soja, soja nahi to gabbar singh aa jaayega”. His other notable acts are from Khoon Pasina, Parvarish, Muqaddar ka sikandar (as Dilawar), Suhag, Kaalia, Laawaris etc. Interestingly he starred in many flicks with Amitabh Bachchan.
3. Danny Denzongpa: The next to feature in our list is Danny Denzongpa who is also a Padma Shri recipient. He has played several memorable baddies like Kancha Chinna (Agneepath – 1990), Bakhtawar (Hum – 1992), Chatur Singh Chitah (Krantiveer – 1995), Dilawar Ujagar Singh (Vijaypath – 1995), ACP Negi (Barsat – 1996) and Katya (Ghatak – 1997). He was nominated in Filmfare awards for Best Supporting Actor – Agneepath and Best Villain for all other films mentioned. Danny has also starred in a few international projects, ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ being the biggest amongst these where he shared screen-space with Brad Pitt. His next upcoming film is ‘Boss’ with Akshay Kumar which hits screens on October 18 2013.
4. Prem Chopra: “Prem naam hai mera, Prem Chopra”. Chopra is one of those few artists who had a great combination of viciousness and comedy. “Nanga nahayega kya aur nichorega kya” is in accordance with this image of his. There was a time when Pran was moving from negative to more mature and positive roles. Prem Chopra took full advantage of this and established himself as the smart villain of that era. Teesri Manzil, Woh Kaun Thi, Do Raaste and Kati Patang had a key role in recognising a villain in him. Chopra also tends to be those rarest villains who got to trouble stars of all eras: Manoj Kumar (Kraanti) ; Rajesh Khanna (Kati Patang, Do Raaste) ; Amitabh Bachchan (Kala Pathar, Do Anjaane, The Great Gambler and Trishul) ; Jeetendra (Mawaali, Maqsad, Majaal); Sunny Deol (Betaab, Arjun, Manzil Manzil) ; Salman Khan (Jagriti) ; Akshay Kumar (Khiladi, Aflatoon), Shahrukh Khan (Zamana Diwana), Govinda (Raja Babu, Anari no. 1, Dulhe Raja) and Ajay Devgan (Hindustan Ki Kasam).
5. Gulshan Grover: “Bad Man”. Just these two words are enough for any bollywood lover to identify that the last baddie in our list is Gulshan Grover. His accomplished performances include Kesariya Vilayati/ ‘Bad Man’ (Ram Lakhan), Natwar Shah (Aankhen), Tapaswi Gunjal (Vishwatma), Chhapan ‘Jimmy’ Tikle (Sir), Banke (Raja Babu), Tyson (Mohra), Shakti (Vijaypath), Kabira (Hera Pheri series) and Jamwal (Dus). Gulshan was one of the first Indian actors to have made successful transition from Bollywood to Hollywood. Grover has won the BBC Award in 2001, for contribution to Indian Cinema. He was part of 5 out of 8 films in the biggest Indian action franchise Khiladi starring Akshay Kumar – Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995), Khiladiyo Ka Khiladi (1996), Mr. & Mrs. Khiladi (1997), International Khiladi (1999) and Khiladi 420 (2000). Forthcoming films: Baat Ban Gayi & Bullet Raja opposite Saif Ali Khan (Bollywood) / Nephilim & Prisoners of the Sun (Hollywood)
Other notable actors who deserve a mention in this article are Pran, Jeevan, Ajit (Lion), Ranjit, Kulbhushan Kharbanda (Shakaal), Shakti Kapoor, Kader Khan, Anupam Kher, Om Puri, Nana Patekar and Mukesh Rishi.
A few A-List superstars have also tried their hands in turning negative like Shahrukh Khan (Darr, Baazigar, and Anjaam); Sanjay Dutt (Khalnayak and Agneepath) and Akshay Kumar (Ajnabee). With time changing, hardcore villainous roles are decreasing. Still Prakash Raj (Khakee, Wanted, Singham and Dabangg 2) and Boman Irani (Don Series, 3 Idiots, Munnabhai Series) have not let hope fade away for the goons of Bollywood.