Actor Gulshan Grover, who is known for pulling off some iconic roles as a villain through the years in Bollywood, is disappointed with the current crop of antagonists these days.
The 59-year-old feels that filmmakers focus more on sensationalising their films by casting big names rather than finding the right actors for a dark role. “I am really disappointed to see the actors who are being chosen to play negative characters these days. Yes, now there are better roles written for a villain, but the choice of actors is really poor,” says Grover. He further explains his disappointment in Karan Johar and Amole Gupte as some of the recent examples.
“I didn’t like Karan Johar as the antagonist in Bombay Velvet. Nor did I like Amole Gupte in Singham 2. I think someone else would have done it better,” he says, adding, “These days, they prefer sensationalising the role rather than choosing someone who is actually suited for it.”
Gulshan’s statement has sparked a debate in the fraternity. Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta, known for his gangster films, says, “This is a generalisation. I thought Amole Gupte was brilliant in Singham and Kaminey. These days, we don’t compartmentalise roles into that of a ‘villain’ or a ‘hero’ — characters are increasingly growing to be grey, and they are the way they are because of the story,” he explains.
Here’s what other ‘bad guys’ say
These days, audiences are much more aware, and they want to know why the villain is a bad guy. - Prem Chopra
Gabbar-like dialogues such as ‘kitne aadmi the’ won’t work in the kind of films we have now. - Yashpal Sharma
Now, there is no conventional villain left, and they don’t have their pet one-liners anymore. - Shakti Kapoor
The changing face of the bad guy in Bollywood
From the ruthless zamindars exploiting farmers in the 40s and 50s to the fearful dacoit Gabbar Singh (left) putting little kids to sleep in the 70s, Bollywood always made sure that the antagonist was as terrifying as he could get.
However, in the current scenario, there is no larger-than-life Mogambo (Mr. India, 1987) or Dr Dang (Karma, 1986) or JK (Shahenshah, 1988), but working-class villains such as Laik (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who turned into a killer in Badlapur, because of his circumstances. Actor Sonu Sood, who portrayed the role of a local goon as Chhedi Singh in Dabangg (2010), feels, “I think the lines are blurring between a hero and a villain. We enjoy more realistic, grey roles.”
Veteran actor Prem Chopra, adds, “These days, the audiences are much more aware and want to know why the villain turned a bad guy. May be that’s why the negative roles are written better.”