What’s the first image that comes to your mind when one says 'Bollywood villain'? More often than not, you’ll think of teeth-gnashing, scheming and devious men, usually peppered with despicable grins. But of late, it seems like Hindi film baddies are going for a makeover. Instead of relying on the stereotypes portrayed by the likes of Pran, Prem Chopra and Amrish Puri, film-makers are now going in for a newer set of villains.
Manoj Bajpayee, who has done a variety of character roles, was seen as a Mathura-based goon Gajender Singh in the recently released Tevar. Also, Chandan Roy Sanyal, whose last memorable role was that of Shahid Kapoor’s friend in Kaminey (2009), has been roped in to play the main antagonist opposite Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Sanjay Gupta’s Jazbaa. On the other hand, while Kabir Bedi will be seen essaying a negative character in Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro, Karan Johar has done the same in Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet.
Talking about his role, Manoj says that even if the film is commercial, his performance is clued in reality. “I play an obsessed lover, and I have essayed it realistically,” he explains.Similarly, Karan hopes that his performance is “up to the standard” since this is the first time that he has portrayed an antagonist. “It’s an unusual space for me to get into. But I have to thank Anurag (Kashyap) and Ranbir (Kapoor). [Due to them] I had the confidence to do it; both of them have been a big help to me,” says Karan.
Like the film-maker, Prabhudheva is also likely to be seen in a completely new avatar as he reportedly turns villain in Remo D’Souza’s ABCD 2 opposite Varun Dhawan. So, why this change of image? “It’s part of new-age film-making. The endeavour is to have fresh stories, new style and unusual casting. Also, when a fresh actor is cast, there’s no baggage of an image that weighs them down. So, they can be played around with much more freely,” says trade expert Komal Nahta.
Probably, that’s why Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who got rave reviews for his portrayal of a corrupt businessman in Sajid Nadiadwala’s Kick (2014), will apparently essay negative characters in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and the upcoming film, Badlapur. “Audiences today are ruthless, so you can’t take them for granted. They always demand bolder and newer stuff. If you show them respect, they will also do the same,” explains Sanjay Gupta.
From last year…
Riteish Deshmukh (Ek Villain): The actor, known for his comic roles, played the villain in Mohit Suri’s film, and was applauded for it.
Kay Kay Menon (Haider): The actor, famous for doing a variety of roles, played Khurram Meer inspired by Hamlet’s Claudius to near perfection.
Juhi Chawla (Gulaab Gang): She shared screen space with her contemporary Madhuri Dixit Nene in the film, where she played a scheming politician.