Gulshan Grover, popularly known as the Bad Man of Bollywood, says that Indian films have lost their villains. He points out that several actors who were popular as villains have now ventured into comedy. He also adds that since he was the first Bollywood actor to get into Hollywood, the transition cost him many significant roles in Hindi films.
There are hardly any villains in Bollywood films now. What is the reason?
Villains in Hindi movies have been disappearing over the years. The few actors who were popularly known for their villainous roles have either turned comedians or have had their roles taken away from those who played lead roles earlier. For instance, Rishi Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt played villains in Agneepath (2012). In my next film, Bullett Raja, I’m playing the role of a baddie after a long time. It’s directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, who is known to present his characters in a very different, interesting way.
Over the 100 years of Indian cinema, who are the actors who, according to you, have made the most powerful villians?
The villains who have been extremely relevant and powerful were Ajit (Khan) saab and Amrish Puri. Their negative roles were as significant to the stories as that of the main heroes, and people would wait eagerly to see them on screen. However, that charm has been lost over a period of time as more villains are now trying their hand at comic roles.
You were among the first few Bollywood actors to make it in Hollywood (he did American films as far back as the early 2000s). Do you think it paved the way for other Indian actors?
I am the pioneer of the switch from Bollywood to Hollywood. I went there before any other Bollywood actor could even think of doing so. It wasn’t easy to create that path, and it took hard work and many years of exposing Hollywood to Indian movies and our talent. This path was followed and cemented by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, Anil Kapoor and Anupam Kher, who came in later and got more visibility in Hollywood. When I went, there wasn’t enough press to talk about it. Now, I’m happy that they at least mention me publicly.
Do you think the Indian film industry is yet to pay your due as an actor?
In the whole confusion of whether I am a part of Bollywood or Hollywood, I have lost many significant roles in the Indian film industry. My career began by acting in Indian films and I have lost out on a lot by being away in Los Angeles. I don’t want to get into a strange kind of struggle where people want to cast me but aren’t sure whether I am are here or not.