Being bad works best in Bollywood - at least when it comes to getting critical wows and the audience’s at tention. Both Saif Ali Khan (Omkara, Being Cyrus) and Sanjay Dutt (Anthony Kaun Hai) have proven it with their recent releases.
On Omkara’s posters Saif as Langda Tyagi has a larger presence than ‘hero’ Ajay Devgan. John Abraham as the stylish crook was similarly more appreciated in Dhoom. Come November, Dhoom’s director Sanjay Gadhvi assures us that Hrithik Roshan as the bad guy in Dhoom 2 will whip up no less a fan run than his superman act in Krrish.
So why does one cast the conventional hero or heroine in a negative role? “By having dashing villains, you veer audience sympathies towards their characters,” says Gadhvi. Agrees, Raj Kaushal, director of Anthony Kaun Hai, in which Sanjay Dutt was chosen to play a hitman because “there was no villainy on his face”.
The credit for kicking off this trend goes to Shah Rukh Khan, who with his ’90s trilogy of Baazigar, Darr and Anjaam, made filmmakers aware of the box-office potential of a hero in negative roles, says Gadhvi.
While the focus may now be on creating ‘humane’ baddies, they still don’t escape the villain’s fate in the end.
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