From the silent movie to 3d movies, Bollywood has definitely come a long way. Lately, Bollywood is on the verge of transformation in terms of content, technologies, thoughts and characterization. Bollywood villains for instance have come a long way from being larger-than-life villains to grey characters. From a Shaakal we now have a Ra. One and from a Gabbar we have Mogambo.
One of the early villains was Kanhaiyalal, a crafty, greedy moneylender who thrived on the despair and desperation of the rural class. He represented the cunning middleman of the agrarian society. Two of his iconic roles were Sukhi Lal and Lala Dhaniram in Mother India and Upkar respectively.
Next came Jeevan who is remembered for many of his iconic roles in the 60s, 70s and 80s. He was one of the villains who was known for his comicality, a trend which was later followed by Prem Chopra, Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor. From a cunning zamindar to a shrewd villager, to an urbane sophisticated smuggler, Jeevan has played it all.
If there is one villain who is known for his signature lines like ‘Mona darling’, ‘smart boy’ and ‘Lily don’t be silly’, it has to be Ajit. It was his role in Zanjeer which brought him immense fame. Later, he was seen in the role of a stylish smuggler who was always surrounded by gorgeous females. It was difficult to miss his overwhelming presence because of his stylish western wears, shining leather shoes and big sunglasses.
If there is one villain who has acquired an iconic status, it has to be Amjad Khan. He can be credited to bring ruthless cruelty in cinema. Dacoit Gabbar Singh in Sholay simply stole the show. He was closely followed by soft-spoken and stylish Prem Chopra. It is true that Prem Chopra started the trend of polygamy, illicit relationship and sexual molestation on stage which was carried forward by Shakti Kapoor and Ranjeet in the later movies.
The 80s and 90s saw a host of villains like Ranjeet, Shakti Kapoor, Amjad Khan, but the most memorable one has to be Amrish Puri. He is the ultimate baddie who terrorized the audience with his powerful looks and roaring voice.
Then of course, the ruthless attitude of the baddie was replaced by various shades of grey. Danny as Kancha Cheena in Agnipath or a Shahrukh Khan in Baazigar or Darr, the audience gradually got absorbed into the complexities of villainy which concentrated more on the psychological make-up of the villains and less on physical violence. Of course, some of the most brilliant actors like Ajay Devgan in Deewangi or a Rajnikanth in Robot or an Arjun Rampal in Ra. One have essayed the role of villains. But all these villains are suave, smart and extremely sophisticated. Slick is the operative word for these group of modern villains who rely more on deadly schemes, vindictive attitudes and less on physical fights.
The latest addition to the group of chic villains has to be Vivek Oberoi, a paraplegic and a wheelchair-bound mastermind who wants to rule the world and gives a tough time to Krissh.