Good to be bad
Bollywood villains are gaining prominence, as they are considered as marketable as the hero of the film...
With the titular character in Bollywood's most expensive film being based on an anti-hero, it looks like Bollywood's 'bad man' is back with a bang. What is even more remarkable is that the character is essayed by Arjun Rampal and not by the lead, Shah Rukh Khan. Instead, King Khan plays the positive character G.One.
Slideshow: Bollywood's famous villains
Arjun Rampal in RA.One
The resurrection of the big Bollywood villain, who had become almost redundant over the last decade, seems like a welcome change. One barely saw imposing antagonists in the last few years barring a few. The villains of the earlier decades (Gabbar Singh, Mogambo, Dr Dang) were so intense and menacing that they would completely overshadow the hero.
While Shah Rukh Khan's look in RA.One was revealed a while back, Arjun Rampal's look was fiercely guarded for over two years and was unmasked only recently, during Dassehra. The actor's look with the scarlet suit, goatee and the baldhead, makes his character look particularly intimidating. In fact, King Khan said in one of the interviews that he was feeling insecure of Rampal stealing all the thunder from him.
Similarly, Sanjay Dutt who plays the negative role of Kancha Cheena in Karan Johar's Agneepath remake has generated more buzz than the lead actor Hrithik Roshan, who steps into the big boots of Amitabh Bachchan. The curiosity in Dutt's character is also raised owing to his interesting look.
In fact, the list of strong villains does not end here. Reportedly, even Krrish 2 has a powerful villain. The role played by Vivek Oberoi is said to be on the lines of Joker from the Batman series. A film veteran says, "It's a good trend. Unless you have a good adversary, the hero won't stand out."
Shah Rukh Khan stunned everyone by opting for negative roles in Baazigar, Darr, Anjaam, early in his career. The Don remake in which King Khan played a baddie, too, received a warm reception at the box office and is being followed by its sequel.
From the current breed of actors, Saif Ali Khan too has experimented with dark characters. His career took a different turn after he played negative roles in Ek Haseena Thi, Being Cyrus and Omkara. John Abraham and Hrithik Roshan wowed the audience as baddies in Yash Raj Film's Dhoom series. Now, Aamir Khan is gearing up to play the bad man in the Dhoom triquel.
Sadly, we haven't seen many great negative roles written for female actors in Bollywood apart from the stereotypical horrid mothers-in-law. The ones, however, that stood out were the characters played by Priyanka Chopra in Aitraaz and Saat Khoon Maaf, Preity Zinta in Armaan, Kajol in Gupt, Amrita Singh in Aaina and Anu Agarwal in Khal-Naaikaa.
Directors like Vishal Bhardwaaj and Anurag Kashyap are fascinated by grey characters and are known to make dark films. Vishal had earlier said in an interview, "I find dark humour very fascinating - it instigates something in you- it scares you, disturbs you but is funny at the same time."