Actors in the past have been apprehensive about playing negative roles, especially newcomers who chase their dream of being launched as protagonists in big-budget releases. Blame it on apprehension or sheer arrogance, although in most cases both the qualities have worked in tandem, making it impossible for an actor to explore new avenues. hitlist shortlists the names of five actors who have not just redefined the role of villains, but also convinced the audience to favour both, the protagonist and the antagonist.
After being a drug dealer and smoking pot, in previous films, we thought Gulshan Devaiah was content being stuck in that gear. Until, he got the much-needed kick to explore new avenues. On hindsight, the change came quite dramatically as he acknowledged the widespread tale: “Shruti Mahajan, the casting director of Goliyon Ki Raasleela—Ram-Leela, saw me running errands at Versova many times. Finally, she gave me a call and asked me to meet Sanjay Leela Bhansali. We had a 20-minute meeting and things were finalised.” If that didn’t amaze you, then this might: many actors are famous for the co-relations they make in order to bring forth a character. The actor shared a very interesting method that he applied: “I thought I should be like a wolf that is not in the forefront but lurking in the shadows. I think one might have seen that come across. I often use animal associations to get to the depth of the character.”
Tahir Raj Bhasin
As the actor claims, it took him a year-and-a-half to get the antagonist’s role in the film Mardaani. He says: “In Mardaani I played the role of a villain behind a drug and prostitution racket. Where do you go after that? You cannot possibly get more evil. But, it has opened up this whole range of characters that are grey, and characters that are absolutely romantic, and a good actor versus a star.” He is of the opinion that playing a negative role is just another experiment for a good actor and “internationally, protagonists are no longer black or white, they are people with shades of grey. The Indian audience is progressing towards this trend.” On what brought out his character in Mardaani he says, “Watching dealers in Mumbai’s redlight area and being given the freedom to play the part against the stereotype and a lot of rehearsals helped me improvise.”
If you haven’t watched Lai Bhaari because of linguistic shortcomings, get hold of your Maharashtrian friend and watch the film for the incredible performance of Sharad Kelkar. When he comes on the screen, you might feel like you have seen the guy somewhere. You have, because he played a grey character in Goliyon Ki Raasleela– Ram-Leela and has also garnered considerable fame as a television actor. In Lai Bhaari, he returns with a greyer shade that won him his first film award. While he asserts that an award gives a little more appreciation, he is prouder to have been able to contribute to a team effort that made Lai Bhaari, the highest grossing Marathi film of all time. As to whether the movie has shot him into the limelight or not, he says, “It has obviously helped, but I want to experiment with new characters. I have to be careful, because as of now, I have only received offers to play a similar kinds of roles. As an actor, I want to keep experimenting and I am here to learn so I do not want to take up every role that comes my way because I do not want to grow as an image, but as actor.”
Already knee-deep in the modelling industry, this actor decided to walk through the heavily-flooded alleys of Bollywood. This gigantic leap, like the one faced by most of us, after a few seconds into a game of Temple Run, usually ends in a disastrous fall.
However, Freddy proved himself by an impressive and promising act in the film Holiday opposite Akshay Kumar. According to Freddy, “The actors of our time are very adventurous; we are not clichéd villains. If you look at the role played by Tahir (Bhasin) or myself, we are just common people who are part of the society. We play the role of normal guys with bad intentions.” Although most newcomers are apprehensive, Freddy argued otherwise: “I did not have any apprehensions because I saw it as a big step forward; to get a chance to work with Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and AR Murugadoss (the director of the film) is not an opportunity that one should miss.”
Here is an actor who need not have bothered about the matinee fame; Manav Kaul is already an acclaimed playwright and actor in the theatre circle. Why did he choose Bollywood, then? He says, “I agree that both arts are very different; in cinema the audience comes really close to you. When the audience is staring at your face, you have to live the character. I love this aspect of cinema because whatever is in your heart can be felt by the audience.” Besides, he was very overawed by Hansal Mehta’s Shahid, which did not allow him any second thoughts when he was considered for Citylights. He adds, “I am just two films old in Bollywood, after Kai Po Che and Citylights, but I will never leave theatre because that is what I breathe. When Hansal shared the role with me, he also gave me complete freedom to interpret the role. I did not approach the character as if I am approaching the character of a villain, but with the sincerity that I have approached every theatre character till date. So it was sincerity towards the character that worked for me.” It did indeed as Manav’s act of Vijay sir in Citylights had the audience and critics raving.
While the new age villains are setting standards, here are a few dialogues that set apart these veterans
Tokyo mein rehte ho par tokne ki aadat nahin gayee -Pran
Saara shehar mujhe lion ke naam se jaanta hai -Ajit
Main jo aag lagata hoon use bujhana bhi jaanta hoon -Prem Chopra
Itni mazedaar cheez bhagwan ke liye chhod doon? Kabhi nahi! -Ranjeet
Shakaal ke haath mein jitne patte hote hai utne hi patte uski aasteen mein bhi hote hain -Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Pratap ke haath itne lambe hain ke tujhe jahannum se bhi ghaseet laaye -Prem Nath
Mogambo khush hua -Amrish Puri
Zindagi mein kuch ehsaan aise bhi hote hain jinki keemat asal se zyada sood mein chukani padti hai -Jeevan
Arre oh Sambha, kitne aadmi thhey? -Amjad Khan
Apna ussool kehta hai daayen haath se jurm karo baayen haath ko pata bhi na chale -Danny Denzongpa