100 years of Bollywood: 10 characters we love
We pick our most beloved onscreen roles brought to life by great actors
Inspector Vijay Khanna (Zanjeer)
“Yeh tumhare baap ka ghar nahi, ye police station hai!” (this is not your father’s house, this is a police station) growls Vijay to Pran’s character Sher Khan.
This was the birth of an angry young man, a man who would break the law to get things right. Zanjeer was definitely a star-making role for Amitabh Bachchan as he was very unconventional in comparison to other actors at the time. He didn’t have a buffed up body like Dharamendra, he was not romantic like Rajesh Khanna, but he still managed to carve an enviable niche for himself post this film though.
Mogambo (Mr India)
“Mogambo Khush Hua” mouthed by the late Amrish Puri in Mr India became as popular as the movie itself! As a villain, Mogambo was menacing…probably the first super villain that India had seen till then.
He spoke, he threatened, he clicked his fingers on a globe on his throne, built missiles etc. Even today, you’ll here his iconic line being said by some fan or the other.
Rajesh Khanna immortalised himself as Anand a cancer patient on verge of dying. He taught everyone: Zindagi badi honi chhaiye, lambi nahi (life should be fruitful, not long).
He brought an ease to his character who did things his way, be it just walking up to a stranger and talking to him or giving advice to Amitabh on his love life.
“Waise toh hame zyada baat karne ki aadat toh hai nahi”…everytime Hema Malini would say this, the audience would expect her to go silent, but she would do the opposite! She was boisterous, frank and strong.
“Kitne aadmi the?” Amjad Khan was not the original choice for the film, but when you see the film there couldn’t possibly be anyone who could have done the role better than him. He was ruthless and charming!
Mary Evans a.k.a. Mary Evans Wadia a.k.a. Fearless Nadia(8 January 1908 – 9 January 1996) was an actress and stuntwoman who is most remembered as the masked, cloaked adventuress in Hunterwali (The Princess and the Hunter) released in 1935, which was one of the earliest female-lead Indian film.
Radha (Mother India):
Nargis was the director Mehboob Khan’s first choice for the role of Radha, and despite only being 26 years at the time, she played the role of the new wife, young single mother and an aged mother of two sons.
The character of Radha played by Nargis is shown as the epitome of womanhood— she surivives everything and stands up against what’s wrong, even killing her own son to protect the honour of a girl and her village.
Crime Master Gogo (Andaz Apna Apna):
He happens to be the only comic relief in the list. Not only is he Mogambo’s nephew, but also one of the craziest characters ever written.
His comic timing was impeccable and the way Shakti Kapoor mouthed his lines like “Aay hu kuch to le jaunga” still rings in certain circles.
Munnabhai (Munnabhai MBBS):
Sanjay Dutt got a new lease of life when he returned to the screen as this lovable goon in the Munnabhai series.
He not only taught people “tension nahi lene ka,” but also told them that “jadoo ki jhappi” works like a dream even with the enemy. And when everything else fails, Gandhigiri is the way to go by.
Bhiku Mhatre (Satya):
Is this guy good, bad or plain crazy? A ruthless hitman for the mafia and an equally loving family man, the audience falls in love with Bhiku Mhatre played by Manoj Bajpai, his eccentric mannerisms and his hyena like laugh. Who can forget, “ Mumbai Ka King Kaun--Bhiku Mhatre!”