Back home, Bollywood Baddies have varied from gangsters, local goons, and corrupt cops to wicked step moms and mother -in-laws. There is also a breed of Bollywood Villains who are known for a different genre of notoriety. Their speciality lies in molesting wives, girlfriends and sisters of the protagonists. They scandalized our aunties, make them wipe their misty noses with tear soaked cotton handkerchiefs and blurt out, ‘Kaminey tere ghar mein ma behen nahi hain kya?’(Rascal, don’t you have a mother or sister at home?) Off late, the existence of such nasty felons is sort of on the decline with candy floss romances, cheating husbands, bikini babes and item numbers taking over. So let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and track down some of the most iniquitous characters seen on the silver screens of Bollywood.
Bhavani Devi - Sau din Saas Ke
Played by Lalita Pawar
Schemer, envious, spiteful Matriarch Bhavani Devi runs her regal home with an iron hand. A fly wouldn’t dare move an inch without her permission. Trouble starts when her sons marry women against her wishes, worse the blushing brides didn’t being a lot of dowry with them. Bhavani Devi would go to any extent to instil fear in the hearts of her daughters in law, and resorts to extreme measures like hitting them and burning their pretty toes. Her tyranny goes well, till the entry of her second daughter is law, Reena Roy in the guise of an subtle iron woman, who has the guts to say “Bas Kijiye Maaji”. (Enough already mother).
Member of Parliament Chaturvedi – Aakhree Rasta
Played by Sadashiv Amrapukar
He is so sly that he sends the husband of his muse on a rail roko andolan. While the ignorant hubby David D'Costa (Amitabh Bachchan) is out there as a devoted political party worker, rising politician Chaturvedi pays a quick visit to the naïve and unsuspecting wife-Mary (Jayaprada). He strips her off a 9 yard long saree and ahem, does it with her, as she squeals ‘Bachao’ (all the while verbalizing graphic details of his carnal aggression). When husband D'Costa discovers what happened, Chaturvedi pays off some cops to put him behind the bars before any confrontation can happen. After serving his term, a vengeance driven D'Costa (who now wears a grey wig) is out there to pound Chaturvedi to death, to avenge his wife’s dishonoring. Chatturvedi, watch out, Big B has spent two decades with a bunch of hardened criminals and beating you in your own game, should be cake walk for him! (Rama Shetty in Ardha Satya and Maharani in Sadak are two of the other notable negative characters played by Amrapukar. I would have written about them too, but my mean editor has given a word limit).
Shakaal - Shaan
Played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Shakaal-the name itself is intimidating, isn’t it? There’s something about this authoritative first names that makes Bollywood Bad guys more villainous. Shakaal is bald, wears designer costumes custom made to suit his personality, and parks his arse on a colossal throne. His calm demeanor and sardonic smile makes him one of the most sophisticated and avant-garde villains Bollywood has witnessed. Besides what do you say about a guy who has his own island, controls it from a roomful of switches and has his own shark? I’d pretty much stay out of his way.
Loin - Kalicharan
Played by Ajit
Say hello to another suit-boot walla angrez type villain in Hindi Cinema. Nothing beats the “Saara seher mujhe loin ki naam se jaanta hain”. (The whole city knows me by the name of loin).Din Dayal is an honest rich guy who rules the empire of crime and Mafia under the alias of Loin. He is the man under whom black-marketing, smuggling and robberies flourish in the city but makes sure to maintain a clean image in the public eye. It takes the iron will and hand of Inspector Kalicharan to crack a duplicitous nut like Din Dayal a.k.a Loin
Prem - Bobby
Played by Prem Chopra
In the 21st century, Prem would have been an average promiscuous commitment phobic bachelor, who dates the pretty supporting actress and ditches them due to his lust for the heroine. His brief cameo in Bobby as Prem Chopra and the famous one liner ‘Prem Naam Hain Mera, Prem Chopra’ (The name’s Prem, Prem Chopra) sort of encompasses an entire career spent on the wrong side of the law. Prem Chopra a.k.a. Prem the sleazy bad boy, who even manages to attract pretty girls, perhaps the only one of his kind during his time.
Rahul Mehra - Darr
Played by Shahrukh Khan
He may be suspending from invisible cables and shaking his booty to the beats of Chammak Challo with Kareena Kapoor; but long before science had its way and transformed a curly haired geek into a spiky haired Superhero, Shahrukh Khan played a star-crossed psycho stalker. He anonymously sings love songs for his love interest and his naughty crank calls professing his love for k-k-k-Kiran keeps getting crazier and scarier as the film progresses. Worse, he fell for a woman married to none other Sunny Paaji, the owner of a dhai kilo wajan wala haath (an arm that weighs 2.5 kilos). Yet the pretty boy manages to slip the grip of the mighty Sunny Deol, bump off a few guys and almost woos his lady love till he gets shot by her angered husband.
Ma’am - Kaun
Played by Urmilla Matondkar
A white collar worker and a thief posing as cop manage to enter the lavish house of a solitary girl on a rainy night. The girl had seen a piece of news about a serial killer earlier that evening and it appears that either of the two men could be the serial killer from the news. But hold on, what do we see? The seemingly innocent girl is actually a psycho herself! She stabs her victims for no apparent reason, throws them off the roof and sings nursery rhymes. Urmilla Matondkar’s convincing portrayal of a nameless psycho killer (addressed as Ma’am by the other two characters) would completely leave you baffled and gasping for breath. You better not look into those eerie looking eyes, for she could make you freeze with her gaze.
Kesariya Vilayti aka BAD MAN – Ram Lakhan
Played by Gulshan Grover
Time for some iconic Bollywood villains, one of them being the Kesariya Vilayti a.k.a Bad Man! When a man calls himself bad, well there’s no stopping him. There’s nothing much one remembers about this character but for his name and the way he says BAD MAN! The notorious gangster pretty much plays his cards right but the government slaps a reward for him, and he gets captured by street urchin named Lakhan.
Mogambo - Mr India
Played by Amrish Puri
When one is making a list of Bollywood Baddies, is it possible to leave out Mr. Amrish Puri? He had convincingly portrayed so many negative roles that it was hard to accept him as a good man when he graduated into character roles. It is safe to say that Mogambo is the most iconic villain role Amrish Puri has ever performed. He dresses like he’s walked out of Buckingham palace, has blonde hair, but speaks excellent Hindi. His den looks like a sci-fi set, he has Chinese scientists making missiles for him, and a minion that chants in chorus ‘Hail Mogambo’. He is out there to promote bonding and alliances in the community of international terrorism and his control room is bigger than Shakal or Loin’s. When he is happy he says ‘Mugambo Khus Hua’ and it takes the might of an invisible hero like Mr. India to take him down.
Gabbar - Sholay
Played by Amzad Khan
Amitabh Bachchan seems to have had trysts with most of the baddies on our list during his hay days. Amzad Khan’s debut as a super villain Gabbar Singh in probably the Indian version of The Good, the Bad and The ugly has a cult following till date. Every single dialogue that he uttered in Sholay, his repugnant laughter, and his tobacco spitting (Khak Thu) has attained an iconic status among cine goers, then and now. Gabbar’s leads and feeds a bunch of sidekicks, the most accountable ones being Samba and Kaaliya. His Return on Investment model is taxation on the people of Ramgarh village. His only mistake was to chop Thakur’s hand (sort of the village headman) instead of wiping him off completely. The handless Thakur backfires by hiring two city bred ruffians to put an end to Gabbar’s regime. Gabbar Singh is credited some of the most immortal lines of Bollywood history, the most famous ones being ‘Kitne Aadmi the’ and ‘Yeh Haath mujhe de de Thakur’.
-by Parmita Borah