Can Bollywood Villains Make Our Heroes Look Bigger On-Screen?

The earlier released Tamil film ‘Thani Oruvan’ has been getting rave reviews for the talented actor Arvind Swamy and it was the first time we have seen this romantic actor in a negative role in his career. This had to be one of the best written negative roles in Indian Cinema. The general feeling is that he overshadowed the hero in the film. There is a rumour that Salman Khan has bought the remake rights of this film. All his fans would like to see him portray a role with a grey shade. We have never seen him doing negative roles in his career. If we look at Indian television, villains and vamps are ruling the roost. As an actor, portraying a negative role is interesting. Shah Rukh Khan has done negative roles in ‘Baazigar’, ‘Darr’, ‘Anjaam’, ‘Ram Jaane’, ‘Don’ and ‘Don 2’. If we look at the films made in the South, the role of the villain is better written. The villain can make the hero look bigger in the eyes of the audience. Same is the case in Hollywood.

Bollywood has not been giving its dues to the villains in our films. In last ten to fifteen years, we did not have a single actor, who has consistently shined as a villain, either as the main protagonist or in a supporting role. Earlier we had Amrish Puri, Danny Denzongapa, Paresh Rawal, Gulshan Grover, Shakti Kapoor and Ranjeet.

Even Anupam Kher did negative roles during that time. Amitabh Bachchan’s films at the peak of his career always had strong villains to match his superstar charisma. If he is one of the biggest superstars in the country, the villains in his films have played greater roles to bring the bigger hero in him for his audience. The most successful film of Bollywood, ‘Sholay’ would be nothing, without Amjad Khan playing ‘Gabbar Singh’.

In ‘Mother India’, Sunil Dutt played the negative role of ‘Birju’ and eventually his role contributed to the success of the film. Similarly ‘Chulbul Pandey’ played by Salman Khan in ‘Dabangg’ had a greater impact because he had someone like Sonu Sood, adding great value with his villainous character ‘Chedi Singh’. The action scenes between them, were the highlight of the film and ensured a terrifying climax. When a hero combats the villain, it should be one of the most memorable scenes of the film. Lots of films have recently disappointed on that front. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a great actor and his villainous role in the blockbuster ‘Kick’ was awesome but he was a disappointment in the scene, where Salman Khan easily throws him and kills him. Same was the case with actor Deepak Dobriyal in ‘Dabangg 2’. Riteish Deshmukh in ‘Ek Villain’ pulled out a great performance opposite Sidharth Malhotra.

If these actors want to look bigger as heroes for their audience, then the villains will have to be mightier. Pran was the greatest villain in Indian Cinema. He matched his heroes with equal ease and standing and left his imprint in all his films. Amrish Puri, Danny Denzongapa and Amjad Khan were also in this category of strong villains. They had great personalities and a strong voice. Some of the heroes would be no match to them in a personality clash. Today most actors have great physique but surprisingly, there are no interesting confrontations between the main hero and villain in the story. Every actor is doing one or two negative roles in their career but don’t want to shine as a villain or be remembered as one. Everyone can’t make it as a hero in films and the villain option is not bad to make a name in the industry.

Some of our biggest superstars like Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar have been doing action entertainers and they should not overlook this point and should therefore feature strong villains opposite them. The audience love to see established heroes clashing with big villains. There is “dialogue baazi”, “mukhabaazi” and it can be totally hillarious. Villains can make heroes look bigger. Lord Rama also had Ravana confronting him and Bheem had Duryodhana to combat in our mythologies. Our cinema can’t be different and we want bigger on both sides and then the clash becomes mightier and more exciting.

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