With Indian cinema turning 100 years old and tributes after laurels being paid to the heroes and the directors along the journey, it is often the villains who are left out.
But just like Sunday would not be as special if it wasnt followed by the dreary Monday, a hero is no good without his villain. But sadly, most villains have to live with the tag of the bad guy all their lives. There have been reports where women and children have run away from them because of their portrayal on screen.
If you’re among those who hate a Bollywood villain for what you saw on screen, read on.
Here are five facts that will change the way you look at Bollywood villains.
GULSHAN GROVER: sold phenyl and detergent as a door to door salesman.
It is perhaps the ultimate tribute to the guy’s potential that he was named ‘Bad Man’. Playing villainous characters ranging from the utterly heartless to the haplessly horny, Gulshan Grover has done it all.
His thin moustache, his Shakuni style of dialogue delivery and the way he used his eyes, make him the bad guy that gets beaten up by Ajay Devgan or Akshay Kumar, but not before he has raped a few women and killed a few children.
But behind all the ‘Kya cheeze – Cut Piece’, he was a man who rose from the grassroots. He doesn’t remember when he was born, but what he does remember is the fact that he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In spite of playing the spoilt son of the corrupt zamindar in so many films convincingly, Gulshan Grover spent much of his early life helping his family earn money. And among the many odd jobs he did, was that of a door to door salesman, selling phenyl and detergent powder.
DANNY DENZONGPA: provides college students a reason to cheer every night.
Hailing from Sikkim, Danny was another of the villains who wanted to become heroes. But it wasn’t too long before producers realised his brushed back hair, chiselled jaw, and general bad-ass vibe that he carried, could be used to terrorise our heroes.
Apart from a career that spans decades, not many people know that Danny is quite the name in the alcohol business. His family has run Yuksom breweries for decades now, and he has breweries in Sikkim, West Bengal, and Orissa.
Students who have tasted his brands – all masculine names like Rhino, Hit, Dansberg, and Hit Man 9000, swear by it. His alcohol company has provided stiff competition to UB for a while now, and everytime a few college students want to have a good time but are light on the pockets, they sip on the beer Danny Denzongpa brews. When he is not brewing evil schemes to blow up the hero.
AMRISH PURI: worked as a government officer for 20 years.
From the 80′s to the last decade, if there was a hero to kill, a child to kidnap, or an evil empire to build, he was the man. From the plain crazy to the terribly psychotic, Amrish Puri has done all there is to be done as a Bollywood villain. To the extent that Steven Speilberg was quoted as saying, “Amrish is my favorite villain- The best the world has ever produced and ever will!” (Could be that the man was terrified himself too!)
But not many know that Amrish Puri had a long career in theatre. And since theatre acting in those days paid as much as Doordarshan does today, he had to do a job. A government job. For 20 years. When he retired from the Employees State Insurance Corporation, he had already made a career of scaring the pants out of baby-faced heroes. One can’t fail to assume that some of the dreariness of doing a government job for 20 years must have added to the villainy with which he eliminated politicians, police officers, and bureaucrats!
AMJAD KHAN: loved kids
Sholay, hailed as the greatest Hindi film ever made, opened to low ticket sales and bad reviews (which probably shows that our critics haven’t changed much from those days). However, word of mouth publicity drove the masses into the halls, and there, on the big screen, was this evil man who sat on the rocks, asking when Holi was coming.
Sholay catapulted Amjad Khan to such a level where he had to run away from people on the beach, thinking they were attacking him. Till today, Gabbar remains the Numero Uno villain of Hindi cinema. No blind mother to take care of, no sister to marry, no revenge to take – just pure, unadulterated evil.
In real life, however, Amjad Khan was a softy at heart. He loved children, and in interviews, his children have said that he would break into tears if any of them got hurt. Also, for years, he did the advertisement for Glucose-D biscuits. I wonder what mothers told their children if they didn’t eat their biscuits!
…..And PRAN!: loved dogs!
Pran is probably the greatest villain who ever graced the silver screen. In an era where villains didn’t abruptly chase skirts after an item number, Pran was saddled with the complex task of appearing suave and menacing at the same time. And boy, was he good!
Pran was the epitome of cool, blowing smoke rings with as much as ease as he was blowing people’s minds. He was the second highest paid actor in the time, after Rajesh Khanna, and that’s why there are so few movies with the two of them together. His colleagues say that he used to party all night long, and then wake up on time and be on the sets, playing a cold-hearted villain who showed no mercy.
But amidst the suave criminal exterior, Pran was a kind, humane person, with an exceptional love for dogs. For someone who had to come to India after the partition, when he was asked what he missed the most, he said it was his dog that he missed.
The man had many dogs in their lifetime, and in true-blue Bollywood-badass style, they were named Bullet, Whiskey, and Soda!