“Kitne aadmi the” (Sholay, 1975), “Mogambo khush hua!” (Mr. India, 1989) and “Prem naam hai mera, Prem Chopra” (Bobby, 1973). What do all those lines have in common? If you’re an avid Hindi film viewer you’ll have no trouble figuring out that these famous history defining lines were spoken by some of the most influential villainous character of our cinema. Whilst many outsiders think that Indian cinema is all about romance, dance and music, little do they know that our writers are able to create these brilliant characterizations of villains like Gabar, Mogambo and Prem Chopra who steal the show from handsome heroes and dazzling heroines. So now it’s time to see who the personalities on the big screen that made chills run down our spine in the year of 2009 are. They may not be like Gabar or Mogambo but they sure are traveling down towards that legacy by stealing the show from the Khans and Kapoors of our cinema!
1. Amol Gupte – Kaminey
The award winning writer turned actor deserves this top spot, no questions asked! Even in a film like Kaminey where every performer was beyond perfect, he managed to steal the light. We’ve seen politicians portrayed as villains many times, but Amol certainly gave the character of Sunil Shekhar Bhope an extra villainous charm! It’s hard to believe that we’ve never seen Amol in this way before; surely directors are now lining outside his door.
2. Prakash Raj – Wanted
When a 3 time National Award Winner makes one of his rare appearances in Hind cinema he’s bound to make both audiences and critics scream and shout, and that is exactly what Prakash Raj did with his performance in Prabhu Deva’s Wanted. Having played the character of Gani Bhai twice before, Prakash has indeed mastered the character. He’s surely going to be creating tough competition for all his colleagues in this category when award season begins!
3. Irrfan Khan – Acid Factory
Is there much Irrfan Khan cannot do? He dabbles in international cinema, does adorable comedy, can even be a romantic and made one heck of a stylish, mysterious and sexy villain in Suparn Verma’s Acid Factory. Whilst the film was filled with power house performers like Danny Denzongpa and Manoj Bajpai who’re renowned for their scene stealing skills, Irfan Khan was the one who stole both the critics’ and audiences’ hearts. All we can say is that we’re glad as hell that he hasn’t crossed over to dark side despite all the love and adoration Hollywood gives him!
4. Mahesh Manjrekar – 99
Mahesh Manjrekar is simply phenomenal. He disappears from our screens mysteriously at times but whenever he comes he creates waves no matter what the role or the film is. Despite initial raves by critics, 99 doesn’t seem to be one of the most memorable films of the year; however Mahesh’s character is definitely one that is remembered. He’s perhaps the most charming whacked out criminal dud we’ve had on our screens!
5. Rahul Dev – Blue / Aa Dekhen Zara
Whoever said models can’t act probably wishes they’d never uttered those words every time they watch Rahul Dev on screen because even if you watch him for a shear moment, you’ll know that he’s talented as hell! This year two movies gave us this reminder, Blue and Aa Dekhen Zara. In the stylish action thriller Blue, he was brilliant as ever whilst he chased Zayed, Sanjay and Akshay across the ocean. In Aa Dekhen Zara, he gave both Neil and us the chills as he violently pursued the most wanted camera. The brilliance of Rahul Dev is that in both movies, despite not being the actor with the most screen time, he owned the screen every time he was on it – you simply couldn’t look away when he was uttering his lines no matter who else was in the frame! This was yet again another brilliant year for Rahul.
Well that concludes our list of Mogambos, Gabars and Prem Chopras for the new generation. But wait, that’s not all! Whilst the following talented artists didn’t exactly fall into the list of iconic villains, they certainly created waves as far as leading characters in grey shades go. Farhan Akhtar in Luck By Chance definitely got our emotions stirring with his neither good nor bad persona. Also, the ultra hot and sexy Saif Ali Khan and John Abraham did as well in their respective classic grey shaded terrorist roles in Kurbaan and New York. Although those iconic villains we quote today are irreplaceable, these newer talents have carried the legacy brilliantly in the year of 2009!