Being A Badass Villain: Boon or Curse in Bollywood?


Villain (n): a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot.

There’s a certain charm that villains garnish on the silver screen. So much that their badass mannerisms might just mesmerize you more than the protagonists’ heroism. You’d agree if you’ve been gaga over Gabbar from Sholay and Mogambo from Mr.India; more recently Baa from Ram Leela and Bhallaladeva from Baahubali.

No doubt these nasty beings give us the creeps, but they are another level of awesome! If you give it a thought, the iconic villain-dialogues are more famous than the heroic ones. When a ferocious Gabbar interrogates his men with “Kitne aadmi the?” we bet the world responds with “Sardaar, do aadmi the.” in unison and the rest of the dialogues are pretty much history. There’s also “Mogambo khush hua!”, “Prem naam hai mera, Prem Chopra!” and the unforgettable “K..K..K..K.. Kiran?”. (Wait, did you just read all of these in the actual villain-voice? Haha!)

Well, hats off to these stellar actors for acing their antagonistic roles with such genius. It must be difficult to go deep into the skin of any character but when it comes to a negative one, it must surely take a toll on them. In fact, many actors have confessed how maddening it can be to play the bad guy. Because sometimes the evil they play is so intense that it affects them psychologically and it’s hard to jump out of character and return to normalcy.

They do champion their aim of being hated by the audience, they intimidate us so much that we wish they’d die sooner so the hero can save the day once again. But the aftermath of that badass role impacts the actor for longer than we’d imagine. Sometimes driving them to the edge of self-hate and trauma. Remember Heath Ledger who played the iconic Joker in The Dark Knight? We all know how he took his role so seriously that it ultimately went out of control.

Jim Sarbh who played the unforgiving terrorist Khalil in Neerja would slightly agree if not relate to the setbacks of being a villain. He played an intimidating hijacker in the film and kept a distance from people on sets and beyond to maintain his character. In an interview with HT Brunch, he said, “I would do the scene, walk off quietly, and not talk to anyone till the next scene. It was tiring to be that guy. I’m really a nice guy!”.

Ranveer Singh who played Alauddin Khilji in the controversial period film Padmaavat (earlier Padmavati) had his fair share of intense emotional experiences with his role too. Apart from the makeover and change in workout regimes, he went nuts about transforming himself into the “cruel ruler”. He told HT Cafe all about his journey with Khilji and how it’s the longest he’s ever endured any character so far in his career. “It required a lot of energy and took a lot out of me. Let’s put it this way: it really affected me,” he admitted. To “cleanse and exorcise Khilji” out of his system, Ranveer eventually visited a psychiatrist. Getting a haircut and vacationing in London, UK also helped him get back to normal. (Sigh!)

So being badass and evil have their own perks and cons, but most of all they highlight the passion and hustle our actors embrace to intimidate us through the big screen. Hats off to all the bad guys of Bollywood, may more of your characters see the light of the day. And eventually, get destroyed by our heroes. (Haha)

Tell us who your favourite villain is, along with their iconic dialogue! Ours has to be Jaykant Shikre from Singham who goes, “Aali re aali, aata tujhi baari aali.” ;)