The bad boys are back with a bang in Bollywood. With Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor stealing hero Hrithik Roshan’s thunder in Agneepath , a trend seems to have emerged. Villains are the new poster boys of Hindi films. More importantly, the GenNow face portraying evil on screen is no longer that of a prop actor. Seasoned superstars are now willingly taking to villainous acts, not afraid of experimenting with image anymore.
Over the next one year or so, Aamir Khan will be playing a super thief without any conscience or emotions in Dhoom 3 , Vivek Oberoi will play Bollywood’s first villain with super powers in the new Krrish film, and Akshay Kumar will reprise Dawood Ibrahim in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2 . Evil, as Sanjay’s Kancha and Rishi’s Rauf Lala proved Agneepath , is not an evil proposition to win over the fans anymore. Every top star in the GenNow lot is open playing the bad guy at least once in his career, and the casting of the villain isn’t only about signing talented character artists such as Paresh Rawal, Anupam Kher, Shakti Kapoor or Prakash Raj anymore.
You could of course argue Shah Rukh Khan did it way back in the early nineties when he played the antihero in films such as Darr, Baazigar and Anjaam. There’s a difference, though. SRK’s antihero was driven by the obsession for love or revenge. In Darr, for instance, he is manically possessed with the heroine who loves another man. In Anjaam the obsessive streak extends to murder when he actually kills the husband of the woman he loves. In Baazigar, the hero’s evil streak is spawned by the will to destroy the family of a powerful man who killed his father. The new-age villain as portrayed by today’s superstars — including Shah Rukh Khan in his Don avatar — has no objective motive but the lust for power and money. He doesn’t mind adding an ugly swagger if the role demands as much, showing no remorse or sense of right or wrong whatsoever.
“What is happening now is that crime and criminals are being glorified on the Hindi screen. Heroes taking up roles of villains automatically adds glamour to evil as it is portrayed on screen. Stars often forget they are role models and an impressionable age group gets licence to do whatever they see their stars doing on screen. Till a while ago, even if a star portrayed evil, there was a redeeming feature about the character. That seems to be fading away,” says a veteran producer, not wishing to be named.
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