The classic villain, with his blood-shot eyes and signature swagger, is dead for good. And replacing him are a host of big ticket stars, who until now were known only for their goody-good roles. The coming months will see a host of unlikely villains in Bollywood. Be it Aamir Khan in Dhoom 3, Vivek Oberoi in Krrish 3, Juhi Chawla in Gulaab Gang, Govinda in Kill Dil or filmmaker Karan Johar in Bombay Velvet, all leading actors known for playing leading men or women in movies will play out-and-out baddies in their respective films.
Oberoi, who plays ‘supervillain’ Kaal in Krrish 3, feels actors now want to sink their teeth into layered characters, good or evil. “I think it’s about the role more than anything. The character in Krrish 3 was so challenging and exciting for me that I couldn't say no,” he says.
Agrees trade analyst Atul Mohan, “Actors nowadays want to play a variety of characters, and that includes playing a villain or doing an item number. They are open to change.” Filmmaker Shashant Shah feels complex characters are more in demand these days: “The whole trend of villains has diminished in Bollywood. Film writing has changed and we have complex characters now. I think it’s good that actors want to play these grey characters because the audience wants more complex storylines. Their appetite for better cinema has increased.” The ladies, too, are getting experimental. Juhi, for instance, plays antagonist Sumitra Devi against Madhuri Dixit’s Rajjo in Gulaab Gang.
Oberoi says playing a baddie is way more fun than playing the good guy: “A hero has a certain structure that he has to adhere to. There are moral codes he has to follow. But a villain has no boundaries. Rather, he breaks boundaries. So, it’s a lot of fun playing a villain.” Filmmaker Karan Johar, who is set to play a flamboyant entrepreneur with shades of grey, feels it’s a big challenge to play grey. “Am oddly feeling like I did a day before my ICSE exams!” Karan says.