Sinister sneers, spine-tingling dialogues, and menacing attires are unique to Indian Cinema and its villains and have left an indelible mark on the portrayal of fear and tyranny on screen. Chevron moustaches, pristine suits, outlandish costumes, and a myriad of accessories became essential to the villains and accompanied the actors in each of their niche roles.
Gulshan Grover (2022) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
THE BAD MAN OF BOLLYWOOD
The Bad Man of Bollywood, Gulshan Grover’s menacing aura can be attributed to an assortment of frightening looks and sinister nuances. His avatars generally sport a chevron or handlebar moustache, a popped-collar, pristine suits, aviator sunglasses, and a bouffant hairstyle - a look that successfully conjures fear within the audience.
Ranjeet (2022) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
Ranjeet’s unbuttoned shirt, bare chest, and the iconic dangling locket were almost customary to each of his wanton roles. Although his characters were known for their salacious intentions and reprehensible actions, Ranjeet was recognised as a respectful actor who put the comfort of his female counterparts first.
Pran in Ram aur Shyam (1967) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
THE VILLAIN OF THE MILENIUM
Pran’s charming countenance together with his trademark sneer and baritone brought about a sinister dimension to his avatars. Pran’s impeccable style, whether it was pathani outfits, juttis, and pencil moustaches in Ram aur Shyam (1967), or kurtas, vests, and middle-parted, slicked-back, red hair in Zanjeer (1973), perfectly complemented his villainy. Contradictory to his menacing appearance on screen, Pran was considered to be a respectful gentleman in the Indian film industry.
Ajit Khan by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
THE LOIN OF THE SILVER SCREEN
Ajit Khan’s immaculate suits, Clark Gable-style moustache, coloured, translucent aviators, and imposing physique gave Bollywood’s villains a unique twist. Invariably accompanied by vacuous women with names such as Mona Darling or Silly Lilly, and a sidekick named Robert or Mike, Ajit portrayed the archetypal thug. His bizarre recipe of evil sprinkled with double entendre one-liners delivered in his distinctive, soft-spoken style and inscrutable facial expressions, made Ajit one of the most memorable, comical villains of the silver screen.
Amrish Puri in Haatim Tai (1990) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
MOGAMBO KHUSH HUA!
His eyes would enlarge and the audience’s breath would shorten in anticipation of spiteful dialogue delivered in his trademark deep, robust baritone. Amrish Puri believed his attire was imperative in framing his villainous characters. Whether it was Magician Kamlaq’s ceremonial staff topped with a pseudo-human skull in Haatim Tai (1990), Mogambo’s army-general suit in Mr India (1987), or Baldev Singh’s flowing, off-white kurtas in Dilwale Dhulania Le Jayenge (1995), Puri oftentimes worked alongside the designer to craft his looks.
Danny Denzongpa in Hum Se Zamana (1983) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
The DAUNTING AND DEBONAIR
Often sporting elegant western attire comprising suits and headgear, Danny Denzongpa brings a unique blend of flamboyance and sadism to his villains. In addition to his sharp tongue and practised dialect, Denzongpa’s antagonistic role as Hum Se Hai Zamana (1983) was brought to life through his knee-high leather boots, cowboy hats, cravats, frilled shirts, popped collar, and chevron moustaches.
Lalita Pawar (2022) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
BOLLYWOOD'S WICKED MOTHER-IN-LAW
Infamously known as a sari-clad loathsome and cruel matriarch, Lalita Pawar possessed the art of making her audience tremble in her presence. Although boxed into playing villainous characters at a young age, Lalita Pawar valiantly embraced the roles that subsequently left an indelible impression on her audience.
Amjad Khan in Sholay (1975) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
JO DAR GAYA, SAMJO MAR GAYA
Dressed in his khaki pants and untucked shirt, Amjad Khan successfully portrayed the epitome of masochism in his role as Gabbar Singh in Sholay (1975). Along with the rugged moustache and beard that shaped his brawny face, Gabbar Singh’s deep baritone and distinct laughter proved successful in creating a character that unsettled fans.
Kulbhushan Kharbandha in Shaan (1980) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE SINISTER
Dressed in a slick, clean-cut army general's attire, with a monogrammed mandarin collar, Kulbhushan Kharbandha created the perfect egotistical villain, Shakaal, in Shaan (1980). Shakaal’s role as an unnerving antagonist was elevated by the presence of sharks in his outlandish lair. The costume worn by Shakaal set a precedent for Kulbhushan Kharbandha’s fearsome roles in Indian cinema.
Prem Chopra (2022) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
ITNI ACHI CHEEZ BHAGWAN KE LIYE CHOD DOON?
His vicious smile, often outlined by a chevron or pencil moustache, was distinctive to Prem Chopra’s nefarious roles. His characters adopted a range of looks, from suits and sherwanis to denim jeans with printed shirts, often accessorised with a variety of hats, hairstyles, and cigarettes. His soft, icy approach to delivering lines never failed to get hearts racing.
Sadashiv Amrapurkar (2022) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
THE VILLAIN OF THE PEOPLE
In a career spanning over three decades, Sadashiv Amrapurkar fashioned a style and language that portrayed villainy at a more Indian grassroots level. Selecting fearsome nuances observed in India’s underworld, Amrapurkar created his own street-smart villains, who dressed in kurtas and delivered dialogues with a quiet, menacing countenance.
Madan Puri (2022) by MoDEOriginal Source: MoDE
HUM WAQT KA INTEZAAR NAHI KARTE, WAQT HAMARA INTEZAAR KARTA
Often dressed in pristine suits and Western attire, Madan Puri never failed to add his own elements of class to his otherwise sly and mischievous avatars. From playing a greedy, devious uncle in Waqt (1965) to the ruthless crime lord, Samant in Deewar (1975), Madan Puri proved to the world that his mastery in inspiring unease was boundless.
Pran (2022)Original Source: MoDE