For some of us lucky folk who have never met a dacoit in real life, our idea of daakus comes from cinema. We see them as vicious monsters with too much hair and very little empathy. They generally dress in green or other colors that are camouflaged against the jungles where they reside. They look every bit as mean as they are and crossing their paths can lead to prolonged suffering and maybe death. It is possible that Bollywood has tarnished the image of daakus or probably even made them appear less ruthless than what they are in real life. Here are some dacoit movies that terrified us with their portrayal of these thugs.


Gabbar Singh is Bollywood’s most famous dacoit and probably the biggest villain in Indian cinema yet. Portrayed by Amjad Khan, this character was the real star of the film due to his ruthless nature that became a caricature for movie villains to follow.

Paan Singh Tomar

Unlike Sholay where the villain stole the scene, this movie had the famous dacoit of Chambal Valley as the central character. His journey from the army to sports to finally banditry is highly noteworthy and Irrfan Khan portrayed it with a fierce passion in the film.

Bandit Queen

The most notorious female bandit of all time surely deserved a movie and this one starring Seema Biswas as Phoolan Devi in the lead role was even selected as India’s entry for the Oscars that year. The movie did not shy away from showing the dacoit’s dark past which led to her banditry.

Gunga Jumna

In a clichéd tale of two brothers who are raised on opposing sides of the law, this film starred Dilip Kumar as the notorious dacoit Ganga who is being chased by his policeman brother Jumna. We also get to see the softer side of the villain here, who is responsible for his brother’s success.

Mother India

A classic Indian film that received an Academy Award nomination, Mother India defined the dacoit film genre in Bollywood cinema. The dacoits, led by Sunil Dutt’s character, have a big part to play in the climax of the film before their leader is shot dead by his mother.

Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai

Bollywood cinema’s famous antagonist Pran took on the role of a dacoit in his film, which also featured Raj Kapoor in a prominent role. With his smooth acting skills, it was difficult to tell whether he was a villain or the hero in this one.

Mera Gaon Mera Desh

One of Bollywood’s funniest clichés remains the naming of the villain. Here, the dacoit was called Jabbar Singh and was portrayed by Vinod Khanna. In true filmy fashion, the hero and the villain face off in the end and your guess for the winner is as good as ours.

Reminiscing the good old days of dacoit films? Bollywood cinema is all set to bring back the genre with the upcoming release Sonchiriya, starring Sushant Singh RajputBhumi PednekarManoj BajpayeeRanvir Shorey and Ashutosh Rana in prominent roles. The movie is set in the 1970s in the Chambal area, which is famous for its dacoits. Let’s see if Sonchiriya manages to keep up the charm of the genre. Catch it in cinemas on the 1st of March, 2019. Until then, here’s a sneak peek into the movie: