We are not talking about the obvious great ones like Amrish Puri, Pran, Ajeet, Amjad Khan, Anupam Kher, Shakti Kapoor, Ranjeet, Prem Chopra, and the likes. This is a list of those familiar baddies who were always around more often than not, but not hailed as much as the aforementioned ones. And yet, they left their unique impressions in Hindi cinema through villainous turns in lesser known films. It was the era of the 1990s, when we grew up watching tons of trashy Bollywood masala flicks. And here are its biggest and baddest villains that we do not see on screen anymore:
The bearded Telugu veteran was famous down South. Later he arrested Hindi viewer imaginations with his deadpan voice, deadpan face, laidback gait, dead eyes and unmistakably accented threats. He made his debut with Chiranjeevi’s Bollywood debut, Pratibandh (remake of Telugu hit, Ankusham), readapting his ‘Spot Naga’ gangster role into Spot Anna. Later he made an independent mark as a terrorists-leading Colonel in Waqt Hamara Hai. He went on to appear in a host of similar hero-versus-villain movies like Khuddar, Angrakshak, Veer, Kalia, Loha and Gunda. He passed away in 2011, but his work through Bollywood’s most in-between decade will always be remembered – in a deadpan, nasal tone.
Once an assistant to Satyajit Ray, Anand started his career as a successful Bollywood director in the 1980s – Amitabh starrers Shahenshah and Kaalia being his major hits. But he is remembered primarily for his chest-beating non-baddie role in Vijay Anand’s Agneepath. He played a senile Maandva villager rooting for his “Viju” (Bachchan) to return and avenge the death of the town. When he became a baddie, Chamatkar and Anjaam – both early Shah Rukh Khan movies – were his calling cards. One can invariably imagine Anand as the paan-chewing, two-faced, evil-eyed baddie against the background of the glittering-horse villain-den interiors. He remained someone who could play both sides of the line, though.
The tall, buffed up and nostril-flaring Rishi is more than just Bulla in Kanti Shah’s cult film, Gunda. He was iconic in other ‘90s potboilers – as the flute-playing baddie in Judwaa, as Don Billa Jilani in Gardish, as Kevda Thakur in SetMax favourite Sooryavansham, as Ramu Kalia in Arjun Pandit, and as thug Satpal Dhonga in Ram Shastra. He became known for his versatility just like Anand, outperforming Aamir Khan as sincere fellow cop Inspector Salim in Sarfarosh. He spent much of the noughties back in his baddie avatar, and has not appeared in a Hindi film for three years now.
The Marathi stage actor became the first-ever winner of the Filmfare Best Villain Award for Mahesh Bhatt’s Sadak as the scary cross-dressing Maharani. He had already made a mark in Govind Nihalani’s classic, Ardha Satya (1983), winning the Supporting Actor award. Amrapurkar effortlessly switched between comedy (Hum Hain Kamaal Ke) and parental villainy (Coolie no. 1, Ishq) through the 1990s, and reminded us that the two genres of unconventional acting are often inherently connected.
The super-stylish Sikkimese actor was perhaps the most popular of them all, owing to his unorthodox descent and relaxed screen presence. Funnily enough, he won two Filmfare Supporting Actor Awards, and didn’t win Best Villain despite being nominated five times. These nominations include some memorable performances – Hum, Krantiveer, Vijaypath, Barsaat, and Ghatak). Perhaps his most memorable turn came as underworld don Kancha Cheena in Agneepath – the rare Hindi film in which the hero and the villain were equally iconic. Lately, he has appeared in bit roles (Baby, Bang Bang!), but hasn’t appeared to have aged a bit, still carrying the sort of disciplinary swag that suggests he might have a few years left in him – but not as a villain.