The heroes aren’t always the ones in the limelight! Lately, we’ve been reminiscing about Bollywood Hindi movie villains who we love to hate, simply because our favorite films wouldn’t be the same without them. They’re absolutely evil and are met with so much hatred, that it’s almost like we know them IRL! Our obsession with villains probably started due to fantasy movies from the west, wherein brilliant performances were delivered with true malevolence. In this blog though, we’re specifically listing down Hindi movie villains that rule our worst nightmares and real-life fears. Let’s take a look!
Best Villains In Bollywood
Love them or hate them; we pick both! From old flicks to more recent narratives, below are famous villains of Bollywood that have left a dangerous mark.
1. Gabbar from Sholay
There is nary an Indian that doesn’t know about this iconic film from 1975! Just when Hindi cinema had started booming and reaching a wider audience, the characters in the film made it one for the ages – even though stories often revolve around cliched plotlines. But let’s forget the hero for a sec; it was Amjad Khan’s character as ‘Gabbar’ that really struck a chord and made the audience gasp in both terror and awe! With his leather belt screeching on the ground to his mafia mustache, he stepped into the role in all his terrifying glory!
A lot of us have grown up with the Hindi version of the popular dialogue, “Sleep, or else Gabbar will come!” as a means to instill fear in us – with only mock seriousness, of course! But when one watches the movie, the jokes flow out the window and a sinister vibe takes over. For most of us, Gabbar was the character that introduced us to the world of villains in movies or otherwise. If you’re asking Who is the baddest villain of all time is, then the answer is synonymous with him.
2. Mogambo from Mr. India
There’s a lot to be said about Amrish Puri, who is and will always be remembered as one of Bollywood’s favorite Hindi movie villains in more than just one movie! With a captivating skill set and an even more believable ruse, the late actor sure left an irreplaceable mark on our industry. Seen as Mogambo in the sci-fi movie Mr. India, he ensured an edge-of-the-seat thrill for the audience! With a costume that was hard to ignore, a malicious skull-stick, a throne, and also a group of loyalists who were ready to jump in acid water at his beck & call, Amrish Puri’s character was nothing short of sinful & sadistic!
The invincible Mogambo had a lasting impact on the kids too, aka us in our childhood. All we can hear while writing this segment is “Mogambo Khush Hua”, and the chills that follow can be credited to one of the most memorable pieces of acting in Indian cinema! Apart from Hindi movies, he also took the Punjabi film industry by storm!
3. Kancha Cheena from Agneepath 1990
Who is the most handsome villain in Bollywood? Well, rarely does the film industry have villains that seem convincing throughout the movie, but Danny Denzongpa as Kancha Cheena in the 1990 Agneepath was able to achieve just that! From his sharp, mafia-perfect costume to a slew of power-packed dialogues, the actor is still referred to as Kancha Cheena almost 30 years later.
Danny was the self-appointed leader of the underworld, and is known to be one of the best Hindi movie villains and underworld Don characters we’ve seen (yes, beating even SRK!) A lot of his fame as evil incarnated can be credited to the writers of the movie. His abominable allure was backed by some of the most chilling dialogues that also made one stop & wonder.
The movie itself revolves around the life of a young boy who was uprooted by Kancha Cheena’s brutal lynching. If you’re looking for an evergreen classic to watch over the weekend and have the emotional bandwidth for some action sequences, then this is it! You have been warned.
4. Kancha Cheena from Agneepath 2012
We’ve been far too used to seeing Sanjay Dutt in positive, lead roles. So when Agneepath came out and Dutt was reported to reprise Danny Denzongpa’s ever-terrifying character, we were all rendered stunned! Nevertheless, the movie didn’t disappoint, as Sanjay Dutt’s makeup & physique backed the despicable character he was portraying.
The 2012 remake might not be lined with legendary actors, but Dutt did deliver a startling performance as one of the scariest Hindi movie villains and made us hate him to the bone. With Hrithik’s stern innocence and need for vengeance, Sanjay Dutt’s Kancha contrasted perfectly!
It’s safe to say that even when it’s Bollywood Hindi action movies, he is one of the cinema’s more underrated actors. He definitely deserves a lot more than just credit for giving us spectacularly-acted roles, that we can indulge in time & time again. His intimidatingly towering persona and cunning looks (without the eyebrows) have established him as one of modern Bollywood’s most hellish villains and we’re definitely all for it! And frankly, who wouldn’t be? If you’ve decided to watch the 1990 Agneepath, the 2012 remake will be a good follow-up!
5. Lion from Kalicharan
An immaculately dressed, suave villain might seem unusual but that’s what Lion from Kalicharan – that falls in the thriller movies in the Bollywood genre – was! Played by Ajit Singh, this evil-intended character wins all votes for the wicked vibes he exudes! Just like the name suggests, he didn’t hold back from being vicious. Soft-spoken and accented, his voice was one that wouldn’t immediately suggest bad intentions but look a little closer and you can finally see through the facade (or just wait for the movie to progress, really.)
Seen in suits and a dazzling pair of white shoes, sporting a Clarke-Gable type mustache, Ajit Singh is remembered for many-a-roles when it comes to Hindi movie villains. With his dialogue delivery done in a baritone voice, holding us all captive, this iconic actor from retro Hindi cinema employed a never-heard-before Hinglish accent in Bollywood movies. Playing Lion was just one of the many flawlessly executed roles he did, and every character was crafted around his calm yet coercing demeanor.
6. Ranjeet from Amir Garib
Who is the best villain in Bollywood of all time? As women, we have all been on the receiving end of catcalls and wicked-intentioned stares. This is an issue that’s extremely serious, and yet, Bollywood once portrayed it through a villainous character in the movie Amir Garib. Ranjeet Bedi, who is known as Hindi cinema’s serial molester on-screen, was seen taking on the role of ‘Ranjeet’, a scheming & perverse villain with only ill intentions to his credit. Films during the 70s and the 80s centered around stories with one defined villain and the hero trying to save the damsel in distress. This narrative is excessively tried in the current day. Back then though, it was the ultimate means to entertain – and entertain they did.
With a bone-chilling grin that made even the women in the audience uncomfortable and outrageous, the actor didn’t just skim the surface and that’s why he is lauded for his performance even today. In fact, back in the day when stylists weren’t really a thing, he conceptualized a rather menacing look on his own that blended small town street mafia with urban wannabe-ish accents. Well-behaved was a term lost on all his characters as Hindi movie villains.
7. Prem from Bobby
Remember Prem? Prem Chopra? If not, you might remember this – “Prem Naam Hai Mera, Prem Chopra!” from the romantic movie Bollywood genre. Accompanied by a smile that was instantly deemed nasty, this villain of the yesteryears took the industry by storm with his malign-laced voice. His more intimidating dialogues set the bar really high for the ones set to play baddies on the big screen.
The thing with movies is that, unlike television soaps, the characters quickly have to make or break their roles. As opposed to daily soaps which have all the time in the world to attract their audience, movies have only 2 to 3 hours of playtime and are either a hit or miss. It’s safe to say that Prem Chopra, with his less than graceful trademark smile, puts a lot of other Bollywood villains to shame in the simplest of ways. In this case, it was definitely a hit!
8. Diana from Ek Thi Dayan
Bollywood’s maiden tryst with the evil witch narrative is said to have begun with Kannan Iyer directed Ek Thi Dayan in 2013. Earlier, films were more focused on gore and gritty scenes, but that took a turn for the better with this mystery/horror flick that does a number on us with its end reveal! Konkona – and extremely celebrated and highly-regarded actress – was seen in a role like this for the very first time, and it was one of the darkest ever Hindi movie villains! We also love the play on the name ‘Diana’ and should have probably registered that she’s the witch since her introduction itself.
You definitely don’t want to cross paths with this blood-thirsty witch whose real terror lies in her ponytail. A very Indian movie villain version of the western witch stories we’ve seen so far, she was adorned in a classic saree and had eyes that could, quite literally, kill! She played stepmother to the main character and had a foreboding presence that would add very strongly to the overall creepy vibe of the movie.
9. Shanaya in Raaz
While we’re still on the subject of horror movies and top villains of Bollywood, that made big bucks at the box office, how can we forget Bipasha’s character Shanaya in the 2012 film Raaz? In one of the most watched Bollywood Mystery Movies, she made a strong case for a glamorous yet power-driven villain who will appear absolutely normal at first glance, and even slightly seductive. Look closely and get further in the film to see how Shanaya will go to any length to achieve what she wants, and even rely on black magic that is known to be lethal. Starring Emran Hashmi, Esha Gupta and Jacqueline Fernandes among others.
Seen as Shanaya in Vikram Bhatt’s Raaz 3, vices that were not seen in Bipasha’s character in the first installment, since she wasn’t playing one of the Hindi movie villains. Manipulation, anger, and self-destruction are just a few, and then we have black magic to top it all off. You might want to binge all 3 parts together for an optimal experience.
10. Madhu in Phoonk
Last but not the least, let’s talk about Ashwini Kalsekar in Phoonk by RGV, one of the best Hindi horror movies. RGV has absolutely mastered eerie characters and their essential attributes, and this movie is proof of the same. It will keep you on the edge of your seat, and we’re not kidding.
Ashwini Kalsekar is a powerhouse of an actor and is known to deliver striking performances time and time again! Her work in Marathi, as well as Hindi cinema, is commendable, and so was her character in Phoonk. Some truly frightening visuals in the film include her in the car, whimpering, screaming, and wailing. In this one, she plays a trusted colleague to the protagonist and seeks revenge by practicing black magic on her daughter.
With a gothic-Desi appearance that is also gloomy comprising an all-black outfit and a significant bindi, she redefines the scariness of Voodoo and the hatred that drives one to control your every action through lethal means.
Just like you would pick your favorite heroes out of a list, it’s time to choose your favorite Hindi movie villains too!