Published By: Satavisha

Six Iconic Bollywood Villains Whose Brilliant Role And Performance Delivery Overshadowed The Heroes

These actors playing gray characters, arguably stole the thunder from the lead stars with their compelling performances.

An antagonist—with an inherent brazen malicious nature—always compels the audience to celebrate the virtues and victories of the protagonist. A hero is an ordinary man without his arch-nemesis. But today, we are going to look at some legendary villains of Bollywood—who left a lasting impact on us through their exceptional acting skills, the profundity of their characters and performance delivery.

Rarely does the bad guy in films overshadow the hero and his courageous deeds. So, let us take a moment to celebrate some iconic Bollywood villains who were better than the protagonist.

Saif Ali Khan as Langda Tyagi in ‘Omkara.’

Omkara is undeniably a classic film by Vishal Bhardwaj—and its notorious antagonist, Langda Tyagi (Saif Ali Khan)—obscured the role of Omi (Ajay Devgn), the protagonist. The gray character of Tyagi was written so masterfully that it can match the legendary status of Sholay’s Gabbar Singh. So, let’s be honest, after watching Omkara, there was just one character that you carried back home, and it was Langda Tyagi.

Amjad Khan as Gabbar in ‘Sholay.’

Sholay is a timeless classic—featuring a stellar cast, an impactful storyline, and genius direction, replete with action and drama—and it still leaves people speechless. This cinematic masterpiece certainly owes a great deal to its infamous villain, Gabbar Singh—who overshadowed the roles of both heroes. Amjad Khan’s excellent performance as Gabbar, immortalized the character, and we cannot help but still chant some of his famous dialogues from the film, such as, “Kitne Aadmi The?”

Shah Rukh Khan as  Rahul Mehra in ‘Darr.’

When we hear Shah Rukh Khan’s name, it inevitably conjures up images of him playing romantic roles. We have always enjoyed watching him on the big screen as the sweet lover boy. However, SRK did something phenomenally different in ‘Darr’ by playing the notorious character of Rahul Mehra. His performance outshone Sunny Deol—stealing the spotlight with his brilliant depiction of a psycho-obsessive lover. His jarring performance instilled fear in the minds of the audience, and it was SRK’s first negative character in a film.

Ashutosh Rana as Lajja Shankar Pandey in ‘Sangharsh.’

Ashutosh Rana portrayed Lajja Shankar Pandey in Sangharsh, and this menacing character is still identified as one of the most terrorizing villains that Bollywood has witnessed, so far. His depiction of a brutal serial killer was exemplary and is still celebrated as one of the most haunting characters in Hindi cinema.

Hrithik Roshan as Aryan in ‘Dhoom 2.’

In the second installment of the Dhoom series, Hrithik Roshan was featured as the big baddie who pulled off several art heists, and his performance was undeniably the best. Hrithik as Aryan, slew in this role of a genius robber, trying on several disguises and looting valuables in mind blowing ways. The audience was rooting for the villain throughout the film—and not the hero. Hrithik's upbeat dance moves and stunts were a treat to the eyes, and his sizzling on-screen chemistry with co-star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had spiked up the mercury.

Vivek Oberoi as Maya Dolas in ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala.’

Vivek Oberoi was phenomenal As Maya Dolas in ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’. He portrayed the role of the dreaded gangster, and his performance was critically acclaimed by both the audience and critics. Every time Vivek plays a practical character, he delivers an effortless performance. The film centers around Maya and Dilip—his skilled partner.

If we had to hand a prize to one actor from the above list—for delivering the best performance as a menacing antagonist, we would probably have a tough time making a call. Don’t you agree?