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Most iconic villains of Bollywood

Updated on May 22, 2016

Who is a Villain ?

I think this may not be the best way to start about a topic with which every one must be familiar, but one must be familiar with some insight on really what a villainy is?. Villains have been the pivot of the movies around which the aim or the final plot of the movie hangs. They are main reasons for the heroes to rise from a normal citizen to an abnormal superhuman status in the movie. They are in many movies origin of the mystery which hero tries to unfurl by various means. The villains are the ones who act as a lessons for the mass not to repeat their deeds else the result would be as weird.

Now, I move to seek a legitimate definition of a Villain. I must confess that definition is not absolute. With reference to Indian cinema it has constantly changed. A villain is some one who is considered to be the other side of the movie, hero being one of the side. A villain is some one who is well dressed in western outfit, puffing most of the time(cigar, pipe or cigarette) that depends on temporal aspect. In primeval period of Indian Cinema, a villain was some one who was evil but in the last part of the movie he was transformed into a good man. But Gabbar Singh completely changed this trend. He was pure evil having no regret for his earlier evil deeds. A villain also could be haughty and foolish, at some instants, as Thakur Bhupendra Singh (Ambrish Puri) in Aaj Ka Arjun or exceptionally smart as Kalicharan (Ajit Khan) in Charas.

There were many guys in Indian cinema who defined the character of villainy and those character are regarded as epitome. They have, by their suave manners and charismatic style, immortalized themselves in the cinematic history. From K. N. Singh to Amrish Puri they have continuously attracted the crowds to theaters.

K N Singh : Doyen of Villains in Indian Cinema

As a barrister. His menacing eyes were most threatening aspect of his personality
As a barrister. His menacing eyes were most threatening aspect of his personality

K N Singh

It might be possible that new generation might not know him but he was the doyen of villains in Indian cinema. He was a suave gentleman with menacing look and without raving or ranting he could spell the bitterness of villainy. His most charismatic appearance was of a man in immaculate dress a pipe clung in his teeth, he with his arched brows and twitching lips could more cringe his henchman than other villains with other conspicuous means. He was one of the Bollywood Jewels who never thought to become an actor.

Krishna Narayan Singh was born in 1908 on 1st of September in the family of lawyers in Dehradun, British India. He was exhorted by his family to continue the profession of his father and for that cause he came Lucknow too, and completed his senior cambridge with Latin as one of his subjects, but he was completely staggered when his father had defended successfully an accused. He found out that Justice was something that was not found out in court.

He was a good athlete and nearly went 1936 Berlin olympics. He also once made his mind to join Indian Army. But neither of these worked since his destiny was to become something different. He moved Kolkata (then Calcutta) to look up his ailing sister. It was then in 1936 he was introduced to Debaki Bose by Prithvi Raj Kapoor, a family friend. Debaki bose cast him as a doctor in his movie Sunehra Sansar.

He then after acting in four more films moved to Bombay which was growing as a prominent place for film industry. He also acted as father of Prithviraj Kapoor in Ishara. He acted in Jwar Bhata, the first film of legendary actor Dilip Kumar.

Although he was not tutored as an actor but he studied his roles well. He went for several days studying methods of a Victoria( horse-driven carriage) driver for his role in Inspector.He had very sharp memory: at one point when he had to act as a lawyer in Milap he memorized four page dialogue by heart and completed the shot in one take, much to the delight of director.

He had well collaborated with legendary actor Raj Kapoor in many of his Internationally acclaimed movies.

In later part of his life he became accustomed playing the cameo roles and was happy with what ever he got. One cannot forget the role of Lawyer that he performed in Sunil Dutt starrer Mera Saya(1966). He suffered from impaired vision at the dusk of his life and the illness remained all his life, though he --even in his last days-- could speak firmly as earlier. He died on 31st January, 2000

He is no more now but will always be remembered as the finest villains of Indian Cinema and as a gentleman-- what he called himself.

K N Singh Menacing eyes

Pran Krishan Sikand : A legend and Humanitarian

Charismatic Style of Pran as a Smuggler in Johnny Mera Naam
Charismatic Style of Pran as a Smuggler in Johnny Mera Naam

Pran krishan Sikand

Pran Sahab was born into a wealthy Punjabi family in Ballimaran, Kishangarh old Delhi. His father was a civil engineer and hence he completed his education at many places. He was academically gifted in mathematics. He completed his matriculation from Hamid School, Rampur. He then joined as an apprentice A. Das and Co. , Delhi to become a professional photographer.

He met accidentally, while chewing Pan in Lahore, writer Wali Mohammed Wali who found him exact for a villain role in a Punjabi film Yamla Jat(1940). This was the first film of the legendary actor. He in fact had apprised his parents of his new profession after the movie was released. The film was a major hit. It was in 1942 that Pran was cast as a lead actor in the film Khandaan opposite Noor Jehan. She was less than 15 at that time. Pran during (1942-1946) had worked in 22 films in Lahore out of which 18 were released by 1947.

His acting came through a halt when he came to Bombay after partition. He had thought that he would be welcomed by the Bombay Industry but the opposite happened. He was staying in Hotel Taj (Best and most costly at that time in Bombay) with his family. He had no work for six months and he had to sell his wife`s jewellery and had to shift to cheaper hotels.

He got his big break in 1948 movie Ziddi which was directed Shaheed Latif and which starred Dev Anand and Kamnini Kaushal in the lead. He never looked back after that.He from that movie and onward starred as lead negative role in the movies in which Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar played as a lead hero. He was the preferred choice for many directors in 1950`s such as Nanabhai Bhatt, I S Johar and the Great Bimal Roy. The sixties saw similar trend in his career when directors like Shakti Samanta , K. Amarnath and Nassir Hussain preferred him for the negative role in their directorial ventures.

He lavished Indian cinema with his iconic performances in various genres. He played the role of a pirate in Sindabad the sailor(1952), Daughter of Sindabad and action thriller like Azaad(1955). He also acted in historical movies such as Aan and Raj Tilak. He also played in social theme based movies such as Baradari and light romantic movies such as Asha and Munimji.

From 1964 he added another flavor to his acting when he displayed himself as a comedian while being a villain in Pooja Ke Phool and Kashmir Ki Kali. He had formed a long association with the great actor Dev Anand and he continued to hold it with him during 70`s and 80`s.

From 1967 onwards he also acted in several Bengali films. It was in the late sixties when he started doing character roles and went to become highest paid supporting actor for more than a decade.

He had a long and very close relationship with the legendary actor Ashok Kumar. They together acted in 27 films beginning from Afsana(1951). He made 14 films with bollywood Legend Amitabh Bachchan. It was Pran who suggested director Prakash Mehra to cast for the role of Inspector, Amitabh Bachchan instead of Dharmendra or Dev Anand. Pran role as Sherkhan was one of his best character roles ever.

In 1998 Pran had a heart attack at the age of 78. He had at that time started rejecting film offers due to his health concern and exception was Amitabh Bachchan for whom he acted in order to help his financially beleaguered ABCL. After 2000 he made occasional guest appearances.

He died as a result of cardiac arrest on 12th of July, 2013, Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai while being treated. The legendary actor is no more in this world but his performances will continue to enthrall viewers for generations.

Some facts about Pran Sahab

  • He gave such a marvelous and realistic performances such that the parents would tell their children to sleep else the Pran will come in 50`s and 60`s.
  • He many times gave various financial helps to the needy without being highlighting his name.
  • He considered his role of 'Raka' (the bandit in the movie Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behta Hai ) as one of the greatest lover since he(Raka) died for that girl.
  • For his iconic role of Sherkhan in Zanjeer he changed his tone so as to resemble like a real Pathan and he had to do as many as 18 retakes to get the exact pronunciation of a word.
  • He had 70 of the paintings in his house in the year 1988 of his various get ups and he wished to make it 100 and then display them in exhibition.
  • He also had his football team, Bombay Dynamos Football Club.
  • He was a collector of pipes and walking sticks, some with concealed swords.
  • He always said his biggest loss during Partition was his dog. Later, he had three dogs named Bullet, Whisky and Soda.
  • Raj Kapoor cast Pran as Rishi Kapoor's father in teen romance Bobby but could not afford his fee. Pran agreed to a signing amount of just Re 1.
  • Pran's trademark on screen was blowing smoke rings. He first did this in 1949 film Badi Behen.

  • From the mythology he liked Ravana very much.
  • He acted in nearly 400 films.
  • He, in his heydays(1969-1982), was paid more than leading stars such as Shatrughan Sinha, Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor etc. for his character roles!
  • He did not liked playing lead roles because he did not liked singing.
  • He only produced one movie throughout his lifetime and that was Lakshmanrekha, in 1992.
  • Such was the influence of Pran Sahab`s acting that when some journalists conducted a survey in schools and colleges in Bombay, Delhi, Punjab and UP and found that not a single boy was named Pran after the '50s, just like no one has ever named his son Raavan!
  • He was in Delhi to attend :late actor Om Prakash`s daughter`s wedding ceremony, and when the people saw him they said,"Malang Chacha aa gaye, hat jaao, unhein jaane do!".It was, according to Pran Sahab, very soothing experience and he decided to switch to character roles.
  • Halaku, from the movie Halaku was his best roles according to him.
  • He admired Amrish puri and Paresh Rawal very much as a villain and in seniors he admired Yakub very much.
  • On 13th February, 1983, 40 of the Bollywood biggest star, including Amitabh Bachchan were in Ahmedabad to play a charity cricket match. The match was organized to fund the L J college of commerce and behind this event was man with a big heart , he was "Pran."
  • Gudiya, a film directed by Goutam Ghose in 1997 was perhaps the last movie in which this great actor made his last major appearance.

Honours and Recognitions

There are persons in this world who elevate themselves on such a level of excellency that the awards and honours deserve them. Pran Sahab was one of them. He won numerous awards for his achievements in his lifetime. He was conferred Padma Bhusan by Government of India in 2001. He has achieved various lifetime awards. But to him the best awards was love of public.He in march, 2000, while being honoured with lifetime achievement award, knelt down on the stage and bowed to the audience and said, "I bow before you all. You have made me." A deafening applause followed after that. In 2013, he was awarded Dada Sahab Pahlke Award, the highest honour of Indian cinema.

The list of awards and achievements are long and hence I have given below the Wikipedia link from where the interested readers can find out his awards and honours.

Bollywood Stars react on his death

Veteran actress Vyjayanthimala Bali recalled her memories and said about Pran :

"Very sad news. I have worked with Pran sahab in various films. I remember I was barely 15-16, when I did my first film Bahar (1951). The same crew who had made the Tamil film made it in Hindi, except for the actors. My first scene was with Pran! I was really young and was scared when he walked towards me with those piercing eyes. I started shivering... I forgot my lines! He had that towering personality.

Then, of course, there was Madhumati (1958), which is a classic. His role in Madhumati is my favourite amongst all the films he did. Because of Pran, I become a ghost in the film and he is the reason, I became such a memorable one! Bimalda shot the film so eerily and dramatically, that added to the impact.

Pran sahab and I worked well together. He was multi-faceted and very talented. He could sing, dance, do comedy, in fact, do anything. Villainy was his trademark. Also, unlike most villains, he never over-acted. He was a mature villain.

As a person, I'd always remember him as a courteous, wonderful man. He'll always be one of the biggest icons of the Hindi film industry.

He was ailing for quite some time. His receiving the Dadasaheb Phalke award was very touching. I saw it on TV. But, honestly, I feel all the awards are given too late. They become meaningless if you give them when the person is going. However, the biggest reward that an actor can get is the love of his fans. Pran sahab was rewarded well by the people."

The bad man of the Bollywood Gulshan Grover said, "Pran saab was dignified and he didn't give importance to stardom. In the minds of audiences and in the film industry, he brought a stature to the villainous characters. He was the complete opposite of the villain he played on the silver screen. He was a true gentleman and never showed off. He added a lot to the film. In those days, he was paid higher than heroes in many films and if he refused to play a negative character, then such a film would not be made. He was a thorough professional and he brought that to the sets. He was also every punctual. I remember when I was working with him, the director would always ask us what time we would reach sets. Then only he would call Pran saab because he was a stickler for time and would wait on sets till lunch break was announced. We would call him and say sir please leave late. I was reprising his characters that he had already played earlier and it was at a very early stage in my career. I was scared to portray the role he had already played and I was worried that he would find faults. But to my surprise, he made it known to everyone that he liked the way I was playing his characters and he thought I was doing a brilliant job. It was so encouraging for me as a newcomer and I sought his guidance and validation and he was involved in my work. He was a legend and he always appreciated the youthfulness I brought and the nuances I added to his characters. He would say it on sets and praise me. When I played his character in Heer Ranjha, I showed him the pictures and discussed it with him. He told me the director would bring out the best in me and give me the chance that he did not have in the early days of his career. He was very encouraging. While working with him, I had scenes where I had to physically ill treat him and I was shy to do that. He told me not to be like that and he was very angry with me. He scolded me and told me not to be afraid. He also said that if I was shy to push him around, I would be insulting not him, but the character and that I would incur the hatred of audiences. This speaks of his magnanimity. Even when I visited him during his illness, he was always concerned about my work and that hadn't changed".

  • Director Subhash Ghai expressed his condolences in the words : "Pran sahab's face was bigger on posters than Amitabh Bachchan`s."
  • Shakti kapoor, on the death of veteran actor, said, "I have not seen someone as decent as him. " "Pran sahab was well educated, well read, a good father and he was not into any kind of politics in the industry,"
  • The veteran actor Prem Chopra said on the demise of Pran, "He loved his life, work and enjoyed life. He lived every moment of his life on his terms."

Pran`s one of the best performances as a Villain

Ajit Khan: Soft spoken yet forceful

Epitome of Villainy in Indian Cinema : Ajit Khan
Epitome of Villainy in Indian Cinema : Ajit Khan

Ajit Khan

He was another giant of Bollywood who diversified the character of villainy in Indian Cinema. He was born as Hamid Ali Khan on 27th January,1922, near the historic place Golconda, Hyderabad. His father, Bashir Ali Khan, was in Nizam`s army. He completed his education in Hanamkonda, Warrangal, Andhra Pradesh.

He was in his college when he became fascinated by Bollywood movies. In fact he was enchanted to such an extent that he sold his college books so as to arrange fare for his journey to Mumbai(then Bombay).

He got his first break in 1946 movie Shahe Misra opposite Geeta Bose. He further played lead role in the movies such as Sikander(van mala), Hatimtai(1947),Aap Beeti(Khurseed) but flopped. He played the lead character in some hit movies. He played the lead role in Baradari which was 9th highest grossing movie of 1955. He also played role in Bada Bhai, Nastik, Milan. he played the role of second lead in Major Hits Mughl-e-Azam and Naya Daur.

Most people might wonder that when he came Bombay to become an actor then what caused him to turn a villain. He himself described in an interview given to Lehren TV. He said that he had worked with every lead actresses of his time except Nargis. He, in fact, did 15 films with Nalini Jaywant. The reason behind his desertion of the lead role was, according to him, his indifference to the romantic songs because he did not had 'chocolaty' face. The second reason he gave was that in those days if some body`s film was silver jubilee hit then he was known as a Lead artiste else if an actor, even though, well versed in acting had somehow not able to give a silver jubilee hit movie then he was considered as an unlucky artiste in those days.

It was the actor Rajendra Kumar who approached him first and offered him the role of a villain in his movie Suraj. It was in 1966 that this movie was released and Ajit Sahab never looked back after that. He had wonderfully described the conversation between him and Rajendra Kumar. Rajendra Kumar, who was also a very close friend to him, said him that now it is the era of the colour films and the budget of these movies is very costly. Kumar Sahab further said that now nobody is going to give him role of a lead hero. They(Rajendra Kumar and Vyjayanthimala) are filming in Madras(now Chennai) and he(Kumar Sahab) wants him to play the role of lead villain. Ajit Sahab accepted that role.

He developed his own style and delivered his double entendre one-liners with a bland expression. His calmness in his composure while dealing with the hero and his soft spoken tongue though delivering outrageous evil perfected his image as a ruthless yet suave mannered archetypal gentleman. He dialogues fostered many popular jokes while made him so popular that he was also came to be known as national folk hero.

In one of the movies he nonchalantly confines the hero in a dungeon, has him chained in the dungeon wall and after whipping him he dips hero in a living hell, a drum full of liquid oxygen."The liquid will not let him live and the oxygen will not let him die," he says.

He was commonly accompanied by beautiful moll named Mona or Lily or with his henchman mostly having western names such as Robert, Mike or Django. One of his best role that I find was in Charas, 1976. It was 5th highest grossing movies of the year and directed by the great Ramanand Sagar. He played the role of Kalicharan, a notorious drug smuggler. The best part that I found in him was his astuteness with which he continued to deceive the police till last. This is only an example in fact there were many instances where he gave remarkable and memorable performance. Who can forget his most famous dialogue from the movie Kalicharan which he delivered to DSP Prabhakar Shrivastava (Shatrughan Sinha) : "Sara Seher Mujhe Lion ke naam se janta hai aur is seher mein meri haisiyat wahi hai jo jungle mein sher ki hoti hai."

Writer Javed Akhtar said about him: "Like Bachchan, Ajit found a new image as villain after Zanjeer. He started a new innings in his career though he was an established hero in the fifties. His villainy started a new trend. Here was a new villain who was soft-spoken yet forceful. We wanted to give a different image to villainy which matched the hero."

Ajit Sahab died in Hyderabad on 21st of October, 1998. He is no more now but the dimensions that he added to villainy in Indian Cinema will always be remembered.

Facts about Ajit Sahab

Here are some facts about Ajit Sahab which give us insight into his life.

  • It was film director K. Amarnath who suggested him that his name Hamid Ali Khan is somewhat longer and he should replace it with something shorter. Hamid sahab zeroed in on "Ajit".
  • In mid seventies he had acted in 57 films as a villain.
  • Ajit sahab had a subtle sense of humour.
  • He was well versed in Urdu poetry.
  • His dialogues were very popular and they often used to create many jokes. He, himself, laughed heartily when his son, Zahid Ali Khan, used to read them for him.
  • His last movie was gangster in 1990s.

Reactions on the death of Ajit Sahab

When he died whole Industry expressed deep sorrow. Here are some.

Legendary actor Amrish Puri said, "Ajit developed his own style of acting and delivery of dialogue. We still remember his style of acting which is guidance to the new generation of actors."

Veteran actor Prem Chopra who had worked with Ajit Sahab in many of the films said, "He had a subtle sense of humour. He was a cultured man. We had a common interest -- reciting Urdu shairi.

Another actor Kiran Kumar, son of late actor Jeevan, expressed his condolences as: "Our relationship was more personal than professional. I must have been hardly eight or ten years when my father (veteran character actor Jeevan) used to take me to Paradise Bakery opposite which was Ajit's residence. Father would call him by his first name Hamid, and would call him down. Ajit would come down, wearing lungi and jaali banian to chat with my father."

One of the greatest Villains of Bollywood : Ajit Khan

Amrish Puri : A Bollywood Legend

One of most renowned villains of Bollywood: Amrish Puri
One of most renowned villains of Bollywood: Amrish Puri | Source

Amrish Puri

It was nearly 12 years, since first time Gabbar Singh had appeared on screen, that a new villain character rose in Indian Cinema. Yes, he was a man with arresting voice and evil desires. He had such a complexion enough to quail children, and put the adults in a state of being thrilled. He was Mogambo. The man who gave this character a life and identity was none other than the great Bollywood legend Amrish Puri.

He was born on 22th June, 1932, in Nawanshahr, Punjab, India. His was the brother veteran actor Madan Puri. He completed his graduation from the B.M College, Shimla, Himanchal Pradesh.

He arrived Bombay in the footstep of his elder brother Madan Puri, who was already very successful as a villain in Indian Cinema. He wanted to become a hero and that`s why in 1950`s he went Bombay. He worked in Employee State Insurance Corporation(ESIC) and retired as an A grade officer after serving it for 21 years. He was flunked in his first screen test. But this result did not deterred him and he continued to reject the offers of minor roles, but instead veered towards the theater. It was Ebrahim Alkazi who got him into theater. It was in 1961. He joined as an assistant to Satyadev Dubey, whom he also said to be his guru.

Finally his fate yielded before his austere determination and he got his first role in 1971 in Reshma aur Shera. He acted a minor role of Rehmat Khan. He had to wait another half-a-decade but he finally made a mark with two Benegal films Nishant, in which he played a landowner who abuses his power, and Bhumika, in which he played with astonishing authority Smita Patil's autocratic older lover who keeps her cloistered in his house.

His breakthrough came when he enacted the role of a character analogous to Duryodhan in Mahabharat of Hum Panch(1981). The other reputed actors in this movie were Raj Babbar and Mithun Chakraborty. The impact of the character that Amrish Puri portrayed was intense. Other notable villains like Pran and Amjad Khan were now moving towards positive character roles and it was at this time that this man provided villainy that Bollywood needed. He could portray chicanery very well and hence was gladly embraced by the film Industry. The other thing which helped him very much was his robust physique. He, even in his 50`s was a sturdy and robust man who made it believable that he could easily pulverize the hero.

But the point I shall raise here is that one must not only consider him as a villain but he was also very adept in performing the patriarchal characters. In art films, specially to mention Ardh Satya(He enacted as Om Puri`s brutal father) in which his performance was memorable. He also gave many performances in theaters such as Andha Yug.

He in 1980`s and 1990`s, in many movies, was the main evil mastermind. His domineering presence and his ruthless crime scenes were so well performed that even the adult audiences were left enthralled. He also was very expert in adapting the character it`s appearance. Who can forget the bald Molaram in Steven Spielberg`s Indiana Jones and the temple of Doom(1984).

It was in 1987 that he gave the best performance of his life. He enacted a role of a villain and made that character larger than life. Yes, the character was Mogambo. I as a child had seen this movie. I was completely horrified by his devilish complexion and the austerity in his voice. His dialogues, specially this one: "Mogambo Khush Hua" became a catchphrase in the country. Mogambo was a man, who had blonde hairs and his own private den from where he controlled the all his evil activities and his mission to rule over India.

He worked in the movie Mohabbat(1985) as heroine Vijyeta`s stern and adamant but loving father who sticks to his principles and does whatever he thinks is right. In Damini, he was cast as a greedy lawyer Indrajeet Chaddha. The way he swung his hairs are the most memorable part of his acting. In the Ghatak, director Rajkumar Santoshi cast him as ill father who comes from Varanasi to Mumbai with his son for treatment. He is a freedom fighter. To me I admire his role of father as the best in whole Bollywood movies. The emotions and liveliness that he inserted into the character left me amazed. The way he yields before Katiya(Danny), the main villain, for his son was epitome of portrayal of a paternal role.

The another outstanding performance that he gave was in blockbuster Dilwale Dulhniya Le Jayenge. The indelible stamp that he left as a result of his acting has gone onto become a genre. He played the role of a stern NRI, Chaudhary Baldev Singh, who is worried about his children who are getting alienated from the cultural values of his beloved motherland. He then returns to India. The most memorable dialogue that Amrish Sahab gave from this movie was: "Ja Simran Ja, jeele apni zindagi." His father, Nihal Chand Puri, had somewhat profound influence on his character in the movie.

The most remarkable thing that one finds in Amrish Sahab was his versatility. He, even having crossed his retirement age gave tremendous performance. He acted as lecherous and pure evil in Koyala, Karan Arjun and simultaneous he could play the character of a good father in Virasat. The last movie which was released of him was Kachhi Sadak in 2006.

He passed away on 12 January 2005, due to Cerebral Haemorrhage resulting from complications of Myelodysplastic syndrome in Mumbai, Maharashtra, aged 72. he has gone but his outstanding performance will always be remembered and he will be cherished in our memories forever.

Some facts about Amrish Sahab

Here I have compiled some lesser known facts about Amrish Puri Sahab.

  • Amrish Puri was 40 years old when he started acting in Bollywood.
  • He was initially reluctant to act in Indiana Jones and the temple of doom(1984), but it was Sir Richard Attenborough, who had cast him in Gandhi(1982), convinced him that Steven Spielberg`s technique made his films special.
  • Known as a wonderful human being in the film circle, his colleagues remember him more for his passion for improvising his character and taking lessons from others.
  • According to him, "working with new and young actors was always fun and challenging".
  • Even people in Bollywood started referring to Amrish Puri as Mogambo!
  • He in his heydays charged 1 crore rupees for villainous roles!
  • Amrish Puri,other than the late Sohrab Modi, was the only Hindi film actor who could truly command attention with his voice.
  • He used to practice daily to improve his voice even though he had inherited a wonderful voice. The practice was for two hours but it went up to four hours at the peak of his career.
  • The role which he played so well in Virasat was earlier rejected by Dilip Sahab and Rajesh Khanna.
  • Sunil Dutt saw him performing in a play and asked him to enact the role of a muslim character who is reconciling and who always makes an effort to bring different people together. It was in Reshma aur Shera.
  • He wished to do a role in King Lear and hamlet. He also wanted to perform historical roles, although there were not very practical according to him.
  • In an interview he said on his choice of roles: "Tragedy happens in a comedian's life too. He doesn't laugh all the time. A villain can't remain vile and hated all the while. You can even laugh at them. Comedy is a part of his life, his character, his behaviour. It is not necessary that only a villain creates problems and only a comedian provides relief. Like in Muskurahat, the retired magistrate has to put up with this girls who walks into his house and refuses to get out. She knows he is her father, but he doesn't. But he can't get rid of her either. He is nonplussed, and that is the comedy... Anyway, the actors only represent the script. Everything goes back to a good script. How good it is depends on each actor. Shakespeare's Hamlet can be performed in 50,000 different ways. It is the character who lends a special touch to the role."
  • The renowned Hollywood director Steven Spielberg said about him- "Amrish is my favorite villain- The best the world has ever produced and ever will!"
  • The video clip of the “Mogambo khush hua” part from film Mr. India was searched 2,31,014 times in five years.
  • The first film of Amrish Puri was in marathi. He played the role of a blind man singing in a Railway compartment. His role was not in the original play written by Vijay Tendulkar, but was added in the film.
  • Once asked in how much films he had acted he said,I don't know. I have lost count. But one of my fans told me I have acted in over 300 films."
  • In real life he was treated like a hero in his family.

Honours and Recognitions

He was a versatile actor and he won awards in many fields. He won the award for best supporting actor for his patriarchal role in Ghatak. He also got his two international film awards in best actor category for Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda, namely Sidney Film Festival and Singapore International Film Festival. The list is somewhat longer hence I have given below a link which interested readers may find very helpful.

Reactions on the death of Amrish Puri

The accidental death of this Bollywood legend was great emotional blow to the film industry. many actors expressed their condolences on his death.

Bollywood star, Shahrukh Khan(SRK) said,"Amrish Puri was a very integral part of our life. I did my first film Deewana (1992) with him, and many more in my 12-year film career.He was very close to me, it is a big loss for us. He had a very good personality, was very gentlemanly. He was very humble.

Special: Goodbye Purisaab

I was not in his age group, but he was younger than us. He was full of life. He would always come early on the sets and work hard. I am too small a person to talk about his acting capabilities. He was one of the finest actors in the country. His death is a loss for us all.Whenever he met me, he would hug me and crack jokes in my ears. I had a very personal relationship with him.He was heading an organisation for actors and would always do something for actors.No one can take his place in the next 500 years. There is only one Amrish Puri in this world."

Bollywood director Subhash Ghai expressed his feelings as:

"It is a very, very huge personal loss to me. We have been together for the last 25 years, since Krodhi in 1979, then Hero, Vidhaata, Ram Lakhan, Saudagar, Pardes, Yaadein, and now, Kisna. We have had a great association. He has always been a part of the Mukta Arts family.He was very professional. He was the best at all levels -- as a friend, human and actor. He played a variety of roles throughout his life. In my films, he has played a villain as well as a good man, like in Pardes, where he sings I love my India.In Kisna, he plays a villain in a brief role. He was not well, but I insisted he play the role because I wanted to encourage him to live further, that he should work. I wanted him to play a role in Kisna, however small it may be. We had a relationship like brothers.That was his final role. It was a brief role, but he did it well.During the shooting, he never said he was unwell. Of course, we knew he was not well. We gave him the best comforts. He gave the role his full energy and played all the shots with gusto.He was a karmayogi. He was lucky that he died working. He was truly a top star."

Writer Javed Akhtar on the death of Amrish Sahab Said, "We signed him for Imaan Dharam, which was his first commercial film, though others may have released before. He was the kind who never forgot a good turn. He was a man of principles. People with principles tend to be brusque and colourless but not him. He could do anything with élan.

We kept working together and met often. A great deal of affection grew between us. I noticed his compassion with people.

He had reached a point of success where he didn't require anything. But he never forgot people who had done him favours.

He wanted to look after his friends who had contributed to his success in any way. He never forgot his beginnings on stage and in art cinema. He never cut the umbilical cord.

He never compromised on his price with movie moguls but when working with art filmmakers, he would often work for free.

I did write the Mogambo role for him in Shekhar Kapur's Mr India, which became very successful. But it was his performance that made it a success. He performed it with conviction that not many actors can. One might have done it with too much seriousness or may have looked like a fish out of water. But he did it with élan. That made it successful.

He never did guest appearances but when my son Farhan was making Lakshya, I approached him to make a guest appearance. I told him if he wanted to refuse, I would not mind. He replied he could refuse anybody, but not me.

He didn't charge a penny for that role."

Actress Farida Jalal expressed deep sorrow over his death. She said, "He has been my favourite co-star. He was a big name but such a humble man and so straightforward. At times, he reminded me of a child -- the way he approached things.

With me, he was always affectionate. When my husband Tabrez passed away in September 2003, he was present until the burial. Even after that, he would call to find out how I was. He knew there was a void in my life after my husband died.

I can't get over the shock (breaks down). I don't know what to say. He was a perfect gentleman, always courteous and caring."

Mogambo : One of the greatest Villains of Bollywood

The Greatest Villain

Who, according to you, is the greatest villain from the following ?

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Most Memorable villainy roles

Name of character
Name of Film
K N Singh
Howrah Bridge (1958)
Pran Krishan Sikand
Jis desh Mein Ganga Behti hai(1960)
Ajit Khan
Seth DeenDayal
Amrish Puri
Mr. India(1988)
Amjad Khan
Gabbar Singh

Amjad Khan : A Legend

Amjad Khan in Sholay as famous Gabbar Singh.
Amjad Khan in Sholay as famous Gabbar Singh.

Amjad Khan

Amjad Khan was born on 12th of November ,1940 in Hyderabad, Peshawar of undivided India. He was the son of legendary actor Jayant. He attended St. Theresa`s High school, Bandra, Mumbai and R. D. National college for higher education.

His first film was Char Paise(1941-1942) directed by his uncle N. K Ziri. He then got his second role in 1951, Nazneen. The next movie in which he worked was Raj Kapoor`s Ab Dilli Dur Nahin(1957). Most of the people may be unaware but he also assisted as an assistant director to the director K. Asif in his film Love and God, which was shelved for many years due to the death of director K. Asif in 1971 but finally, was released in 1986.

Amjad Sahab made his first debut as an adult in Chetan Anand`s Hindustan Ki kasam(1973). It was in 1975 that his big breakthrough came which made him one of the best actors that Indian Cinema has ever produced. Initially the script writer Salim-Javed wanted Danny Denzogpa to play the part but as it has happened, around the world, with many legendary movies Danny could not accept the role. The reason was that at that time he was in Afghanistan shooting for Feroz Khan`s Dharmatma. Salim sahab spotted Amjad Khan and found him to be perfect for the role. Though initially they were little concerned with the soft voice that he had but soon he dispelled their fear. Amjad Sahab gave such a remarkable delivery of dialogues that his voice became the most pivotal aspect of the character of Gabbar Singh.

He was very famous for portraying the unconventional roles. In 1977, the greatest Indian director Satyajit Ray, cast him as Wajit Ali Shah, in Shatranj Ke Khiladi. He was very impressed with his acting in the sholay(1975) and even said if Amjad Sahab would not accept the role he will have the entire film scrapped. Amjad Khan with his charming and dominating persona eventually superseded actor Ajit.

He starred in many films with Amitabh Bachchan. The roles which he accepted to act were of very versatile in nature. When I saw Mr. Natwar Lal, I was completely enthralled and detested Amjad Khan. But when I saw Lawaaris(1981), I was deeply influenced by the powerful acting that Amjad Sahab displayed of a father. He also played many comical roles in many movies such as Qurbani(1980), Love Story and Chameli Ki Shaadi(1986) to name a few.

He also directed few movies in 1980`s in which Chor Police(1983), was a success but Ameer Aadmi Gareeb Admi(1985) was a box office failure. He continued to act in 1980`s and 1990`s.

In 1986 he survived a fatal accident on Mumbai-Goa Highway when he drove his into a tree in order to avoid a boulder. He died in 1992, at the age of 51 from a heart failure. He is gone very far from us but he will be forever cherished in our memories.

Some Facts about Amjad Sahab

I have, here in this section, collected some little known facets of life of Amjad Sahab which help us to know more about him and realize that though he is remembered for his villainy but in real life very few could match him in his humanitarian efforts.

  • Despite of his celebrity he never had slightest arrogance of his achievements and accomplishments. Once a leading actor advised him to work only for the big production houses. On hearing this he said, "You are there to take care of the big banners, let me support the small ones."
  • He loved kids very much. Not only his own but the ones also whom he did not know. His wife Shiela Khan recalled and incident. One woman said that he helped her find his son when he was missing from Mumbai.
  • He had read 'Abhisapt Chambal', written by Tarun Kumar Bahaduri (Jaya Bachchan`s father) for his role of Gabbar Singh.
  • Amjad sahab was very vulnerable when it came on his children. If he would found that his children were injured he would immediately rush to his home and start crying. Most of the time it was such that she had to pat children on one side and Amjad sahab on another side.
  • As a well-respected member of the Hindi film industry, Khan was the President of the Actor’s Guild, which would mediate disagreements between actors and film producers and directors.
  • Amjad Sahab made friends naturally and trusted immensely. Though sometime he was cheated but he was never vengeful.
  • There were two things which he love very much. The first, tea and second thing was bantering.
  • when in 1982, Amitabh Bachchan was convalescing in Breach Candy Hospital, Amjad Sahab was the first one to meet him after Bachchan Sahab gained his consciousness.

One of the Greatest Villainy Scenes of Bollywood


At the end I would like to add many points which might help readers to get more acquainted with the hub that I have written.

  • I could not find many things on K N Singh and hence I would be much obliged if some interested reader may help to improve the section about him.
  • Same case was for Amjad Khan since he died early, in fact earliest in the list.
  • There may be anything or data which might be left which could have been very important in understanding these actors. Readers may notify me by their valuable comments and I will surely append them.

Last but not least, this article is a tribute to the old legends and an honest effort to present the readers something authentic and condensed. Although I have tried my best to avoid errors but still it is possible that some errors might have crept in. I would be very happy if someone marks those errors and lets me know about them.


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