If we look at Bollywood’s past, the main protagonist has frequently been overshadowed by the on-screen “baddies“. You cannot discuss Sholay without noting Amjad Khan’s portrayal of the merciless Gabbar, or Mr. India without mentioning Amrish Puri’s iconic performance as Mogambo.
And it appears that the era of notable antagonists in our movies is returning after a prolonged hiatus. It was hard for the audience to not be fascinated by the antagonist in certain recent projects, sometimes to the point where you would completely forget about the protagonist.
1. Vijay Varma in Darlings
Darlings, Alia Bhatt’s debut production, has generated the strongest buzz among recent Bollywood movies mainly with its intriguing premise and stellar performances by the cast. Even though every lead character in the film was exceptional, Vijay Varma’s Hamza was able to grab the viewers’ attention. While portraying the role on-screen, the talented actor expertly adopted the persona and made us despise him. And that is an antagonist’s greatest accomplishment.
2. Bobby Deol in Love Hostel
Bobby Deol returned to acting after a break with the Netflix criminal drama as Vijay Dagar, and it was a performance we weren’t expecting. He completely overshadowed the film’s key stars, Sanya Malhotra and Vikrant Massey, who are both fantastic actors. One may have felt shivers going down their spines the instant Deol entered the frame. This seasoned actor showed that his second innings in acting is worthwhile to see.
3. Vijay Raaz in Gangubai Kathiawadi
With his portrayal of a transgender person in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, Vijay Raaz sparked controversy on how LGBTQ+ actors are routinely denied opportunities. One cannot, however, dispute that the actor completely nailed the role if one only concentrates on his act. With his nuanced portrayal of Raziabai, Raaz, who has previously given outstanding performances throughout his career, added another to the list.
4. Kunal Khemu in Malang
The performance by Kunal Khemu in Malang was notable for two main reasons. In the first place, the actor showed his range by choosing a role that was vastly unlike anything he had previously done, and in the second, he did so with ease. As Michael Rodrigues, the actor portrayed a troubled police officer and a more flawed individual. Khemu was incredibly convincing in his portrayal, and this specific performance showed that he merits the chance to show his acting chops in different roles.
5. Rahul Bose in Bulbbul
Rahul Bose portrayed both the zamindar (landlord) Indranil and his younger brother Mahendra in the supernatural drama on Netflix. The narrative tells the tale of the protagonist, Bulbbul’s transformation from weakness to power against the backdrop of Bengal’s 1880s administration. Meanwhile, Bose portrays a cruel persona as the family patriarch with unwavering sincerity.
6. Jaideep Ahlawat in Khaali Peeli
Despite the fact that the movie Khaali Peeli, starring Ananya Panday and Ishaan Khattar, didn’t even come close to being a decent and entertaining film, Ahlawat’s role in the project must be noted. The actor, who has perhaps never failed to capture the depth of a character, did the same when portraying Yusuf Chikna.
7. Pankaj Tripathi in Ludo
Pankaj Tripathi is another performer that never lets the audience down with his work, whether he’s playing a quirky commoner or a gangster. But Sattu, the quirky thug from Ludo, directed by Anurag Basu, was somewhat of a blend and impossible to miss on screen. Tripathi stood out among the remarkable ensemble cast of the dark comedy for portraying a memorable antagonist.
8. Vidya Balan in Jalsa
Vidya Balan portrays Maya Menon, a renowned journalist who becomes mired in a hit-and-run case, in Suresh Triveni’s Jalsa. Even if her character defies the typical stereotype of an antagonist, it was written in such a way that even the audience would be faced with a moral choice. When it comes to the actor’s performance, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to state that it was one of her finest performances to date.
9. Saif Ali Khan in Tanhaji
The historical action film, which also has Saif Ali Khan in a significant part, follows the life of Maratha warrior Tanaji Malusare. Khan, who plays Udaybhan Singh Rathore, was incredibly convincing as a villain. The actor accurately captured the harshness and cunning demeanour of the historical figure without transforming him into a caricature.