All action films have heroes, but a hero only becomes that, when there’s a good enough villain. Of course, Bollywood has always had over-the-top villains, but only some actors have managed to take it up a notch. Ever since Pathaan made it to the big-screen, people have been talking about the action sequences and well, everything else. And it’s time that we talk about the bad guy, we almost wanted to root for – John Abraham.
The actor plays Jim, the leader of ‘Outfit X’, a private terrorist organization and a former RAW agent. Jim is not a random villain who exists to fight with no cause. He has his reasons and they’d make you sympathize with him, even if that feeling lasts for a short while. John Abraham does one thing too well, and not many actors have it in them – to play each character in style. There was a time when villains were only shown as ‘good for nothing’ characters who weren’t very clever, intelligent, charming or witty. For action films, the hero was always better at fighting than the villain, for sci-fi, the bad guy could hardly compete, and so on. But now, we’ve antagonists who are just as good as protagonists.
Now that there are interesting antagonists, we also need actors who keep us at the edge of our seats. We need to believe that they have it in them to end the hero – that is what’s gripping. Watching John Abraham in Dhoom was the first time most people felt that sense of terror. He had that “swag”, as we now call it. Anyone who’s watched the film knows that he had more memorable scenes than any other character. And you know a villain did a good job, if people start copying their style.
Kabir (his character in Dhoom) had a subtle attitude throughout his appearance, and the only character who has possibly matched that, is Jim. Also, it takes a lot of effort to hold attention if you’re sharing screen with SRK, and John Abraham managed to pull that as well, with Pathaan. On the other hand, it is probably one of the hardest things as an actor to look good while jumping, climbing, killing and whatnot. But John, John makes it look effortless. I mean, give the guy a bike and some gear, and he’d make it look like a fashion show. And now that we’re (purposely) talking about how he looked in the film, we need to give him credit for pulling off absolutely anything. Any outfit.
At this point, it seems like ‘John Abraham as antagonist’ is the lucky charm for YRF – you need a good film, call John to play the villain. Voila! Oh, and we NEED to talk about the kind of BGM he gets each time. Jim’s entry and the music in the background is all that kept playing in my head after I left the theatre (other than Jhoome Jo Pathaan, of course). Needless to say, his entry was too cool – literal chills.
Another good thing that his character had was, a good backstory. Jim wasn’t always a bad person, it was circumstantial. So, for a very short while, John Abraham also plays the good guy who loved his people, but was ‘lured to the dark side’. It’s unlike how most villains randomly existed, with no intent. And so, it was impossible for them to make an impression, while the hero existed (which they always do). However, to show that there is (was) a good side to the villain, we need an actor who can play a good person. We want to know that a person could’ve been could, if they had that one chance. And again, John Abraham does that pretty well. Most times, he has this ‘nice image’ that makes us want to root for him, no matter what. And that’s also what happens in Pathaan.
Call me a simp, but John Abraham has managed to raise the bar for antagonists, yet again. And we should talk about it (more).