This post is particularly special to me – because I am about to give you some really, really interesting trivia about some people that have left an indelible mark on the Hindi film industry and on our minds, but are unsung heroes nevertheless – I am talking about the dhaasu villains of our industry. Why is it that the word “villain” reminds us of a Gabbar or Shakaal? Because they terrorised our hearts when they laughed that evil laugh or shot some poor chap in the head; because they made us believe that they were bad boys.
Black and white films had many such villains – and they were fantastic – veteran actors who made our hearts go cold when they came on screen. Pran, Prem Chopra and Ajit were some of them – they were called character actors because they almost ALWAYS played the bad guy. Why? Because they were so unbelievably good at it, that’s why!
So today, I am going to introduce you to some of my favourites, and I bet there are a few surprises coming your way!
Mona Darling, sona kidhar hai? His real name was Hamid Ali Khan and he was one of the most luminous villains of the industry. So legendary that his legacy is now carried forward by his son Shezad Khan who not only looks uncannily like him, but mimics his father’s dialogue delivery in a manner that leaves you baffled.
Of course, I am talking about Ajit, better known as “Loin”. You can’t miss him. A suave, well dressed bad man in exquisitely designed western wear, Ajit gave some stellar performances in Hindi films.
His pet phrases were “Lily don’t be silly!” and “Raaabat”. And of course, “Mona Darrrling”. Awesome. Just pure awesome.
Although he took positive roles in films like Naya Daur and Mughleazam, Ajit was mainly popular in negative shades.
Mera naam hai Prem, Prem Chopra: (sounds like James Bond stole his line) No prizes for guessing this man’s name. He acted in over 400 films. One look at that face and he knew this fella was up to no good.
When Chopra came to Mumbai, he had to try a number of times before he could grab a role in a film. So how did he sustain himself? He joined Times of India in 1950s! That’s right! After playing a villain in a film called Upkaar, he became a leading villain in most of the films at the time. And his favourite phrase? Brace yourself for some heavy words! “Mai woh balaa hoon jo sheeshe se patthar ko todti hai”. (Bows in reverence)
Barkhuddaaaar: The best of them all (I think so) and the most hated (on screen only of course). I read Pran’s biography called “…and Pran” – a beautiful account of the actor’s life, both personal and professional. It’s astounding how much the man accomplished. He wasn’t just great on screen, but also one of the most respected personalities in the industry.
He was one villain people loved to hate. He epitomized the image of the bad guy so well that for a long time, mothers refused to name their sons “Pran” for the fear that would grow up to be like him!! What more proof could one ask for, right?
Pran Saab never saw his own films, did you know that? There is a reason behind his biography being named “And Pran”. A fan once sent a mail where he referred to Pran saab as “And Pran” since in all his films his name was cast last as “and Pran”.
Awesomeness personified. (Salutes)
The Evil, evil mother:
A prolific Indian actress who later turned into a character actress, Lalita Pawar appeared in over 700 films, both Hindi and Marathi. She began as a child artist and went on to work in numerous silent films of the 1940s mostly as the leading lady.
She was the evil matriarch or mother-in-law – for instance, her role in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana as Manthara. She was the perfect vamp. I don’t know if you ever noticed, but her left eye is slightly distorted which lends her face that sinister look she’s so well known for. There’s a whole story behind how she got it too.
During a scene, actor Bhagwan Dada was to slap her hard, which he did. But it was a little to hard, resulting in a facial paralysis and a burst left eye vein. After three yrs of treatment, all she was left with was a defective left eye. She had to abandon lead roles and switch over to character roles.
Ironically enough, it was this defect that lent to her face, an evil look that made her a roaring success in negative roles.
Phew! So those are some of my favourite ones. There are a couple of others too:
I mean, if they didn’t kidnap the heroin or punch the hero, how would the hero ever get applauded for rescuing the damsel/villagers/anyone in distress?
So kudos to them for what they do!!! Cheers!