A woman with the potential to make it big. It is not that she cannot: she simply will not.
The closest anyone has come to being an adopted daughter.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Little demons: A tribute

Disclaimer: All images are nicked from the internet (some of them are stills captured from YouTube). Do let me know if there is a copyright issue, and I will remove them; just do not arrest me. The facts have also been obtained from various sources. Even then, a special thanks to Abhimanyu Mukherjee for his help in this.


They have always been there. They have made you cringe, they have made you squirm, they have made you laugh out loud (often with their so-bad-that-it's-good performances), and have got bashed by the men who perhaps wouldn't stand a chance in a hand-to-hand tussle with them in real life.

And yet, they have never hogged the limelight the way the Prans, the Helens, the Bindus, the Amjad Khans, the Amrish Puris, the Prem Chopras, the Ajeets, the Aruna Iranis, or the Shakti Kapoors have done. They have been hurled out of fragile balconies in godowns; they have the hero and smashed a rod to smash huge glass containers full of blue liquid to pieces; they have performed cabarets; they have tortured pious heroines and seduced innocent heroes; and have manipulated minds of the members of perfectly functional families.

These are the people no one talk about. The forgotten names. The villains' sidekicks of Bollywood. Men who have tried to loot the izzats of respectable women and have got bashed up in the process; small-scale smugglers who have got killed at docks; sex sirens who have lured perfectly honest men to commit terrible crimes; and goons who attack the hero (one by one, never together), only to be shredded into ribbons.

The list also doesn't consist of the names of the ones on a slightly lesser platform than the illustrious ones mentioned above. That means there is no space for the likes of Jeevan, Shashikala, Lalita Pawar, Kiran Kumar, Mukesh Rishi, Mukesh Tiwari, Yashpal Sharma, or Mohnish Behl. No. This is a place for the ones the audience has missed out over the years.

With the concept of villains vanishing from Bollywood there is little scope that we would witness get to see more of these men. Gone are the days of dons wielding lighters that looked like guns and VAT-69 bottles. The industry has taken to the nonsensical realm of gray characters.

Note: Rami Reddy doesn't make the cut either, having already been inducted into my personal Hall of Fame.


Let me get the dedication bit out of the way first. We have all seen Major Anand and Bihari in one of the most iconic scenes of Bollywood, but have seldom bothered to find out their names. While Major Anand has gone on to play the Police Commissioner in Dharmatma (the movie for which Danny Denzongpa had famously turned down the role of Gabbar Singh), Bihari has acted in Don, Dream Girl, and Andaaz.

Major Anand (left) and Bihari: I'm not sure, but the guy on the left looks more of a Major
The world generally remembers Ajit Vachani as Mohnish Bahl's greedy father from Maine Pyar Kiya, but few people remember him as Teja from Mr India or the evil lawyer from Tridev who framed Sunny Deol on the verdict of, all people, Rajesh Vivek. And, of course, who doesn't remember him from Kyo Kii... Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta?

The owner of probably the reddest face Bollywood has ever seen, Vachani had passed away a decade back without the nation realising, let alone mourning.

The reddest face Bollywood had
Remember Debu from Ram Lakhan? The man who represented that batch of young NRIs who were projected in Bollywood as morons who wanted to marry the heroine and invariably got a thrashing in the hands of the Indian hero?

It had taken me some time to find out that the man goes by the name of Anand Balraj. He later went on to play Monty in Sailaab and Neeraj in Jamai Raja, and - here comes the most awesome bit of information - has directed a movie called Daal Mein Kuch Kaala Hai starring Veena Malik.

NRI = moron
Anant Jog has the most forgettable of faces: there is a high probability that you may bounce into him ten times a day and still not recognise him. He will probably have a heart attack if you find his face familiar and called him by his name. If anonymity had been a category Jog might have won quite a few Filmfare Awards.

One of the more consistent corrupt ministers of the industry, Jog had played the role to perfection in Chaahat, Ghaav, Risk, and Singham - though the most potent of this obviously came in his helpless appearance in Rowdy Rathore. He has also adorned the khaki on multiple occasions - playing the full range from Commissioner to constable.

His magnum opus, of course, came in Sarkar, where he played the Police Commissioner who didn't care a thing about Amitabh Bachchan (no less).

The most forgettable face
If you want to make a Bollywood movie based in a village and are in desperate search for a moderate actor who would fit into any role you want - especially a villainous one - you should perhaps place your money on Anupam Shyam.

For many directors Shyam has been the face of rural India. The big guns have kept on changing, but Shyam has kept on blessing the screen with his ubiquitous presence. He might have been a bigger name had his career taken off in the 20th century, when gaaon ki goris and Thakurs were in vogue. He would probably have given the entire support cast of Sholay a run for their money.

Shyam's significant roles include Bawandar, LagaanShakthi, Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi, Halla Bol, Slumdog Millionaire, and Well Done Abba!. His peak probably came when he (and Rana Jung Bahadur) formed a seemingly invincible political gathbandhan with Amrish Puri in Nayak.

The face of rural India
Fans of 1970s Bollywood probably remember Asha Sachdev mostly for her performance in Agent Vinod, but many an honest person's ideology on screen went for a toss when she went on a seduction spree. Do not forget the vengeful Rita in Mehbooba or the sensuous Lily of Double Cross and many a woman of questionable repute in umpteen movies. On a side note, she was also pitted against Shakti Kapoor in Satte Pe Satta.

The Agent Vinod girl
It would be terribly unfair to leave out Karan Arjun's intimidating Suraj Singh from the list. Be it Nirmal Pandey's brother in Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya or the blink-and-you-miss eve-teaser from Zulm-o-Sitam, Aashif Sheikh had done it all with impossible ease - or, rather, as he himself would have snorted and said, "What a joke!"

Also, as Arnab has pointed out, Aashif Sheikh had one of the most popular songs of the 1990s picturised on him.

PS: Does anyone remember him as Sohail Khan's elder brother in I: Proud To Be An Indian?

What a joke!
Robert John 'Bob' Christo was a civil engineer from Sydney who turned out to be possibly the most typecast actor in the history of Bollywood. He played Mr Wolcott in Mr India (for whom Mogambo, no less, had organised a jashn where 'Hawa Hawaii' was performed); a foreign gold smuggler in Toofan; the cringe-worthy cop in Gumrah; and plenty of other movies where he played the (foreigner or Anglo-Indian) henchman for the main antagonist (and was almost invariably named Bob).

He almost pulled off a career full of evil roles till I saw him portray a perfectly innocent uncle of Urmila Matondkar's friend in Hum Tum Pe Marte Hain.

However, Christo's greatest claim to fame is probably the fact that it was he who had first mouthed the words "hum jahaan khade hote hain, line wahin se shuru hoti hai" in Kaalia in his killer accent.

The man whose line Amitabh Bachchan nicked
I had got to know Brij Mohan's name from Diptakirti. The contract killer of Qayamat se Qayamat tak, the goon of Suhaag and Pehchaan, and the person who eve-teased Tanuja (no, there is not typo here) in Aatish had saved his greatest performance for Shiva.

With Danny Denzongpa having six brothers in Ghatak Rajkumar Santoshi had decided to rope in Brij Mohan as one of them. Some of the other brothers also feature on this page.

The Satya man
Dan Dhanoa was one of those heavyweight beginners in Bollywood, playing the main villain on debut in Mard. It was a surreal performance where Dan, a British (why?), enslaved Indians, made them work to hell, and when they could not work any more, drew blood from their arteries till they were dead. In other words, Danny Dyer was as bad as it could have been. Mind you, he led the 'other side' despite Prem Chopra's presence.

Whatever followed after that had to be an anticlimax, though he played the legendary Tej Sapru's younger brother in Tridev and pulled off scary performances in VirodhiVishwatma, and Phool Aur Kaante.

The evil Danny Dyer
It is difficult to choose any one performance of Deepak Shirke from what seems to be a thousand. Anna Shetty from Agneepath? The father of the trinity in Hum? Pralaynath Gundaswamy (who Raaj Kumar affectionately referred to as Gendaswamy: courtesy Debasish Chowdhury) in Tirangaa? Tandiya in Loha? Maybe the innocent, anticlimactic Mama from Ferrari ki Sawaari? Or will it be the terrifying Mangesh Chhilkey from Ek Chalis ki Last Local?

In the end, I guess it should go to Bachchu Bhigona in Gunda - for the simple reason that nothing beats Gunda. Shirke seemed completely at ease despite the ensemble cast, and pulled off a terrific performance.

Deep Dhillon had leaped into prominence as Jayadrath in BR Chopra's Mahabharat. He played cameos in Mr India and Maine Pyar Kiya, but finally came into prominence in the action-packed decade of the 1990s.

One might be tempted to think that his role as Antya (yet another Danny brother from Ghatak) was his zenith, but Deepak Shivdasani surpassed all expectations by casting him as the main villain in Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke.

Few people have been bashed up in Bollywood as consistently as Gavin Packard (no, he did not help found HP). The master of blink-and-miss roles, Packard was seldom seen a in a movie for more than five minutes and almost never got away without being beaten to pulp. His most memorable role had probably come in Sadak.

The strangest incident happened in Aankhen where Govinda had managed to convince Shakti Kapoor that he had shot Govinda when he had actually shot Packard. Given the physique of Govinda and Packard this ranks among the best examples of duping a person in the history of Bollywood.

The person who had been the inspiration behind Sanjay Dutt building up his muscles and had also trained Sunil Shetty's physical trainer; unfortunately, he passed away in 2012.

Few people would have dared to accept a role in a movie called Tamboo Mein Bamboo, but you can expect such eccentricities from Gurbachan Singh. Like many others mentioned in this article Gurbachan has had a plethora of one-minute performances. In fact, despite his longevity in the industry, the entire on-screen appearance of his career put together might be less than the duration of movies like Lagaan.

Gurbachan, however, has managed to be a part of several Amitabh Bachchan starrers like Roti Kapada Aur Makaan, Mr Natwarlal, Do Aur Do Paanch, Desh Premee, Mahaan, Pukar, Sharaabi, Ajooba, and Yaar Meri Zindagi. Of course, nobody can forget Mr Zorro from Mr India.

The king of bits-and-misses
Hercules is Sobisco (or Zobisco, or Zybysko, or whatever); and Sobisco is Hercules. If you watch someone in a classic like Amar Akbar Anthony it is almost impossible to erase him from your memory. And yet, Manmohan Desai has managed to cast him in a memorable role yet again by using him in another blockbuster - Dharam Veer. The man must have been something, after all.

The mascot of Manmohan Desai
Ishrat Ali will be remembered forever in the history of cinema for his portrayal of Lambu Aata in Gunda (his selection was kind of obvious after his spectacular performance in Loha). He has also played the mysterious Rakabh Ali in Aa Gale Lag Jaa, a movie that released with the tagline "The Only Movie with 9 Songs and 11 Murders" (or was it the other way round?). And, of course, who can forget Tau from Judwaa?

Maut ka Chnata
Jack Gaud was, of course, Amrish Puri's son in Karan Arjun. An ex-Navy Officer, he played cameos in BetaSuhaag, and Khuddar before finally finding his groove in Rakesh Roshan's magnum opus, which made him an automatic choice for Koyla. Unfortunately, Gaud passed away in 2000 of a heart-attack.

Maut ka chnata!
Jeetu Verma had sprung into prominence with his role as Vinod Khanna's cool henchman in Deewaanapan. That single performance pulled him out of the obscurity of Sapoot (remember the guy responsible for the suicide of the sister of Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty?), Auzaar, and Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan. His career, however, seemed to meander towards a nothingness till the Thakur in Bol Bachchan happened. One can hope that there will be no looking back from here.

Remember the silent rogue from Deewaanapan?
If you have seen Kudrat you couldn't have helped humming "chhodo sanam". Kishore Kumar and Annette Pinto singing to Rahul Dev Burman's amazing tune tends to linger way after the movie gets over. And despite the presence of Vinod Khanna and Hema Malini, whenever you think of the song the first picture that comes in front of your eyes is that of the sizzling woman setting the stage on fire.

Had she started off a decade or so back Kalpana Iyer might have given a lot of women a run for their money. Even then, she fitted in perfectly in the era of disco, making one-off appearances in 'item songs', especially in peppy cabaret numbers, the most famous among which was 'Hari om Hari' from Pyara Dushman and 'koi yahaan, aaha nache nache' from Disco Dancer.

And then, there's that gruesome jailor in Anjaam that you would love, love, love to hate.

The queen of hit songs
If Iyer did it in Kudrat and Helen did it in Sholay, Laxmi Chhaya pulled it off easily in Mera Gaon Mera Desh. In an excellent movie that is considered by many as the 'original Sholay' Laxmi Chhaya in 'maar diya jaaye' is still worth a looped view on YouTube - as is 'jaan pehchan ho' that opens Gumnaam.

The highest point of her career came when she was cast against Amitabh Bachchan in Mukul Dutt's Raaste ka Patthar (an almost frame-by-frame copy of Billy Wilder's The Apartment). Other than that, just like Iyer, she specialised at playing either a dancer or the villain's moll.

Sizzling, ravishing, evil
One of my favourite Sholay quizzes is "What were the two lines Mac Mohan said in the movie?" Other than the iconic line the only other time he spoke was when he was playing cards with a dacoit called Janga, and uttered "chal be Janga, cheedi ki raani hai". Soon afterwards, Sachin was murdered.

Makijany 'Mac' Mohan had arrived in Bombay to become a cricketer. He turned up being an actor who refused to watch Sholay because of his limited role; today most people remember him as Sambha; even in Luck by Chance (where he played himself) he had to utter his most famous line.

For whatever reason he used to be credited as Brij Mohan in some of his earlier movies. The characters he played were rather imaginatively named (for example, Mac Mohan in Akhri Inteqam and Uljhan, Jagmohan in Shaan, and Mac in about twenty movies).

A common error is the idea that Mac Mohan's career had really taken off with Sholay. He had, in fact, played one of the earliest male strippers in the history of Bollywood in this song from Aao Pyaar Karein (do note Sanjeev Kumar in the background; things changed by the time Sholay had happened).

Oh, did I mention that Mac Mohan was (unfortunately, we have to use the past tense here) the maternal uncle of Raveena Tandon?

₹ 50,000
Few people have struck me as villainous on first sighting as Mahavir Shah. It was hatred at first sight. The moment I cast my eyes on him for the first time I knew he could not be a good person, and he has almost always lived up to that hypothesis.

He had played seriously evil characters in movies like 100 DaysYes BossPhir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, and umpteen other movies. In fact, he often looked so gruesome that when he played the honest inspector in Judwaa I kept on suspecting that there was a catch somewhere. Even after he was murdered.

Those eyes. Those eerie eyes.
I first noticed Mahesh Anand collecting hafta in Shahenshah. Then I spotted him in Toofan as Zaalim Singh (few names have been as self-explanatory). He was challenged on the streets by Amitabh Bachchan in Akayla, and was a goon who worked for Gulshan Grover in Sir. He was also the person whom the impostor Govinda impersonated in Coolie No. 1.

A taekwondo champion, Anand's greatest moment possibly came in the song 'reshmi zulfen' in Amitabh Bachchan's Indrajeet. Nothing, absolutely nothing can beat a dance that pits Mahesh Anand against a sensuous Guddi Maruti. Do have a look. It's worth a thousand views.

Input from Megha: Mahesh Anand had made his debut in Karishma. He even had this RD Burman gem picturised on him. The movie apparently has the phrase 'introducing Mahesh Anand' in its titles.

Impersonated by Govinda
Subhash Ghai was perhaps the first to spot Manik Irani and use him to the fullest in Kalicharan and Vishwanath on opposite sides of the law. He also played henchmen in TrishulShaan, Nastik, Hero, and Mard, but never lived up to the promise he had shown in the early Subhash Ghai movies.

He obtained the rather singular name of Marconi in Ram-Avatar, and also played the haiwaan in Ramsay Brothers' iconic Purani Haveli.

Subhash Ghai's man
Like Laxmi Chhaya, Manmohan also opened Gumnaam with 'jaan pehchan ho'. He started off as a petty pickpocket in Brahmachari and an opposition soldier in Prem Pujari, but he in the 1970s he was catapulted into stardom as one of the leading villains of the industry.

When Manmohan was at his peak directors like Shakti Samanta, Manoj Kumar, or Bhappi Sonie would simply not agree to make films without him (his most famous role possibly came in Aradhana). One of the most hated faces in the history of industry, it was sad that Manmohan's career faded out with the emergence of the likes of Prem Chopra and Amjad Khan, both of whom arrived with mega-hits.

The pre-1975 demon
Born Erin Isaac Daniels in Lahore, Manorama had arrived in India during partition. In a career that spanned eighty years on both sides of the border Manorama was perhaps most renowned for her portrayal as the loathsome Kaushalya in Seeta Aur Geeta and Maharani Kalawati in Rajkumar.

She stole the show with her cameo in Naya Din Nai Raat, but her forte was the truant aunt, mother-in-law, or stepmother. She was seen as late as in Deepa Mehta's Water.

Evil. Pure evil.
As a child I used to be terrified of the sight of MB Shetty on screen. The very sight of Shetty as Martin the butcher with an ominous-looking cleaver in hand in a cold storage amidst chunks of meat was terrifying. There was a reason that I usually freeze whenever I watch that scene from The Great Gambler.

And yet it was not his acting that made Shetty a legend. One of the most popular fight-directors in Bollywood, Shetty was the top choice for most movies that involved an iota of action or stunts, especially in the 1970s.

However, he had created a niche as an actor as well. Whether as Madho Singh in Trishul or Shaakaal in Don, he was the ultimate henchman. His greatest performance, of course, came as the super-sleuth in Buddha Mil Gaya. Always a man of few words, Shetty believed in power-packed punches (and he was rather good at them) delivered from his huge frame and steel biceps.

Unfortunately, he ended up getting bashed by heroes of minuscule frames who would not have stood a chance in front of him in real life. In fact, given his dual role, he instructed these lesser men on how to bash himself.

Doesn't the look send a chill down your spine?
Bollywood would have been a different place without the sizzling Padma Khanna. Even if we take away the ruthlessly selfish Phoolbanu in Saudagar that you would want to hate from the core of your heart (one must remember that she still had 'sajna hai mujhe, sajna ke liye' in the movie) you'd still be left with a lot more. And I'm not talking of Kaikeyi in Ramayana either.

It is difficult to choose one song from Padma Khanna's illustrious repertoire. Will it be 'sajna hai mujhe'? Or will it be the drunken 'husn ke laakhon rang' in Johnny Mera Naam that can make any man lose his senses? Mind you, she was picked out of relative obscurity to pull that off in Johnny Mera Naam; trust the Anands to do something like that.

Lal Patthar, Lakhon Mein Ek, Khoon Khoon, Loafer, she was always there - seducing men on either side to reveal their 'plans' or to win them over to get things done. Had her career not overlapped with Helen's she would probably have dominated the industry for a decade.

Why didn't they use her more?
Though Pinchoo Kapoor is mostly remembered as the real Interpol Officer from Don (a role that was played by Om Puri, no less, in the remake, albeit with a change in script) and was often heard shouting "order! order!" or "objection me Lord" inside courtrooms, he had carved out a career on the other side of the law as well.

The two-faced Ghanshyamdas from Hera Pheri or the part of the team who set out to ruin Pran in Sharaabi are mere examples. He also adopted Rishi Kapoor in Karz. But he was mostly one of those rich fathers who used to get a kick of not allowing their sons to marry a poor girl or their daughters to marry a poor boy.

Dusky, bald, and perpetually ageing, Pinchoo Kapoor belongs to that elite group of actors whom nobody seems to know by name but always evokes the reaction "oh, I know him - he played X's father in the movie Y!" Also, he had never looked any different in a career spanning two decades. Ever.

The man who always looked the same
It is quite expected that one has not heard Pramod Moutho's name. In fact, I had to look up Raja Hindustani on IMDB to find out the name of the person who had played Archana Puran Singh's manipulative brother. He was then shortlisted for Loha as the Home Minister but did not make the cut for Gunda.

Then that "where have I seen him?" feeling occurred and it took me some time to recall that he had also played the villain in Khal Nayak and Paresh Rawal's brother in Dilwale. All that, in itself, makes for an awesome CV. With big budget movies like 1942: A Love Story, Dushmani, Aks, and Indian under his belt he seemed to have set for a decent career.

Unfortunately, like many others, Moutho's career tapered out with the concept of the villain disappearing from Bollywood. He tried a comeback with Sadda Haq earlier this year, but it didn't work out. Moutho fans can still be optimistic: the man, after all, is only 58.

Jack of all trades
Even before he played Duryodhan in BR Chopra's Mahabharat Puneet Issar had created history for being responsible for the largest crowd ever assembled in the history of Bollywood by accidentally causing a near-fatal injury to Amitabh Bachchan during the shooting of Coolie.

IMDB reveals that Coolie was Puneet's debut; as if that was not good enough, his second movie (as per IMDB) turned out to be the cult classic Purana Mandir. And when they made a movie called Superman in 1987 where a baby really came from Krypton to save the Earth, who better could they find to play Superman?

He had played the usual muscular villain in Sanam Bewafa, Suryavanshi, Kshatriya, Ashanti, a trend that finally reached its peak when he pulled off the role of the gormless Inspector from Ram Jaane. But he made it to the other side of the law as well.

These performances include a strange Sikh man of religion from Refugee; the brave militant in Border; Rani Mukherji's father from Bunty Aur Babli; the Professor-in-charge of a college excursion team in Krrish (where he was named Komal); and once again, the Inspector in Son of Sardaar.

Life came a full cycle for Issar when he played Parashuram in Siddharth Tewary's Mahabharat, thus making him the only one (till date) who has acted in both versions.

Duryodhan, Parashuram, Superman, Amitabh-basher...
If you're not intrigued by Rajesh Vivek you do not have any business watching Bollywood movies. Especially after witnessing Jogi Thakur in full action in Joshilay. Seriously. Few people have arrived (yes, I know he has acted before) on the stage so big barring Amjad Khan in Sholay, Kulbhushan Kharbanda in Shaan, or Mukesh Tiwary in China Gate (I won't mention Ajay Agarwal here).

Anything after Jogi Thakur had to be an anticlimax, but he pulled off a sensational performance as Raghav (Amrish Puri's brother, would you believe it?) in Tridev. The court-scene where he saved Dalip Tahil and framed himself by playing a mute is, in the opinion of many, one of the best five-minute parts of Tridev (which is saying something, as no part of Tridev is worth a miss).

People also remember Rajesh Vivek as Vyas from Mahabharat; however, it was certainly not among his best performances, and neither was the dacoit from Vishwatma. A lot more likable was the Thakur of Loha, but he fell short of Kanti Shah's standards when The Master selected his cast for Gunda.

Then came Lagaan; Guran and his eccentricities changed everything, and Vivek's career took an upward turn; the postman from Swades only did good to his career; he impressed Ashutosh Gowariker to such an extent that Vivek was an obvious selection for Jodhaa Akbar and What's Your Raashee? as well.

2013 brought the break his career deserved for so long. He eventually made it to Hollywood with Joseph Mungra's The American Gandhi. Things can only get better from here.

If only we knew how to use him!
If the acting bit is taken out of consideration Rana Jung Bahadur would probably be my most favourite actor on this list. Be it the Dahshat Khan with the self-explanatory name (Sanam Bewafa), the ridiculous Pitambar Nath (Dulhe Raja), the man whom Shah Rukh slams into a television set (Duplicate), or the piles-affected Pandey who keeps on saying "mera background bahaut dardnaak hai" (Champion, possibly) - and most significantly, that suave inspector in Deewangee - Rana Jung Bahadur never fails to amaze me on screen with his on-screen antics.

Given his name I have always wondered whether he hails from a royal family from Nepal. That, of course, is not the topic of discussion. Royalty would not have added to the image he has acquired from playing the legendary Inspector Kale in Gunda.

This look completely rules over my senses
For a long period of time I used to think that Razak Khan was not capable of keeping his neck straight at all: perhaps there was a muscle or a bone wrong in his constitution. Despite being an ardent fan of Bollywood in 1990s - its worst decade - I had somehow almost managed to miss Razak Khan throughout the decade.

This is something to be ashamed of, because he had played Munna Mobile in Loha and Lucky Chikna in Gunda; even if he had done nothing else in his entire lifetime this would have made him one of the greatest icons in the history of mankind.

Khan flourished with Govinda beginning to take up roles outside the David Dhawan banner. He was almost an inevitability, acting in Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Anari No. 1., Rajaji, Haseena Maan Jaayegi, Beti No. 1, Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai, Kyo Kii... Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta ('welding anniversary', anyone?), and most famously, as Faiyaz Takkar in Akhiyon Se Goli Maare.

The fastest neck-mover
Roopesh Kumar is the cousin of Mumtaz, who is, in return, Fardeen Khan's mother-in-law. That probably makes Roopesh Kumar the uncle-in-law of Fardeen. The cousins had acted together in superhits like Nagin and Maa Aur Mamta.

A poor man's Manmohan, Roopesh Kumar's career faded out in the 1990s, though not before played ruffians, pickpockets, blackmailers, thieves, and even bade-ghar-ki-bigdi-hui-aulaads in multiple movies. He also tried to make an impact as a director with Hai Meri Jaan and Meri Aan (he also acted in the latter) in the early 1990s, but with both movies bombing he faded into oblivion.

The poor man's Manmohan
Pilaan ke mutabiq Shehzad Khan should have made it big in the industry, but his resemblance with his illustrious father meant that he could rise as much as he should have; he found himself mimicking his father throughout his career.

Bhalla has to be his most memorable role, but Shehzad, who had made his debut with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, also went on to play a crucial role in Barsaat as well as major roles in several 'lesser' movies, almost all of which bombed.

Not everything goes pilaan ke mutabiq
Shiva Rindani had started off with small negative roles in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Izzatdaar, and Dil Aashna Hai. With time his roles grew smaller in duration and stature as did the movies he acted in, though he got to play in David Dhawan's Eena Meena Deeka and Main Khiladi Tui Anari. He was also played Vito in Aatank Hi Aatank (yet another Bollywood remake of The Godfather) and International Khiladi. Thank you, Kaushik Saha, for reminding me of Vito.

However, the role that has etched his name permanently in the annals of the industry is that of Captain Attack (he himself pronounced it as 'Zatack' multiple times in the movie); with his left-eyed goggles he was as noticeable as the other three antagonists in the movie - Danny Denzongpa, Anupam Kher, and Annu Kapoor.

Captain Attack!
Anyone who has acted in Clerk (as Ashok Kumar's daughter and Manoj Kumar's sister, no less) gets automatically elevated to the next level, and Sonika Gill is not an exception. After acting in multiple B- and C-grade movies (Tirangaa being probably the only high-budget movie of the lot) and taking a hiatus she has eventually made a comeback with more B- and C-grade movies.

Bollywood, however, remembers her for playing Raza Murad's moll Vivienne (though they, for some reason, kept on calling her Divya from time to time) in Ram Lakhan; she fell in love with Anil Kapoor, betrayed the illustrious gang of villains, and eventually ended up sacrificing her life the way villains' molls have always sacrificed their lives to protect the law.

Clerk and Ram Lakhan. Period.
Whatever I say of Sudhir will be inadequate. Seldom has the industry seen an actor so versatile, and yet so underrated. It is impossible to choose one from Sudhir's many masterpieces: it's a wonder how an actor so talented has remained this under-utilised in an industry.

Even if we ignore his initial works in Haqeeqat or Shaheed we cannot rule out Sajjan Singh of Prince. In fact, it's Prince that had actually brought Sudhir into limelight for the first time. He was there in Mahal, Prem Pujari, Gambler, Joshila, Heera Panna, and Majboor, but he really came to the forefront with Khhotte Sikkay.

The irresistible playboy Bhagu of Khhotte Sikkay (loosely based on The Seven Samurai, just like Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Sholay, and China Gate) had stolen the show despite the presence of a more or less ensemble cast. Other than being a crucial cog in the plan of Feroz Khan and Satyendra Kappu, Sudhir won the audience over with his "maa ka diya hua mangalsutra" to win girls over.

Among the big guns in the grandeur of Dharmatma was the charismatic pair of Natwar (Sudhir) and Rishi (Ranjeet). They played brothers in the movie, wore identical clothes (!) and terrorised the entire city with crimes of all sorts they kept on committing together.

The name Ranjeet continued to follow Sudhir. He played a character called Ranjeet in Shaan, where he was the henchman Shaakaal threw to the crocodiles in one of the most iconic scenes in the history of Bollywood. Then came Satte Pe Satta, where he played the angry Som Anand, the second brother of the septet.

He kept on playing crucial roles and merged seamlessly into the 1990s. He played Shakti Kapoor's henchman in Aankhen, the Inspector in Raja, and Asrani's senior (!) in the Department of Police in Dulhe Raja before coming home to Rocky in Baadshah. Thereafter his career faded out slowly, but he still remains one of the better Bollywood actors.

The stylish, suave lady-killer: just look at the moustache
A colleague of Sudhir's in Shaan, Sudhir Pandey is the one who survives the initial crocodile round (though his luck runs out in the end). He played a cameo in Saagar before being a household name with the launch of Buniyaad on Doordarshan.

Thereafter he faded into small-scale movies like Paandav, Veergati, and Haasil. During this time his girth and face changed drastically, and the young, handsome man from Shaan was barely recognisable. In between all this he played two semi-iconic roles as Majle Anna in Dayavaan and the Chief Minister in Main Azaad Hoon.

Then came Maatrubhoomi. You would cringe, you would hate, you would loathe, you would want to kill Ramsharan, the father of five men in the movie. If Shaan  had launched him, Matrubhoomi showed how mean Pandey could turn out to be if he wanted to.

Thereafter he played small roles in Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon!Guru, Anwar, and Tees Maar Khan, but everything has seemed to be an anticlimax after Matrubhoomi before taking a U-turn in Bombay Talkies.

Do watch Matrubhoomi. Please.
Despite not making as big as the other star villain-sons like Amjad Khan and Kiran Kumar, Tej Sapru had created a niche of his own in the industry. Of all actors on this list he is probably the most talented, but could not make it big.

It may sound blasphemous, but of all the villains in Tridev (which is a humongous list by all definitions) Tej Sapru had perhaps pulled off the best performance. This is saying something, given the dominating presence of Amrish Puri in the movie. Just look at how protective he is about Sonam in the movie when he realises that there is serious competition.

With his blue eyes and majestic looks Tej Sapru had often played foreigners and the royalty. The best examples of this are probably Sultanat and Ajooba. Other than that he had been played cameos of various lengths in Yudh, Loha (the other one), Zakhmi Aurat, Tezaab, Nakaa Bandi, and Thanedaar.

Amidst all this Tej Sapru played the police inspector in Raat; he also acted as one of Jyothika's three possessive elder brothers in Doli Saja Ke Rakhna. It was a performance as good as any, since he had to compete with Paresh Rawal and Mohnish Bahl - but he never seemed to come third.

But that was expected. They seldom made them better than Tej Sapru. It was a pity that he vanished from the scenario as the villain dried out in Bollywood. Sigh.

Yet another wasted talent
Not many people are aware of three facts about Thomas Beach Alter. First, he is a cricket enthusiast (he had conducted the earliest known recorded interview of Sachin Tendulkar); secondly, Alter often pops up in Ruskin Bond's book for his proximity to the great man; and thirdly, he was awarded a Padma Shri in 2008.

Alter's career started with bits-and-parts roles, mostly at the wrong side of the law as a foreigner or an Anglo-Indian. He was almost always called Tom. He got to act in Shatranj ke Khilari, playing the assistant to General Outram (Richard Attenborough), and Gandhi, where he played a doctor.

He played a British inspector in Kranti, where he took horrifying, melodramatic expressions to standards seldom seen before towards the end of 'zindagi ki na toote ladi', bashing up Madan Puri, and trying to drag Hema Malini away from Manoj Kumar. Then came Khoon Bhari Maang, where he was the doctor who carried out the plastic surgery that played a role so pivotal in the movie.

Few people would remember Dunhill from Tridev, but Musa of Parinda is not as easy to forget, and neither is the cut-throat inspector from Gumrah. The greatest performance (arguably) came in Aashiqui, where he played Warden (?) Arnie Campbell. You can look at his impeccably hostile body language in 'main duniya bhula dunga' (do watch from 3.50 to 4.00 carefully, where he is considered synonymous to the word zamana).

Do have a look at this Tata Sky Commercial as well. How many people do you know have played a profession that is almost synonymous to his profession?

The face of British Raj in Bollywood
It is difficult for movie-lovers to tell whether Kaalia was a more iconic role than Raabert; what they would all agree on is, however, the fact that Viju Khote is the only one to play major roles in both Sholay and Andaz Apna Apna.

Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? later paid a homage to Kaalia in Sholay, but there was obviously more to Viju Khote than that. From Agent Vinod to Qurbani, from Naseeb to Lawaaris, from Shaan to Sanam Teri Kasam, from Namak Halaal to Afsana Pyar Ka, he has always been there with the face one would recognise in every corner in the world. That includes even Shambhu Chacha in Golmaal 3 ("tumne Shambhu Chacha se shaadi kar lee?").

But the question still remains: "kitne aadmi the?" or "ghalti se mistake ho gaya"?

Kaalia, and then Raabert
The almost unnoticeable commando from Prahaar seemed to have lost track somewhere down the lane till almost identical roles in Fareb and Dastak came his way. Vishwajeet Pradhan was also spotted as man who was keen on winning the reward for handing Bobby Deol over to the law (and got shot by Om Puri) in Gupt.

Everyone remembers the corrupt inspector who had asked to shoot Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, and gang in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and was turned down ("main apni tirange pe goli nahin chala sakta") and Preity Zinta's compassionate boss in Sangharsh.

Anyone who has seen Bardaasht can never forget the evil inspector (a part of the trio who had killed and framed Riteish Deshmukh). It probably remains his best performance as well. After playing Puru in both Rakhta Charitra and Rakhta Charitra 2 Pradhan's career seems to be on the wane, though we really hope he makes a comeback.

On either side of the law
I had missed out on Kamal Kapoor, the blue-eyed boy of Bollywood; a huge thanks to Diptakirti for reminding me. We generally tend to remember Kapoor as a Judge or a Police Commissioner, but there is more to him than that.

For example, he had played Shashi Kapoor's father in Namak Halaal, Reena Roy's father in Sanam Teri Kasam, and had brought up Vinod Khanna in Amar Akbar Anthony.

However, Kapoor was also the man who had kidnapped Satyen Kappu's family and forced him to sign the documents in his favour in Deewaar - an act that led to the 'mera baap chor hai' tattoo; of course, he was Narang in Don.

The blue-eyed Bollywood boy
Yet another Diptakirti candidate: Adi Irani had used his real name Ajitesh when he played the boxer in Dil or the stepson in Beta, but changed his name subsequently. Then came Vicky Malhotra in Baazigar where Shah Rukh Khan (no less) impersonated him.

He also played Sudha Chandran's masochist husband in Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain and the man who eventually identified Preity Zinta in Chori Chori Chupke Chupke. Amidst a series of flops there emerged the lawyer of Welcome, a role Irani is set out to replicate in Welcome Back.

The real Vicky Malhotra

PS: Please feel free to point out any factual error or notable omission. They will be rectified or added.


  1. A question which I have wondered for some time. I vaguely remember Tom Alter played a detective in a TV serial in doordarshan. I have forgotten the name of the serial. He was one of a pair of detectives, the other one was the heroine whose name I have also forgotten. He used to call his partner 'memsaab'. I still can remember the lady's face but nothing else remains. Any clue ?

    1. I do not remember the lady, unfortunately. Maybe someone reading this article will.

    2. Do you remember seeing this serial, or is it just in my imagination ?

    3. I really do not remember seeing this serial, but that does not necessarily mean that it is your imagination.

    4. The detective serial was Karan, the detective and the actor was not Tom Alter as you said, but was Kiran Kumar. Lot of people get confused.

  2. highly appreciable. this is a research oriented write-up. a thorough & complete study. thanks

  3. I think Kulbhushan Kharbanda played Shaakaal, not MB Shetty;
    I had only seen the Boy Mukherjee-Pratibha Sinha version of Bin Tere Sanam, not this one, thanks

    1. We're discussing Shaakaal from Don here; not Shaakaal from Shaan.

  4. Phew! That is a lot of research. A very interesting read indeed.

  5. Very well written Sir, take a bow. Your hard work has definitely paid off... this is almost as good as it gets.

    May I ask you to write another one about horrible names in Bollywood? I came across this idea while watching Tiranga the other day, and I was wondering which parents would name their newborn baby as "Pralaynath Gundaswami". We have indeed seen Zalim Singh and many other similar examples. And yes, its Gundaswami and not Gendaswamy... Rajkumar though mockingly calls him Gendaswamy a few times in the movie.

  6. Loved it. A mini Wikipedia of the minor stars in the villain galaxy if I may say so.

  7. Can you find out something about the fat guy who acted in Hera Pheri (aisa koi raapchik maal humko bhi do na) and Satya (Chandru Bhai) and Style (wo ACP ko laafa). He would be a notable omission in this century. Also another fat guy who was in Hero (Jackie's biker friend) and Phool aur Kaante (Ajay's friend). And sorry for the nitpicking, but in the first paragraph you mentioned Birbal and Bihari, one of which, I suppose is a typing error.

    1. Thank you. Do keep writing back. The fat guy from Hera Pheri is Snehal Dabi. He has seldom played negative roles.

    2. My fav Snehal Dabi role is Aaj Kapoor in Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega.
      Maybe, a post on hero's friends is in order.

    3. I would also vouch for the role in Mast. But, isn't this your genre?

  8. OK, four more names before dinner. Shrivallabh Vyas, Yashpal Sharma (not the cricketer), Nagesh Bhosle, Bharat Kapoor. See if they fit the bill.

    1. Yashpal and Vyas are too significant to make it to the list. Nagesh Bhosle has acted in too few movies. His time may come.

      Bharat Kapoor was an option; however, I could remember a single iconic performance of his.

    2. Thank you Abhishek Mukherjee sir, I remeber Bharat Kapoor's face in many Hindi films playing villain, but had forgotten his name. You mentioned here and lots of regards for the same. Thank you.

  9. What an amazing compendium you have compiled! Well done!

  10. Awesomely and painstakingly put together! Of course, one cannot deny cringing at the though of Pancham numbers picturized on some of these faces, but that is par for the course, I suppose :)

    A bit of trivia for you -- Mahesh Anand debuted in a movie called Karishma (1984) which also has music by Pancham, which when coupled with Indrajeet makes Mahesh Anand's entire song career Pancham-centric (and gives me heartburn. But I digress.) -- the awesomely incredible Pancham-sung song that is picturized on Mahesh Anand.

    In any case, MA plays a good guy in that, and if I remember correctly gets a separate 'introducing Mahesh Anand' billing in the credits. Karishma is incidentally a remake of a Tamil murder-mystery-thriller movie called Tik Tik Tik, and stars Kamal Hassan and Reena Roy, fresh from their successful pairing from Sanam Teri Kasam. Karishma has Tina Munim and Swaroop Sampat as the other two female leads. (Yes, Kamal has three heroines!)

    Lovely writeup, once again :)

    1. Thank you - both for the compliments and for the Mahesh Anand information. Keep coming back!

  11. Blogpost of the week for me..really enjoyed reading, guess we(both viewers & bollywood) have changed our attitude towards supporting actors now. Rather than vanishing into obscurity, they are getting their dues now..
    Though this can never be an exhaustive list but guess you have missed a few names..

    1. Oh, thank you. But please keep on suggesting me names. I will add them with due credit. :)

  12. Very interesting article, esp when it concerns artists who never really got their dues and remained kinda nameless, some of 'em we saw umpteen times but yet they never had a 'ID', recall Nazir Kashmiri from Memsaab's blog for example ? Keep 'em coming bro... and pls if yu can help to identify this lady, I know her name but just cant get it outta my head, the SS are from KHARA KHOTA, thx a lot for yr help.

    1. Thank you for the nice words. Of course I remember Nazir Kashmiri! But I am really sorry, I cannot identify the lady from Khara Khota. I will try, though.

  13. I just found this blog while searching for something about Late Gavin Packard; and an accidental encounter worth remembering..excellent write up... Can we have same thing for our bengali movie..!!

  14. thks for giving nice information

  15. great blog, thanks fr sharing the info.

  16. It was interesting to read, the piece is well researched. Hats off !!

  17. A very nice and informative blog. I request you to keep updating it. There is also a book published by Sage Publications and is named as Bollywood Baddies, the book is about villains of Indian film industry while there is a whole chapter dedicated to these "type" of guys you have mentioned above. This is all i know about the book, from various internet sources.
    Another suggestion: there had been many names being ignored who acted in movies, like Keshtoo Mukherjee, Paintal and others, why not an article on them??

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I will definitely write something on the forgotten actors of Bollywood. It is a promise.

    2. Dear, I was watching a movie on tv, its name was "PYARA DUSHMAN". There was a fight scene in the mid of the film where Amjad Khan fought with another group of "goons". Unfortunately, the movie is not available online nor is the list of complete cast available anywhere. That scene has some forgotten side kicks of villains. Please help me and others on that. Regards

    3. Dear, have you made any other pages like this one? what do you mean by Hall of Fame as mentioned in the beginning of this article? Please respond, regards from Invictus

  18. and brother what about this person
    He played as Abdul in Shapath movie

  19. What about Virendra Saxena & Mustaq Khan ?