Alcoholic, ruthless, violent, aggressive and uncouth – these adjectives aptly describe Shahid Kapoor’s character in Kabir Singh. But who would have thought that many would eventually end up liking such a twisted role? Currently, the nation is in awe of Shahid’s performance in Sandeep Vanga's Hindi remake of Arjun Reddy, hailing it as Shahid’s career-best film. Shasha went the dark way and played a bitter character, full of flaws and imperfections. And this isn't the first time we saw a mainstream Bollywood hero opt for an unruly role. In the past, several leading men have defied the quintessential hero and surprised us with grim performances.
Shah Rukh Khan
Well, it was an experiment started by King Khan of Bollywood. Shah Rukh Khan played the character of Rahul Mehra, an obsessive lover in Yash Chopra's directorial Darr. Several actors rejected the movie citing that the character was dark. However, SRK grabbed the opportunity, which made him a superstar overnight. In his career trajectory, Shah Rukh has played several such complex characters in Don, Zakhm, Fan and Raees.
Salman Khan played a complex character in Satish Kaushik's directorial Tere Naam, which release in 2003. He played Radhe Mohan, a jobless rowdy who went from being an obsessive lover to being admitted to a mental asylum. Salman received much acclaim for his portrayal of varied emotions and fans consider Tere Naam as one of his best performance till date.
Coming from the same league, Ajay Devgn has also experimented with dark characters. In Milan Lutharia's directorial, Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, Devgn essayed a don by the name of Sultan Mirza. Who would have thought that playing a character based on gangster Haji Mastan, would be loved so much?
Hrithik Roshan's character of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in the remake of Agneepath (2012), was not the quintessential Bollywood rom-com hero. He was rugged, broken, ruthless and manipulative. The complexities of his character were quite intriguing, and this experiment worked wonders for the film and the actor.
From the younger lot, Ranbir Kapoor was the first one to join the baddie bandwagon. His eerie role of Jordan in Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar was not something that masses would like. However, as the story proceeded and so did his journey, viewers ended up falling in love with Ranbir.
Varun Dhawan & Sidharth Malhotra
Varun Dhawan, who until a certain point was only playing romantic leads, gave a surprising performance with Badlapur. His character, Raghu, was a man seeking revenge and on several occasions in the movie, you didn’t know whether he is morally right or wrong. Also, his contemporary, Sidharth Malhotra delivered an ace act as he played a gangster in Ek Villain. Sidharth earned much acclaim for his work.
It is quite interesting to see filmmakers, writers and actors indulging in flawed and twisted characters. These films give a refreshing break from the run-of-the-mill content churned out by BollywoodLife.