Some actors are born heroes. A chiselled jawline, a pleasant face and a penchant for respectable roles can paint some actors into a heroic corner that makes everything they do seem admirable.
These are the guys you want to be flying the plane when the engine falls off, the people who you ask to fight for you in court, the ones who might make an inspiring speech at your wedding.
Some actors might be naturals at playing heroes, but when they occasionally decide to try something different, they often prove they’re even better at being bad.
Commonly, the characters portrayed by them on-screen leave a strong impression on the audience which later on becomes memorable at a point of time. Hence, it is very difficult for the leading actors to break their image and experiment with existing image while playing a negative character.
Here is a list of six actors who played the antagonist brilliantly.
Delivering a splendid performance, Akshay Kumar ruled the big screen in the presence of Superstar Rajini in the movie 2.0. Kumar’s role as Pakshirajan, who had a rather tragic background, shines over our favourite robot, Chitti. Once you’ve watched the movie and if you’ve enjoyed the performance of Pakshirajan more than Chitti then you won’t be alone. A bird lover, Pakshirajan is on a revenge-seeking spree for the death of birds and it’s easy to find more right with this villain than all that’s evil.
Those who have watched Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat would agree that the character of Sultan Alauddin Khilji was tailor-made for superstar Ranveer Singh. This actor entered the industry as a “chocolate boy” with Band Baja Baraat. Who could have thought at that point that Ranveer would one day be seen portraying one of his finest performances as a villain. The character of Khilji was certainly not a cakewalk for this mainstream hero and it took him a lot to portray it on the screen with such finesse. With staying inside locked doors for a month to getting out of his comfort zone – he has done it all to get into the skin of Khilji’s character. Such intensity in the preparation of Bollywood films in the present era is highly commendable.
When Aamir Khan first burst on to the screen with his baby-face in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, no-one could have imagined that the actor, who’s always been associated with honest and upright roles, can play a villain as well. He also ditched the heroic role for Dhoom 3.
The ultimate all-American hero, Tom Cruise built a reputation as the quintessential action movie star. To his credit, he’s often looked for ways to mix up his image with more conflicted roles, and he even dabbled with villainy in 1994’s Interview With The Vampire, but playing a sexy, troubled vampire hardly counts as going against the grain. But in Michael Mann’s Collateral, Cruise showed a cold, cruel side as a hit man that no one was rooting for – a striking example of how good he can be when he’s not throwing himself off buildings.
Picking complex and interesting roles ever since, he’s still mostly remembered as a romantic hero. Proving that he can turn his baby-faced charm into something far nastier if he wants to, DiCaprio’s performance as Calvin Candie in Django Unchained, makes for Tarantino’s greatest villain. Far more chilling than Michael Madsen’s sadistic Mr Blonde, subtler than Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa and more frighteningly believable than David Carradine’s Bill – Candie is a calm, well-mannered monster who embodies the whole horrible history of the American South.
And before you mention The Wolf of Wall Street, he played an anti-hero in that. Not the same thing.
The most frightening villains are the ones who look the most harmless. After a lifetime of playing everyone’s favourite cartoon genie, cross-dressing nanny, board game escapee and absent-minded professor, Robin Williams swapped family comedies for family photographs as Seymour Parrish – a lonely technician who becomes unhealthily obsessed with a bunch of children. Greyed-out and glassy-eyed, his rubbery grin suddenly looked terrifying – and the man who once made a silverback gorilla cry vanished into one of cinema’s most frightening studies of obsession and loneliness.