It's all in the eyes.
You can see them - the powerful emotions of anger, fear, hatred, annoyance, and a bit of scheming - forcing their way through Shah Rukh Khan's eyes as he plays a negative role.
Early in his career he was recognised for his unconventional choice in portraying negative roles. These characters were always thinking outside-the-box but living within society. He was the boy-next-door who was hiding something sinister, deadly, frightening. And that is what made him the ultimate villain.
Here are five movies in which the Baadshah of Bollywood plays the Bad Guy.
1. Darr: A Violent Love Story (1993)
About the title: Darr (Hindi) translates as "fear" (English).
Description: Kiran Ahwasti (Juhi Chawla) studies at a college in Shimla, where she is one day serenaded by someone unseen. She believes it to be her boyfriend Sunil (Sunny Deol). However, when they reunite Sunil tells her that he never came to Shimla. Sunil works in the Indian Navy, his boss is Captain Mehra (Dalip Tahil). It is soon revealed that Mehra's son Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) is obsessed with Kiran. Rahul is a lonely young man, with very few friends and is often in a world of his own, to the extent that he talks to his mother (who died eighteen years ago) about his love for Kiran. The film focuses on Rahul's pursuit of Kiran and what he is willing to do to get her for himself.
Why I like this film: The contrast between Rahul and Sunil is dramatic. Sunil is strong and trustworthy. Rahul is peculiar and unpredictable. Sunil is confident while Rahul is anxious. Since they both share an orbit around Kiran, it is only a matter of time before they collide. When they do, the impact is unforgettable.
IIFA Recognition: Nominated for Best Performance in a Negative Role (1994)
2. Baazigar (1993)
About the title: Baazigar (Hindi) translates as "gambler" (English).
Description: Widowed Madan Chopra (Dalip Tahil) lives a very wealthy lifestyle with two daughters, Seema (Shilpa Shetty) and Priya (Kajol). Seema attends university with Ajay Sharma (Shah Rukh Khan) and they fall in love. Back at home, Madan befriends Vicky Malhotra (also Shah Rukh Khan), introduces him to Priya and invites him to work for him in Bombay. Vicky and Priya are attracted to each other and Madan announces their marriage. Before that happens, Seema commits suicide. While Madan wants to close this case due to embarrassment, Seema meets with her college friend, Police Inspector Karan (Siddharth Ray), and they uncover a plot that begins and ends in tragedy.
Why I like this film: Once you know the back story, you see that Baazigar's Ajay/Vicky was created through betrayal and devastation. Along the way Ajay/Vicky may experience regret over some of his actions, but he is on a mission and won't stop until he achieves his goal. The phrases, "revenge is a dish best served cold" and "when you least expect it, expect it" come to mind when watching this film.
IIFA Recognition: Won Award for Best Actor (1994)
3. Anjaam (1994)
About the title: Anjaam (Hindi) translates as "consequence" or "end result" (English).
Description: Vijay Agnihotri (Shah Rukh Khan) comes from a wealthy family and is very spoiled as well as psychopathic. He meets Shivani (Madhuri Dixit) in an airplane who is a flight attendant with whom he instantly falls for but she shows no interest in him – this does not stop Vijay and he continues to pursue her, only to be rejected every time. Vijay informs his mother that he intends to marry Shivani. When they approach Shivani’s family with a proposal, they witness Shivani marry another man. Vijay is heartbroken but spends the rest of his life trying to get Shivani to say she loves him, even while destroying the people and world around her. Eventually she shows him some loving-kindness, but only with the goal of exacting revenge.
Why I like this film: This was a difficult movie to watch, particularly the second half which mostly follows the struggles of Shivani. Vijay is unrelenting and is used to getting whatever he wants. While Shivani emerges as a vengeful phoenix out of the ashes of her world laid waste, Vijay is consistently both frightening and pitiful throughout the film. He is an unredeemable villain who fails to accept the idea that you can't always get what you want.
IIFA Recognition: Won Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role (1995)
4. Duplicate (1998)
Description: Kind-hearted Bablu Chaudhary (Shah Rukh Khan) is an aspiring chef. He gets a job as the lead chef at a hotel and meets the charming Sonia Kapoor (Juhi Chawla), the hotel manager. They bond and Bablu falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Bablu's lookalike Manu (Shah Rukh Khan in a double role), is a ruthless criminal who has escaped from jail to kill his partners who have betrayed him. There is a lot of confusion about who is who by all associated with the two men, including Sonia, Bablu's mother Bebe (Farida Jalal), and Manu's girlfriend, Lily (Sonali Bendre).
Why I love this film: The contrast between Bablu and Manu is what draws you in. Manu is not someone you want to mess with while Bablu is someone you want to protect.When they step into each other's world, you wonder how long it will be before they are discovered. The film is a comedy, giving the actors the flexibility to exaggerate some of the personality traits of the characters. This pays off, particularly with the item numbers shared with Lily and Sonia. The interactions between the characters in the item number "Ladna Jhagadna" is sure to tickle your funny bone. And you definitely don't want to miss the scene where Manu dresses in drag (and looks good!).
IIFA Recognition: Nominated for Best Performance in a Negative Role (1999)
5. Don: The Chase Begins Again (2006)
About the film: This is a remake of Don (1978), starring Amitabh Bachchan, and in many respects follows the same storyline. It even includes updated versions of several of the songs. However, this Don has quite a few aces up his sleeve.
Description: Don (Shah Rukh Khan) is the leader of an underworld group. Roma (Priyanka Chopra) joins Don's group to avenge the death of her brother Ramesh who Don killed. Don is tracked by Police Officer A.C.P. D'Silva (Boman Irani) and is critically injured and secretly taken to a private hospital. D'Silva calls a man who is Don's look-alike, Vijay (again Shah Rukh Khan) with the idea that he would take Don's place temporarily and become a mole for the police. Before that can happen, Don dies in hospital from a heart attack. Vijay becomes Don.
Why I love this film: All the villains in the other films have a back story that you can sympathize with. This is the bad guy you LOVE because he just enjoys being bad. We don't know his back story and it isn't important to know it. What we do know is that Don is clever, creative and charismatic. And if Roma can't resist him, how can the rest of us?
IIFA Recognition: Nominated for Best Actor for both Don: The Chase Begins Again and the sequel, Don 2: The Chase Continues. While there has been a desire for a Don 3, as of August 2013 there was no story or timeline for such a film.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also want to check out other Friday Five or Shah Rukh Khan posts.