Happy birthday, Sanjay Dutt! Revisiting actor's most memorable antagonist roles
Sanjay Dutt has carved a niche for himself in the Indian film industry due to his versatile script choices, screen presence, and ability to breathe life into demanding roles. In his four-decade-long career, Dutt has consistently stayed relevant and reinvented himself again and again by playing varying parts. As he turns 63, we revisit five films where he played the anti-hero to absolute perfection.
Let's start with the most recent one. In Karan Malhotra's period-drama Shamshera, Dutt played Daroga Shuddh Singh, a menacing, sadistic villain who considered powerless people no better than vermin. Even though the film could not work wonders at the box office, Dutt's portrayal of a remorseful villain won all hearts, especially since he shot for the challenging part while battling cancer.
A film that added more glitter to Hrithik Roshan and Dutt's oeuvres, Agneepath was an emotionally potent ride and a remake of its 1990 namesake classic. Right from his bald head and deadpan eyes to his chilling dialogue delivery and signature ear accessory, Dutt's Kaancha Cheena is the stuff menacing villains are made of. Dutt's landmark performance solidified him as Bollywood's go-to villain!
'KGF: Chapter 2'
Yash's magnum opus KGF (2018) was followed by its sequel in 2022. A film that broke several records nationally and internationally, KGF: Chapter 2 will also be remembered for Dutt's portrayal of Adheera, a Vikings-like ruthless villain. Talking about his role, Dutt had once said, "Adheera is a bigger character [than Kaancha Cheena] in his own right, one of my craziest characters ever."
Though Panipat tanked at the box office, it gave Dutt yet another memorable role in the form of Ahmed Shah Abdali. He easily overshadowed the cast ensemble comprising Kriti Sanon, Arjun Kapoor, and Mohnish Bahl, and was one of the few standouts of an otherwise average offering. Dutt had said that "it was a wonderful experience to play such a strong and fierce character."
'Vaastav: The Reality'
A career-altering role for Dutt, Vaastav: The Reality has a distinctive place in his filmography. In this Mahesh Manjrekar directorial, Dutt played Raghu, a circumstantial victim who goes from being a commoner to the city's most gruesome don. His "50 tola" dialogue hasn't been marred by the ravages of time and the film also won Dutt a Filmfare Award in the Best Actor category.