Once a Villian

Actor Gulshan Grover talks about establishing himself as a brand and why he is happy being the super evil ‘bad man’

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published:August 7, 2013 3:50 am

Dobara agar koi chaal chalne ki koshish ki toh main nahi bolunga,meri AK-47 bolegi…” says Gulshan Grover as the villain Tyson,in the ’90s cult film Mohra. Born and raised in Delhi,Grover holds a master’s degree from Shri Ram College of Commerce. “After college,I worked with the Little Theatre Group. Then I moved to Mumbai and enrolled at Actor’s Studio,” says Grover. He eventually taught at the same school where Sanjay Dutt,Govinda and Kumar Gaurav were his students.

But why did he decide to accept negative roles at all? It was a calculated decision,he says. “All I wanted to do in my life was act. I took a good look at myself. I’m an average-looking guy,not hero material. So I decided that I’d be the next most important character in any film,the villain. That way,it won’t matter if I grew old or fat,I’d always get to act,” says the 57-year-old who has worked in over 400 films over 25 years.

In those years,Grover blew up innocent people,almost killed the hero,tried to rape the heroine or carried out covert operations to take over the world. With colourful names and characters such as Chhappan Tikli in Mahesh Bhatt’s Sir (1993),King Don in Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996) and Kabira in Hera Pheri (2000),Grover mouthed lines such as,“Maaya,teri toh main palat dunga kaaya…”.

He explains that it always helps to establish yourself as a “brand”. “When we think of a typical vamp,we think of Binduji. When we think of a ‘dancing star’ we think of Shammiji. It is the persona that sells,sometimes even more than the actor himself,” says Grover.

Ask him about the trend of bad guys being replaced by more life-inspired characters with grey shades,and Grover replies,“This trend of ‘grey’ characters has been picked up from the West. In India,we have always had the good guy and the bad guy,even in our mythologies,” he says.

Grover will next be seen in director Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Bullet Raja. Also lined up for this year are his films Sooper se Oopar,where he is a barefoot,white-haired,controversial painter and Baat Ban Gayi,where he portrays a double role of a professor and a gay choreographer.

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