Badman Decoded

Gulshan Grover talks about establishing himself as a brand and why he is happy playing the villain

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Pune | Published:August 7, 2013 3:43 am

Dobara agar koi chaal chalne ki koshish ki toh main nahi bolunga,meri AK-47 bolegi…” says the white-haired villain Tyson,in the ’90s cult film Mohra. Dressed top to toe in a pigeon-white outfit and sporting dark sunglasses,the Mumbai “mafia boss” was portrayed by self-titled “bad man” of Bollywood,Gulshan Grover. The catch-phrase “You dirty mind…”,delivered by Grover in a menacing leer,had the audience shuddering in terror.

In the city to judge a beauty contest,Grover took a journey back in time and talked about his various characters in Bollywood films.

Born and brought up in Delhi,Grover holds a Master’s degree from Shri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi. “I have always been interested in acting. After college,I worked for a bit with the Delhi-based Little Theatre Group. After that,I moved to Mumbai and enrolled myself at Actor’s Studio,” says Grover. He eventually went on to teach acting at the same school where actors Sanjay Dutt,Govinda and Kumar Gaurav were some of his students.

Why did he decide to accept negative roles at all? Grover is upfront that it was a calculated decision. “All I wanted to do in my life was act. I then took a good look at myself. I’m an average-looking guy,not the typical hero-material. So I decided that I would be the next most important character in the 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 more than 400 films over 25 years.

He says 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 more than the actor himself,” he says.

So followed a slew of films where 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,King Don in Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi and Kabira in Hera Pheri,Grover mouthed lines such as,“Maaya,teri toh main palat dunga kaaya…”

Ask him about the trend of typical bad guys being replaced by more life-inspired characters with grey shades,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 mythology,” he says.

Grover,who will next be seen in director Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Bullet Raja,says this one is for his fans who have been missing his “super evil badman” roles. Also lined up for this year are his films Sooper se Oopar,in which he portrays a barefooted,white-haired,controversial painter,and Baat Ban Gayi,in which he plays a double role — that of a professor and a gay choreographer.

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