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Monday, September 20, 2021

Sanjay Dutt turns 62: From Kancha Cheena to Adheera, when the Khalnayak went bad

On Sanjay Dutt's birthday today, we revisit every time he's turned a villain in his films, including the menacing Kancha Cheena in Agneepath to the much-anticipated Adheera in KGF: Chapter 2.

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi |
Updated: July 30, 2021 8:57:37 am
Sanjay Dutt'sSanjay Dutt's towering physique comes handy when he plays the main antagonist onscreen.

In the race of Badshahs and Shehenshahs, Sanjay Dutt has comfortably been the Khalnayak. But that doesn’t mean he plays the quintessential villain in Bollywood every now and then. When he first received the tag in the hit Subhash Ghai film from 1993, he ended up more as an anti-hero, a good-hearted bad boy Ballu, and received several nominations for Best Actor. Then can we agree with the title?

Sanjay Dutt has in his five decades long film career, donned roles with grey shades multiple times. From Kaante’s Ajju to Vaastav’s Raghu Bhai and Prassthanam’s Baldev Pratap Singh, Dutt was the hero and antagonist, both in the same story. And all this, while also giving fans, another side to his craft, almost like an alter-ego – Munna Bhai.

To bracket Dutt as the Khalnayak would’ve been impossible if he hadn’t turned the ruthless drug-lord Kancha Cheena in Agneepath (2012), sending chills down the spines with his wicked smile and brooding eyes. This was the first time Dutt got to play an out-an-out villainous role, who was much powerful than the hero Hrithik Roshan.

sanjay dutt kancha cheena agneepath Sanjay Dutt’s Kancha Cheena was designed to be more powerful than the main lead, Hrithik Roshan in Agneepath.

Dutt got into the shoes of Danny Denzongpa from the 1990 original. But he was far more menacing with a bald head, shaved eyebrows and pierced ears. Dutt in fact ditched the prosthetics and went bald to get in the skin of his character.

Kancha Cheena was a psychopath, who took the nation by storm in no time. He portrayed everything evil in the world and his dark costume, heavily tattooed body and larger than life persona only added to the fear. Agneepath gave Bollywood its long-awaited villain who is darker than night.

In a previous interview, Sanjay Dutt said, “There is a big difference between my roles in Khalnayak and Agneepath. In Khalnayak, I was more of an anti-hero who became bad because of certain circumstances whereas Kancha is a completely dark character. It’s been a challenge playing this role.”

Stating that director Karan Malhotra wanted the action in Agneepath to be raw and gritty, Dutt added, “He wanted Kancha Cheena to be larger than life and stronger than the hero so that eventually when the hero overpowers him, the heroism comes out at its best.”

sanjay dutt panipat film Sanjay Dutt in a still from Panipat where he played Ahmad Shah Abdali.

Sanjay Dutt did repeat the same havoc to an extent in Panipat (2019) where he played Ahmad Shah Abdali. From sporting Royal Afghani look to his poise with a majestic aura, the makers tried to bring out the best of Dutt in this strong character. But many also got reminded of Ranveer Singh’s Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat (2018) who’s set a benchmark for playing cruel rulers in historical dramas in Bollywood.

As fans demand more of Dutt’s villainous act, the actor is already setting expectations soaring in the KGF: Chapter 2, where he plays the much-awaited Adheera. The character was spoken about several times in the first film, and audience was only wondering who would fit in the highly anticipated mould, when the announcement came that Dutt has been cast.

The new poster of Adheera, shared on Sanjay’s birthday on Thursday, reveals the full getup of Adheera, a modern villain with the fashion sense of an ancient warrior. The sunglasses, however, looks a little odd in the ensemble that is designed to give an impression of an 11th-century warrior. According to the makers, Adheera is styled like a warrior character holding a sword from the series Vikings. And Dutt’s towering physique is only adding to his mystery.

sanjay dutt kgf 2 adheera look poster Sanjay Dutt plays the main antagonist in KGF: Chapter 2, starring Yash.

Hoping to be more fearsome than Kancha Cheena. the actor said in a statement, “The character of Adheera in KGF is very powerful. If you have seen Avengers, you know how powerful Thanos is. Adheera is as powerful as him. In KGF’s first chapter, Adheera comes only in the end, but in the second chapter, he has a very strong presence and getup. This is the character I was looking for, and it has come to me.”

In the story of KGF so far, Garuda was the obstacle in Adheera’s quest to conquer the gold mines. This, because Adheera had promised his elder brother that he won’t lay claim on the mines as long as his nephew Garuda was alive. But at the end of the film, Rocky paved way for Adheera’s conquest by killing Garuda.

Fans cannot wait to know more about how Sanjay Dutt will infuse life after becoming the face of the long-awaited character who can go to any length to retain power.

Knowing the kind of mayhem Dutt creates onscreen, everytime he plays the main villain, we aren’t wrong if we say our expectations are soaring very high with KGF: Chapter 2.

Happy birthday, Sanjay Dutt!

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