A villain or an antagonist or simply the bad guy is an evil character in a story, especially, a work of fiction who tends to have a negative effect on other characters and constitutes an important evil agency in the plot. In recent times, the number of actors from down south, embracing the dark side, is growing rapidly. Be it NTR Jr or Arvind Swamy, most of the lead actors have started playing characters with grey shades and quite often that is turning out to be the film’s USP.
SJ Suryah is in the limelight these days, thanks to his performance as a menacing villain in AR Murugadoss’ Spyder. The actor took us by surprise with the dark undertones and the lack of empathy in his characterization in every single frame of the bilingual film.
Partly inspired from the Ramayana, NTR Jr’s recent film Jai Lava Kusa turned out to be a huge money spinner at the box-office. The pivotal character Jai played by NTR Jr, stammers a bit and grows up idolising Ravana, and is equally ruthless with his opponents.
Another actor in recent times who has gained immense popularity by playing negative roles is Rana Daggubati. Ever since he played Bhalladeva in SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali series, the actor has been flooded with opportunities in multiple languages. Rana, who was at a nascent stage of his career when he was approached to play the iconic role, soon became a household name across the country. In his recent film Nene Raju Nene Mantri too he plays a commoner turned monster who wishes to get whatever he wants.
Similarly, Jagapathi Babu went through a major makeover for Boyapati Sreenu’s Legend and there has been no turning back ever since for him. After a string of lead roles from the '90s to early 20s, the actor decided to play villainous roles. In recent years, he has forayed into Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada cinema, and is currently one of the most sought-after actors of the South Indian film industry.
Arvind Swamy’s role as Siddharth Abhimanyu in Thani Oruvan is another example in the list. The film was remade in Telugu as Dhruva and Arvind Swamy reprised the same role again. The non-conventional villain left an undeniable impact on the audience. The way Arvind Swamy imbibed the character with his own persona, gave the film a major success. The character became so popular that it changed the whole industry’s perception about Swamy as an actor. He is one of the busiest actors in Tamil cinema these days. Ironically, the role of a conventional villain in a big budget film has changed in recent years. Probably that’s why, every time a lead actor plays a negative role, it becomes a trending topic. Will this ongoing trend lead to more actors following suit remains the question of this hour.