If Tamil cinema celebrates the 'heroic' triumph of MGR, Sivaji, Rajini or Kamal, it could not have been possible without a dreaded villain opposite them like Nambiar, Manohar, Asokan or Sathyaraj.
But times have changed and, today, Tamil cinema is going crazy over Bollywood hunks to play the baddies.
Quite like the craze for Mumbai girls being cast as heroines, filmmakers these days opt for villains from Hindi cinema.
Says Aadhi, a filmmaker, "It is market demand. Tamil movies are dubbed and released in Hindi and Telugu, while they have a good market in Kerala too. Hence, many filmmakers opt for Hindi villains, who have a pan-Indian appeal. A familiar face in all languages is their preferred choice. Also, these days, heroes love playing dual roles, including that of a baddie. Ajith's 'Mankatha' is a classic example."
Hence, the likes of Nasser or Prakashraj have shifted to character roles. They are wonderful artistes who excel in any character offered to them, he adds.
A popular hero in Bollywood, he plays the villain opposite Rajinikanth in '2.0'. He plays a beastly avatar that is sure to send shivers down your spine. With long and sharp teeth, and spiked eyebrows, he looks the perfect devil in the movie. He plays an eccentric scientist called Richard. Directed by Shankar, the movie is touted to be the costliest project in Indian cinema.
A method actor in Hindi cinema, Rahul Bose was part of many award-winning films in Hindi and Bengali. He made heads turn and look at him with awe when he played the antagonist in 'Vishwaroopam'. He played a prominent member of the terror outfit. As Omar, he pulled it off in style. Now comes the sequel for 'Vishwaroopam' and all eyes are again on Rahul Bose. His body language as a jihadist fetched him a few awards.
Young and fit, Vidyut fought against Ajith and Vijay in recent times. He played baddie in 'Billa-2' and 'Thuppaki'. His cool expressions and expressive ways won him many fans here. Vidyut is currently playing a similar role in a Tamil movie. Interestingly, the actor has been offered a couple of hero-centric films in Bollywood.
A popular face in the north, Pradeep Rawat won a name for himself in Tamil cinema with dreadful acts in a series of films for the past decade. His prominent films include 'Ghajini', 'Eli', 'Nagarajan', 'Aambala', 'Mirattal', 'Vathiyar' and 'Sabari'. Remember, he acted as Aswathama in the epic television series Mahabharat (1988–90)?
He set the screen on fire playing a baddie in director Shankar's film 'I'. His confrontations with Vikram won him applause. He stared his career as a model. In addition to working in films, he has participated in several television reality shows including Bigg Boss.