Love them or hate them – the villain is an inseparable part of a film, a story or a drama – and probably also life. Villains show us what’s wrong in the world. It is because there are villains, people get to be heroes.
Some of the Bengali films have had the honour of portraying excellent storylines and role-plays for villains. Some of these villainous characters have been played by the top notch artists leaving behind a rich trail of cinematic heritage.
Let us just say this article is not about the sleazy foulmouthed ‘heroine abduction’ type. This is grimmer and more subtle – the kind of villains we might face one day. Or maybe someone from the pages of history. Maybe someone who is the face of all that is wrong in a society.
Who’s your most favourite shady character of the Bengali films? Let us know.
Here are the finest five we have picked from the Bengali films –
#1 Major Trivedi of 42 (Biyallish)
All villainous roles start and end with Major Trivedi of the film 42. No one has played the role of the coldblooded ruthless man better than Bikash Roy as Major Trivedi. He was an Indian officer serving the British where he would take demonic pleasure to fulfill his mission in oppressing freedom fighters. The film Biyallish is said to be based on a true story and after seeing this film we still gratefully thank them who paid the price for it.
In that one role-play as Major Trivedi, Bikash Roy expressed all that is oppression and exploitation in the whole world. Words are short to fully evaluate the acting prowess of the actor. In short the complete villain which we wish should exist only in a film but not in reality.
#2 Hirak Raja of Hiraj Rajar Deshe
Legend Utpal Dutt as Hirak Raja is really appealing to us. No matter how terrible a king he was, we still love him.
But here’s the darker side. Satyajit Ray, in his pure genius mind, portrayed through Hirak Raja the dark and unknown world that is unknown to many. While magaj dholai or mind control is considered as a myth, it is bombarded upon us every day through different media. Subliminal messaging and mesmerism is a scientifically proven fact which is openly used in many markets.
Hirak Raja is like a big, bad corporation that controls a government by corruption. It does not let people think for themselves. Through its ministers, Hiraj Raja takes away his biggest threat – educated evolved minds. He says no to true education and makes them mesmerized.
Think deep, and you will find that this is the worst kind of villain we can ever have – the one who buys your soul.
#3 BK Roy of Deya Neya
On a lighter note, who is not afraid of an angry dad? Kamal Mitra becomes B.K. Roy – the angry and over strict father to Uttam Kumar in Deya Neya. He does not want his son to sing because in his opinion singing and music relates to an inferior profession. His son is not interested in pursuing his rich father’s business and therefore shown the door.
Kamal Mitra is perfect in his grave persona as the disciplinarian martinet. His voice, his looks and of course his acting talent makes him the leading angry father of global cinema. Later many actors tried to copy his role as B.K. Roy, the angry and unbending father.
#4 Mrs. Basu of Saat Pake Bandha
The role of Mrs. Basu in Saat Pake Bandha was played by the super talented Chhaya Debi and it is undoubtedly one of the masterpieces. She was Suchitra Sen’s mother who would always interfere in her daughter’s conjugal life which leads to a broken marriage.
Perhaps many would not even call Mrs. Basu a villain but rather a negative character. Nobody could have portrayed this character better than Chhaya Debi.
Mrs. Basu portrays a kind of toxic behavior which commonly exists in the society. We generally do not perceive it as a threat and so accept it in our lives – until it fills us with negativity. Actually, not every villain shoots a gun – some have sharper tongues and colder hearts.
Chhaya Debi as Mrs. Basu exposes those so called cultured and educated people of society who spread poison in our society by their narrowed ambitions, ego and toxic behavior.
#5 Maganlal Meghraj of Joy Baba Felunath
Probabaly the most famous villain of Bengali cinema – Maganlal Meghraj. Plus it was played by one of Indian cinema’s most treasured actors, Utpal Dutt.
Villains like Maganlal are too clever and sly for the law makers. He knows how to corrupt, where the weak point lies and is totally insensitive to anything that does not bring him money. He would sell the nation if he could as long as his fat pockets become fatter.
But the more dreaded he becomes, the more Feluda gets to shine his faculties. Maganlal is to Feluda what Moriarty is to Holmes.
A villain shows all that we do not want to become. We all love heroes because somewhere in our own hearts, we have defeated our inner villains.