Inside story of a villain who left behind hero in popularity

Amjad Khan left no stone unturned to portray the character exactly as it was fictionalized.


           One fine morning, you decide to write a story. Starting with reserving the character of the hero (the protagonist) for yourself, you keep your near and dear once as your supporting cast. It follows with all goods in your story love, romance, money, success, victory, faith and everything you can think of. But, are they enough? NO! A story never completes without a villain.

Since the origination of commercial cinema, villain has been playing an important part of the story that adds drama, emotions, actions and what not in the film. Though this character has always received the hatred of audience, it is an essential element to create a good story. While earlier the antagonist was always a person, it has slowly replaced with circumstances that bring adversity in the life of protagonists. However, a character as a villain is still a choice of most of the scriptwriter.

So, if we are talking about villains, the mention of this antagonist is must. A character, who took the fear of villains to one level up. But instead of usual hatred of audience, the character received a warm response. But, which character is this? Read this dialogue and you will come to know –

Kitne Aadmi the …

Sardar do…



Do Aadmi…

Suar ke bacchon….

Wo do the aur tum teen…

Phir bhi waaps aa gye…

Khali haath…

Yes, you guessed it right. The famous dacoit of Rampur – ‘Gabbar Singh’. One can never imagine a visit to Ramgarh in his presence. The very first appearance of Gabbar Singh is very strong in the film. We see only the lower body, a dark khaki dressed man carrying a leather belt in his hand and walking on the rocks with the tik tok sound (walking sound) of his boots. His strong voice while he shouts on three losers of his dacoit group-  Kaliya and two others still capable to give goosebumps to the audience.


Gabbar’s very first appearance in Sholay

15th August 1975 when the film was released, nobody did know that the Gabbar Singh’s character will be so successful. With the release of the film, it became the most engaging negative character (villain) of Indian film industry. It was played by Amjad Khan. You will be surprised to know that the first choice for this role was not him but Danny Denzongpa. Amjad Khan got this role because Danny was busy shooting for the film Dharmatma.

Amjad Khan was also rejected for this role by the writer Javed Akhtar because he found Amjad’s voice weak for the strong and powerful character of Gabbar Singh. But later he was convinced and rest is the history. Amjad Khan executed the role so successfully that made Gabbar memorable for this loud voice, strong and sharp dialogue deliveries. Also, you cannot forget his distinctive way of laughing. With his performance of Gabbar, Amjad Khan uplifted the value of negative characters to next level.

”Gabbar was the first character that gave our post-independence film as an image of a ruthless dacoit. Over the years he became a stereotype and filmmakers followed that image. The performance of Amjad Khan took it to all different level where he added multiple traits in the writing of Salim – Javed, the way he chewed tobacco, the way he shifted weight on one of his legs, the way his laughter was increased with every breath” says Divyanshu Srivastava, Associate Content Producer, Star India Private limited.

In Sholay, the writers sketched Gabbar Singh as a synonym of fear. The character was presented with the qualities like – He was strong, determined and lusty but focused and he was a very powerful leader, nobody dares to challenge him and his position. The development of the character was so appealing that Megastar Amitabh Bachchan himself was interested to play the character of Gabbar Singh.

Amjad Khan left no stone unturned to portray the character exactly as it was fictionalized. Amjad’s Body language was also very strong and appropriate to his character in the film. His appearance on the screen was outstanding with his dressing style, his beard, curly hairs, big eyes, unbuttoned shirt, rectangular taveez,  his black boots and his dirty teeth. With all these, he resembles as a perfect villain.

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Gabbar’s different looks in Sholay

In Sholay, dialogues are the soul of Gabbar’s dreadful character. With his dialogues only, you can understand his fear in common

yaha se pachas pachas kos door Gaon me…

jab baccha raat ko rota hai…
to maa kehti hai bete so ja ..

So ja nahi to Gabbar Singh aa jaega.

Sometimes you feel Sadism in his dialogues as he asks Basanti to dance and threaten her with these words –

Dekho chamiya..jyada nakhre mat karo..

Nahi to ye gori chamdi hai na..

Sari khurach khurach kar badan se utar
doonga smjhi…

In the film, the character of Gabbar was introduced to fetch complications in Thakur’s life and in Ramgarh. With his ruthless and aggressive attitude, he successfully achieved his goal. The cruelty of the character Gabbar Singh was on the peak when he cuts the hands of Thakur. When the background score and his expressions meet, you can actually feel his fear.

        “His way of humiliation, that too not to kill the enemy but to loved ones of his enemy. He killed the entire family of Thakur and cut his arms, to make him watch all this approaching and helplessly. He holds Viru but put Basanti to dance and that humiliates our Hero, adding to the audience empathy towards the Hero and their anguish for the villain,” says Divyanshu.

Filmfare named Gabbar Singh the most iconic villain in the history of Indian Cinema. You can simply understand the popularity of this Dacoit that Gabbar (Amjad Khan) was shown in an advertisement of Britannia Biscuits popularly known as Gabbar Ki Pasand.


Article By – Vikas Kumar

Edited By – Somya Lohia


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