Villains – the only people in the world we LOVE to hate and don’t feel guilty about it. There are multiple facets of design involved in the making of a feature film. While the easiest design decisions are the sets and costumes, there are intricate details that go into the design of the characters of the film. A movie can be shot in different perspectives that allows the audience to differentiate the hero and the anti-hero. Today, we discuss how villains are portrayed in cinema and what makes an antagonist character successful.
The Disney Villains
This is the category of villains who are the most obvious villains. They look like one, they behave like one and when on screen, the audience can easily make out that they are the villains. The perfect examples of such characters are the Disney villains. The antagonists in Disney movies always don dark colors, specific costumes and wear dark makeup. Their intentions are clear from the first moment they enter a screen. Joker from the Dark Knight is such a character with elaborate costume, makeup and the all-consuming screen presence of course. Most of our old time Bollywood antagonists usually fall into this category of Disney villains – be it Gabbar from Sholay or Magombo from Mr. India. While they are the most obvious villains, they also are somewhat the least scary ones.
If any of you have read or watched the Harry Potter series, you might be familiar with Lupin’s words “..they are scared to speak out, in case their suspicions are true and their families are targeted. Yes, Voldemort is playing a very clever game. Declaring himself might have provoked open rebellion remaining masked has created confusion, uncertainty, and fear”, Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. This struck to me as the most brilliant move by a villain ever. Everybody was already shit-scared of Voldemort but by remaining hidden and in the shadows, he created a “bigger than life” persona that is not just dispersed with fear, but uncertainty and confusion as well. This is what makes Voldemort one of the most badass villains of all times. The same theory applies to the dark. When a frightening object is in the dark, it’s ability to scare is far higher than when it is in plain sight. A classic example of the unknown villain is the monster in “Stranger Things” or “A” in the popular teen show “Pretty Little Liars”.
The Spine-Chilling Villain
The final and definitely the most creepy villains are the ones in plain sight and who we do not take a second look at. The girl/ boy-next-door who was always there and turns out to be the mastermind. Kahani’s Bob Biswas is a fine example of this category. With his absolutely normal look of an insurance agent, he turns out to be the murderer everyone is looking out for. Similarly, Jugal Hansraj in Kahaani 2 or Jim Sarbh in Raabta are perfect examples in this category. Hansraj’s innocent looks are in stark contrast to his character of a pedophile and a murderer, which made the character scarier and his portrayal far more fear-inducing. The jolt that every TV series induces when the perfectly sensible best friend or wife turns out to be the mastermind behind the murder is what makes this kind of villain a success and a part of our nightmares.
Whatever the type of villain, some of the antihero characters will always outdo their hero counterparts in our memories. And sometimes, they carry the entire movie on their shoulders. Well, that was our take on villains and what makes them worthy opponents of our heroes and the fear of the audience. Do you have any antiheroes whom you love for their pure evil and cunning? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear about your fictional antiheroes be it on the paper or the screen. Comment, share and don’t forget to spread the love.