The yesteryear Bandit or Dacoit is replaced by the inclusion of Gangster character in modern cinema. Although, several films during the classic era to the 70s and 80s era featured Gangster or Underworld Mafia characters in different avatars, the trend changed gears during the 90s and became an essential element of Bollywood cinema.
The character got recognition after the 1978 film Don, where Amitabh Bachchan played the title role. However, it was only during the 90s, when films like Shiva (1990), Parinda (1989), and Satya (1998) explored the underworld mafia spread across India with the headquarters set up in Mumbai.
The Gangster characters portrayed in the film during the 90s were often shown as the protagonist. However, in the new millennium after the heroics of Mumbai Police washed the streets of the city from Underworld Mafia, Bollywood featured Gangsters in their real light. The majority of these films were based on the D-Company created by India’s Most Wanted Dawood Ibrahim.
Films like Company (2002) featured Ajay Devgn and Vivek Oberoi as Underworld Gangsters, whereas the Munnabhai film series featured Sanjay Dutt as a reformed Gangster. However, the best portrayal of the Gangster character must go to Sanjay Dutt’s portrayal of Raghu in the 1999 film Vaastav: The Reality.
Bollywood has this nag of portraying the main lead or protagonist of the film in the wrong business. Whether it’s a gangster, mafia don, roadside rowdy or a conman in the streets, there a good number of films that have tried to show these characters in good light digging deeper into their lives.
The trend of including such characters goes back to the 60s era in Bollywood. Whether it’s Raj Kapoor in Shree 420 (1955) and Awaara (1951) or Dev Anand in Jewel Thief, both these star actors of the classic era proved their mantle as the conman in these movies.
But, the actor who played the role of a conman to perfection is none other than the Shehenshah of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan. His portrayal of Jay in Sholay (1975), Shankar in Nastik (1983), and Natwar in Mr. Natwarlal (1979) were just a few examples.
Although the character is popular as conman, Bollywood also has its share of con woman in several films. Whether it’s Hema Malini in Johny Mera Naam (1970) and Dus Numbri (1976), Neetu Singh and Shabana Azmi in Parvarish (1977), Rani Mukerji in Bunty Aur Babli (2005) and many others, the role is played successfully by many ace actresses of almost every era.
Another most popular character profession seen in Bollywood is the teacher or professor. This profession has been widely used in Bollywood since its beginning as the teacher or the professor is often portrayed as an inspirational or motivational character of the film. These characters are highly famous in the drama, romance and comedy genre of Bollywood.
The character is best portrayed by Vinod Khanna in the 1974 film Imtihan, where he plays Professor Pramod Sharma and reforms his students through ethical norms. Another memorable character of a teacher was portrayed by Jeetendra in Parichay (1972), where he becomes the home tutor of some naughty kids and tames them with love and good teaching.
Even though both Jeetendra and Vinod Khanna’s characters were one of the best, it was Naseeruddin Shah’s performance in Sir (1993) that created a huge impact among the audience and generated respect of teachers or college professors.
Besides drama, there are few examples of comedy films, where the main protagonist played the teachers/professors. These films are Chupke Chupke (1975) starring Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan as professors and Do Aur Do Paanch (1980) starring Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, and Shashi Kapoor as teachers.
India is a land of farmers and soldiers, which is why we have the saying, “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”. And that’s also the reason why you see films themed around farming and farmers. The trend is slowly dying in the industry; however, the trend was blooming during classic era of Bollywood right the time of Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand. All three of them have worked in several films portraying as a farmer or a villager.
Whether it was Dilip Kumar in Mela (1948), Raj Kapoor in Jagte Raho (1956) and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960), Nargis in Mother India (1957), Manoj Kumar in Upkar (1967) or Dev Anand in Des Pardes (1978), these veteran actors created the platform to honour the farmers and villagers of India.
The trend was later followed by the next generation of actors like Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna and Jeetendra. Actresses weren’t far behind either. During this era, a lot of films were made around the budding romance between a rich boy and village girl.
Actresses from Hema Malini to Juhi Chawla have played the character of a village girl with pure innocence and sincerity. Although the trend has almost diminished in Bollywood, there are few films made around similar theme without much success.
Also Read : Bollywood Movies about the life of Farmers
This is an another profession used in Bollywood Movies, there are many films on Courtroom Drama and Lawyers. Movies on lawyers are engaging and interesting. The conversation between two lawyers and using facts and theories in courtroom makes such films interesting, thats why writers write such scripts for Indian Audience.
There are many iconic films on this profession, You can never forget the brillian performance by Sunny Deol as a Lawyer in Damini or Anil Kapoor in meri Jung. Recently for the first time, we saw Amitabh Bachchan as an old Lawyer in Pink 2016 Film.
A Common Man
Finally, as usual, we have saved the best for the last. Well, India is a land of simple people with simple lives. The country is full of common people living simple lives facing almost similar problems in their day-to-day lives. Bollywood has always favoured this aspect of living in India and has often featured the struggles of a common man on the big screen. There are plenty of examples in Bollywood, where the main protagonist is not a larger than life character, but a common man like us.
Some of the legendary roles that need a mention include Dilip Kumar in Shaheed (1948), Amitabh Bachchan in Majboor (1974) and Laawaris (1981), Rajesh Khanna in Anand (1971) and Aap Ki Kasam (1974), Amol Palekar in Gol Maal (1979), Naseeruddin Shah in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983) and A Wednesday (2008), Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox (2013), Paresh Rawal in OMG – Oh My God! (2012) and several others.
Also Read : Bollywood movies about CommonMan
Share, your favorite profession used in Bollywood Movies or Indian Film Industry.