Kitne aadmi the? Or Jo darr gaya, samjho marr gaya are dialogues that make up the popular Bollywood lexicon. Who can forget Sholay and Gabbar Singh that came along with it? The movie was not only about the revenge of a police officer against a bandit but it was the tale of characters. One among those characters was Gabbar Singh who has lived on for over three decades now in the hearts of cinema connoisseurs. Let’s find out the magical effect that this character has had on popular culture.
10. First Dacoit to wear jeans:
Dacoits in Hindi Cinema were always seen clad in dhoti and kurta. All that changed with Salim-Javed’s Sholay as they introduced Gabbar Singh, probably the most popular antagonist of Indian Cinema. His appearance in jeans changed the perception of dacoits for the audiences. This was the first time the dhoti was replaced by jeans and went on to become a massive hit among the real-life replacements of Gabbar Singh.
9. A Lovable villain:
It might sound strange but inspite of the evil character that Gabbar Singh was, the audiences loved him. Whether it was his strange laughter or his dialogues, everything was praised by viewers. He was a villain no doubt, an extremely malicious one at that, but he was still adored. This was a new phenomenon with ensuing movies also successfully implementing the same in years to come.
8. Movies made in his name:
Gabbar Singh is one of the most popular characters to have graced the silver screen in Bollywood. He is perhaps the first antagonist to have had movies and characters named after him. The 2012 Telugu film Gabbar Singh and its protagonist were named after him too. The character also appeared in the spoof Ramgarh Ke Sholay. A precedent was set by Gabbar Singh in Sholay where an antagonist made an indelible impression leading to movies and characters being made after his name.
7. Style of speech:
The dialogues of Gabbar Singh are to this day recited by lovers of Hindi Cinema. His dialogues have stood the test of time and have been popular for over three decades. The dialogues of Gabbar Singh with Sanjeev Kumar’s character thakur or Hema Malini’s character Basanti, all have had an innate charm and that is undoubtedly due to the manner in which the lines were said, the style of speech! Ever since several other negative characters too were sketched along the same lines with the backing of catchy dialogues.
We all have seen actors and actresses who are protagonists endorse products and brands in the media. Gabbar Singh’s character started a new era of negative characters with sheen and style. It wasn’t thus a surprise that Amjad Khan went on to appear in advertisements as Gabbar Singh. It was a change which brought in the realization that it was indeed a character’s popularity that sold products in advertising.
5. The image of the typical villian:
Gabbar Singh changed the image of the typical villain. The bucolic and morbid looking antagonist of Indian Cinema was given a new lease of life. With the advent of Gabbar Singh, the villain became much more than just an opponent of the protagonist. The looks, voice, clothes, demeanor and dialogues of villains underwent a complete overhaul once the screen was graced by this larger-than-life character.
A wicked baddie without any back-story who stood out inspite of an ensemble cast could well be one way of introducing Gabbar Singh. It was perhaps the first of its kind in Indian Cinema. The killings and the tortures that he is seen to take part in or order were the result of his sadistic nature. Gabbar Singh’s characterization created the trend of villain’s being sketched as unforgiving and heartless monsters in Hindi Cinema Industry. Sadism was very much the beacon of Gabbar Singh’s character and every other character based on him that followed.
3. Character bigger than the actor:
Amjad Khan who played the part of Gabbar Singh was known throughout his life for this character he played. Yes, it immortalized him in history as the man who was Gabbar Singh! It was one of the first instances of a role being larger in stature than the actor himself. A few years later the same was observed in the case of Amrish Puri’s Mugambo too!
2. The Iconic Gabbar Singh Laugh:
Remember the sarcasm induced evil laughter of Gabbar Singh? Anyone who would have watched Sholay atleast once in their lifetime couldn’t possibly ignore his signature laughter. This was one of those idiosyncrasies associated with Gabbar Singh which was part of the character’s success. Hence, the antagonists that have been portrayed ever since in the Indian Movies have been carefully laden with unique nuances of their own.
1. First depiction of pure evil:
Gabbar Singh is considered to be the first depiction of pure evil in Bollywood lexicon with either the gruesome killing of Thakur’s family or the tragic death of Sachin. If Sholay was one of the highest grossing movies of all times then the character of Gabbar Singh had a major part in it. This character was the first of its kind where evil was applauded. It was after him that the rest followed whether Mugambo or Shakal.