Sukanya Verma in Mumbai
Every story needs a challenge or conflict.
In Hindi films, this discord is usually created by the villain who embodies all evils -- greed, anger, treachery, lust and terror. But with the changing face of society and storytelling, this interpretation became more and more perilous.
Depiction of terrorism in Bollywood only started in the 1980s with top baddies playing flamboyant, of mostly foreign origin, icons of divisive politics and memorable catchphrases.
Over this period, filmmakers tried to both -- study the seeds of its religion-dictated ideology or expose its heinous face.
And now Ram Gopal Varma's The Attacks of 26/11, based on the 2008 Mumbai attacks is aspiring to do the same with newcomer Sanjeev Jaiswal as Ajmal Kasab -- one of the main accused and convicted terrorist (He was hanged last November).
Here then is a look at some of the best-known portrayal of terrorists in our films.
Anupam Kher, Karma (1986)
Apart from creating wide-scale harm, the immensely egoistic head of a terror outfit, Dr Dang seeks personal vendetta after a senior jailor slaps his face, hard and proper. The 'thappad ki goonj' indeed leads to hell breaking loose.
Anupam Kher got maximum mileage out of Subhash Ghai's action-packed entertainer with his demented gaze and passionate fury earning him an important designation in the realm of reel menace.
Amrish Puri, Mr India (1987)
Ditto for Amrish Puri.
As the exotic face of terrorism in a custom-made uniform and a fondness for bling, the actor, on the strength of his throaty baritone and creepy smile, generates an intimidating ambiance.
Cursed with a dark sense of humour, the legendary Mogambo will rarely appear perturbed but behind that loony laughter is a hardcore, ruthless killer with a special affinity for torture.
Pankaj Kapur, Roja (1992)
Though only dubbed in Hindi, Mani Ratnam's Roja is significant filmmaking.
It tries to understand the reasons and beliefs that construct radicalism in an individual's mind and the possibility for reform.
And conveying this is the terrific Pankaj Kapur as the dedicated leader Liaqat, of a fundamental group in Kashmir, holding an innocent as hostage to bargain for one of his peers.
Kapur may not have the physicality for brutal but his seething eyes and the intensity with which he exclaims, 'Jihaad!' sends one's spine tingling.
Ashish Vidyarthi, Drohkaal (1994)
Ever noticed how effectively an actor uses his eyes to communicate the madness within a man on a vile mission.
Ashish Vidyarthi does too to make a deep impact in his breakthrough role of in Govind Nihalani's Drohkaal.
As the bespectacled, educated Commander Bhadra, he masterminds a scheme sitting inside a cell that brings dutiful cops on their knees.
Unlike his later performances which are borderline caricatures, Vidyarthi's measured delivery in the well-received Drohkaal earned him a National Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Chandrachur Singh and Tabu, Maachis (1996)
The troubled state of affairs in Punjab, following the after effects of Operation Blue Star and assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, form the backdrop of this story about a regular couple and how their lives change for the worse owing to these above events.
The sensitivity Gulzar metes out to his wounded protagonists in Maachis is what makes it noteworthy.
The poet/filmmaker documents the triggering point, training, grey areas and futility of destructive angst through the journey of Chandruchur Singh's soulful performance and Tabu's mellowed anguish.
Manisha Koirala, Dil Se.. (1998)
The focus of Mani Ratnam's Dil Se.. is not terrorism but the baggage its advocators carry when it comes to relationships.
It tries to humanise and observe the repercussions of a frail romance or rather what happens when a suicide bomber is passionately pursued by a radio journalist.
Though she's up to no good, Ratnam's characterisation is kind to Manisha Koirala's Meghana and gives her a tragic back story to support her actions.
She's misunderstood and mysterious but Koirala lends it such exquisite vulnerability, it makes Meghna both -- sad and surreal.
Naseeruddin Shah, Sarfarosh (1999)
Naseeruddin Shah's Gulfam Hassan is the quintessential wolf in sheep's clothing.
As the Muslim Indian who migrated to Pakistan following partition, he projects himself as a mild-mannered, pacifist ghazal singer consumed by poetry and art.
In truth he's a resentful, fanatic figure with deeply distorted views on religion and assists in facilitating terrorism across India.
The powerhouse actor brings out these complexes with seasoned conviction through his much-acclaimed performance in one of Bollywood's most credible mainstream movies.
Hrithik Roshan, Fiza and Mission Kashmir (2001)
Though it's a decidedly glamorous take on what drives innocence to embrace wrong, Hrithik Roshan packs in a judicious mix of his rippling muscularity and emotional intensity to create characters worth sympathy.
His back-to-back performances of a 'reluctant fundamentalist' as Amaan and Altaaf in Fiza and Mission Kashmir try to drive the same point -- the feeling of betrayal leads to bad decisions but it's never too late to make amends.
Agreed, HR's too handsome for the part, his sincerity is undeniable.
Pavan Malhotra, Black Friday (2004)
Many consider Black Friday to be Anurag Kashyap's best work and with good reason.
The director takes a hard, unflinching look at the conspiracy leading to the1993 Mumbai blasts in this inspiring adaptation of S Hussain Zaidi's book.
And playing the part of Tiger Memon, mafia man and prime suspect in the above, is Pavan Malhotra.
A distinctly cold Malhotra excels in the role with a complete grasp on his character's shrewd ploys and severe philosophy.
Pradhuman Singh, Tere Bin Laden (2010)
This is no Zero Dark Thirty and there's no place for seriousness in the scheme of Abhishek Sharma's humourous satire on the poster boy of terrorism.
Pradhuman Singh plays an Osama Bin Laden lookalike discovered by a small-time TV reporter harbouring the American dream.
They shoot a fake video as a means of making money and more but attract the wrong kind of attention setting off a series of comical events.