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This article was first published 1 year ago  » Movies » 25 Deadliest Bollywood Dacoits

25 Deadliest Bollywood Dacoits

July 07, 2022 13:49 IST
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Beware of the Bollywood outlaw.

With a striking black tilak marked on the forehead, bullet-loaded belt around the waist, a perennially furious gaze and a tone as threatening as that rifle in hand, the dacoits are, understandably, a dreaded community.

And yet, their imposing histrionics and ferocity makes them a truly fascinating antagonist around a plot set against a rural backdrop. Only recently, our film=makers have begun to portray this profession in a more realistic light.

But Ranbir Kapoor's larger-than-life daku depiction in and as Shamshera is old school at its spectacular best. While we wait to watch the actor in one of the most raw, rough and rustic outings of his career, here's Sukanya Verma's list of 25 daku roles we love, ranked in an ascending order.


25. Mac Mohan, Sholay

Arre o Sambha-fame's Mac Mohan and his response-ready henchman perched on a hilltop is just the kind of minion his bounty-on-head boss likes.

Ramesh Sippy's desi Western wouldn't be the same without these iconic flashes of evil.


24. Ajit, Pratiggya

Best remembered for Dharmendra's comic chops and loony Main Jat Yamla Pagla Deewana moves, part of Pratiggya's enduring pleasure is watching a suave Ajit in a full-on, hammy daku get-up.


23. Sridevi, Sherni

There was a time when Bollywood's idea of action heroine was turning its leading lady into a cop or bandit.

Of all the campy movies in the genre, Sridevi taking the avenging angel route in shiny leather and steady scowls is the least embarrassing.


22. Danny Denzongpa, Chunaoti

Danny's super trendy dacoit sure knows how to give Bollywood's eternal cowboy Feroz Khan a run for his money in feud and fashion.


21. Raaj Kumar, Dharam Kanta

Though Jaani's daku terror is short-lived after he mends his ways early on in Sultan Ahmed's 1982 blockbuster, his trademark swagger and dialoguebaazi is tailor-made for the gig.


20. Shah Rukh Khan, Om Shanti Om

Alright, so he's not really a daku, but how funny is SRK overacting his guts out in the famous 'Bhaago; scene, said to be inspired by the real-life incident of Sunil Dutt, a specialist in daku roles, rescuing Nargis from a fire on the sets of Mother India.


19, Amrish Puri, Loha

Sporting ghastly mohawk hair and quasi-oriental costume, Amrish Puri's bushy-eyebrowed Sher Singh in Loha is stuff of nightmares that gave bandit-themed Bollywood masala a big bulk of its identity.


18. Ajay Devgn, Lajja

It's not a lengthy role yet Devgn walks away with the maximum wolf whistles for his verbose delivery and unabashed spunk as the brigand Bulwa marching forth to a distressed damsel's rescue in Rajkumar Santoshi's social drama.


17. Mukesh Tiwari, China Gate

Speaking of Santoshi, his China Gate isn't exactly the Sholay of Mukesh Tiwari's career. But his Jageera -- a disheveled, manic bandit with a penchant for bizarre one-liners like 'Mere mann ko bhaya main kutta khaya' continues to be the most recognised role on his resume.


16. Viju Khote, Sholay

Any mention of Hindi film dakus and Kaalia's name is bound to pop up. And a fierce looking Viju Khote's trembling response to 'Kitne Aadmi The?' subject of abundant tribute in Athithi Tum Kab Jaoge?, is reason enough for lifelong 'shaabasi'.


15 Amitabh Bachchan, Ganga Ki Saugand

The same year he played Don and Muqqadar Ka Sikander, Amitabh Bachchan also slipped into the skin of a forced-by-circumstances dacoit in Sultan Ahmed's successful potboiler, Ganga Ki Saugandh/

Feudal oppression is often a recurring theme for scrupulous individuals to take the path of rebellion.

Here too, Amjad Khan's tormenting ways as the quintessential, evil Thakur prove too much for Big B to put up with.


14. Amrish Puri, Yateem

'Sonar ko beto sonar. Lohar ko beto lohar. Aur daku ko beto, daku.' Amrish Puri's big eyes and beliefs in following the father's trade as Daku Purkhiya lead to some volatile confrontations in J P Dutta's gritty saga of blood and betrayal.


13. Kabir Bedi, Kucche Dhaage

How good is Kabir Bedi as the rebellious, ruthless yet charmingly rakish daku Roopa in Raj Khosla's drama about blood-thirsty bandits entangled in revenge and romantic triangles.


12. Nirmal Pandey, Bandit Queen

Nirmal Pandey's intense presence and soulful performance as Vikram Mallah, member of an outlaw gang, grows in stature as the only benevolent male presence in Phoolan Devi's turbulent life.


11. Sunil Dutt, Mujhe Jeene Do

The mild-mannered Sunil Dutt could be a powerhouse of intensity when he chose to be.

After offering a glimpse of his bad-tempered ways as a avenging bandit in Mother India, he provided a better insight into the human side of one with his award-winning portrayal as Jarnail Singh in his home production, Mujhe Jeene Do.


10. Manoj Bajpayee, Sonchiriya

'Sarkaari goli se koi kabhu mare hain? Inke toh vaadon se maare hain.' Bajpayee dissatisfaction hits as hard as his bullet.

As the leader of the rebel pack Man Singh, a clever throwback to his character in Bandit Queen, Bajpayee makes a meal out of his short but solid screen time.


9. Sunny Deol, Dacait

Some may find a visibly urban Sunny Deol in the garb of an earthy Dacait hard to accept.

But the Deol-Rawail combo work their magic on this dramatic exploration of how an innocent man turns joins hands with his outlaw buddies after his entire family is massacred owing to the evil Thakur-corrupt village police nexus.

Though everybody appreciated Deol's mix of vulnerability and Rambo-like aggression, Dacait didn't set the box-office on fire.

Nor did Yateem, also starring Deol, in a similar if (arguably) better directed theme.


8. Pran, Jis Desh Main Ganga Behti Hai

The stern look in his eyes, the ruthless intent of his words and a savage appearance ensures Pran makes one hell of a ruthless dacoit Raka in Raj Kapoor's Jis Desh Main Ganga Behti Hai/

His loathing behaviour is a perfect contrast to RK's innocent, righteous appeal and hailed among the best roles of his career.


7. Vinod Khanna, Mera Gaon Mera Desh

His simmering rage and daredevil persona made Vinod Khanna Bollywood's go-to actor for hot bandit roles.

Before he worked his magic in khaki, VK's curriculum vitae is full of scowling dacoit parts -- top of the heap is Mera Gaon Mera Desh's angry young daku, Jabbar Singh.


6. Sunil Dutt, Mother India

His feverish energy and noxious wrath sears through the screen as he goes from unruly to unforgiving to a point of no return, much to his morally upright mother's dismay.

Sunil Dutt as his most unhinged is as formidable as it is fascinating to witness.


5. Dilip Kumar, Ganga Jumna

A dejected lover drowning his sorrow in alcohol, a chalk and cheese pair of twins, a thick Bhojpuri accent spewing outlaw conveying a myriad of complex, conflicting emotions as the brother on the wrong side of law in his home production, Gunga Jumna, the legendary actor's versatility knows no bounds.


4. Sushant Singh Rajput, Sonchiriya

Unlike the bombastic, costume-y bandits of Bollywood, Sushant Singh Rajput's soulful glimpse into the ideals and guilt of someone perceived as rebel by self and outlaw by society offers a humane and heartfelt study into the complexities of life in Chambal.


3. Irrfan, Paan Singh Tomar

Irrfan Khan as Paan Singh Tomar is a masterclass in acting.

The big screen adaptation of a promising real life athlete-turned-disenchanted rebel, directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, offers a layered study in social inequity, which not only impressed the critics but also made money and won two National Awards -- Best Actor and Film.


2. Seema Biswas, Bandit Queen

Seema Biswas took the screen by storm with her disturbing, poignant portrayal as real life bandit, Phoolan Devi in Shekhar Kapur's National Award-winning gem.

Though its explicit content attracted controversy, Bandit Queen continues to be one of the most authentic films of its genre.


1. Amjad Khan, Sholay

Hands down, the numero uno of the dakuverse. Gabbar Singh's brand of menace reigns supreme well outside the realm of Ramgarh.

He's the man mothers warn their kids about with the oft-quoted, 'Soja nahi to Gabbar Singh aa jaayega.' Ramesh Sippy's unforgettable creation is synonymous with terror, revered and referenced to epic proportions.

In Amjad Khan's grimy skin and sinister tone, Gabbar's creepy smile and morbid punishment provides countless chilling reminders of jo dar gaya. Samjho mar gaya.

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