Years ago during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s we used to witness lead actors playing the quintessential positive roles like Rajesh Khanna in ‘Aanand’, Dharmendra in ‘Blackmail’, Raj Kapoor in ‘Aawara’, Dev Aanad in ’Guide’ and so on… but since the last two and a half decade we have seen lead actors playing dark character roles.

Actors from the 90 have and especially today enjoy playing dark shade roles, negative characters, be it Shah Rukh khan in movies like ‘Daar’, ‘Anjam’, Ajay Devgan in ‘Dewangee’, John Abraham in ‘Dhoom’, ‘Zinda’, Emraan Hashmi in ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai’, Sanjay Dutt in ‘Khalnayak’, ‘Vasstav’, Akshay Kumar in ‘Ajnabee’ have all done it and are been highly praised for their performances.

It’s ironic that some of these actors has earned their most positive reviews while doing negative roles, it is because it gives them an opportunity to do something different then what they normally do while playing the good boy roles, grey shade roles offer much more scope for exploring a characters psyche.

Some of the most memorable performance of Shah Rukh Kan came earlier in his career playing grey shade roles, also the most liked performance of John Abraham came in ‘Dhoom’ where he was seen playing a thief, Ajay Devgan has also shown his versatility by playing an villain in ‘Dewangee’ and  who can forget Sanjay Dutt playing the quintessential anti- hero in ‘ Khalnayak’ which he pulled off so brilliantly and his outstanding portrayal of a good young boy turned villain in ‘Vaastav’ has gone down as one of the finest performance in Bollywood.

Even the actress are not behind in playing such dark shade role, they have always set a bench mark in acting with their performances in grey shade roles. From Shabana Azmi to Priyanka Chopra to Vidya Balan to Kareena Kapoor to Konkana Sen Sharma to Bipasha Basu all have given some of the most memorable performances ever in Indian Cinema playing grey shade roles.

Shabana Azmi who will always be remembered for her roles in movies like ‘Neerja’, ‘ Arth’, ‘Masoom’, ‘Nishant’, ‘Ankur’,  and with also for her acting in ‘Makdee’ where she played a scary witch that gave goose bumps to most, every child who saw the film will confirm it. Priyanka Chopra powered her way in bollywood with her performance as Mrs. Sonia Roy in ‘Aitraaz’, while Konkana and Bipasha frightened us with their act in ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ and ‘Raaz 3’ respectively. Aslo Kareena and Vidya Balan have played grey roles in movies like ‘Fida’ and ‘Ishqiya’ earning lot of praises for their acting, and not to forget mentioning the brilliance of kajol in ‘Gupt’.

Actors like Emraan Hashmi has already said that he enjoys playing negative characters as it has more realism than the all out good ones which is the pattern in Bollywood. Shah Rukh Khan has also time and again done grey role from ‘Baazigar to Daar to Anjam to Don Franchise to Raees’ which has earned him the status of King Khan in Bollywood other than his romantic roles.

Today in Bollywood we are seeing that this trend is continuing with actors like Vidyut Jamwal who made his debut as a villain in ‘Force’ opposite John Abraham, Akshay Kumar will be seen in a negative character in ‘Robot 2.0’, once again after ‘Ajnabee’ and ‘Blue’. Ranveer Singh will also be playing a grey character role of Alhaudin Khilji in ‘Padmavati’, as what we have seen in the past, one hope that the trend continues in Bollywood and we get to see our stars playing grey shade roles which has always left a mark on the audience time and again along with the positive roles.

In the past Bollywood has had actors to do grey roles like Danny Danzonpa, Ranjit, Prem Chopra, Pran, Amrish Puri, Shakhti Kapoor, Ajit, Gulshan Grover and many more… but this actors after a certain time also showed their versatility by doing good roles. This showed us that they were not only great in playing one dimension roles but also different.

And after them actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Paresh Rawal  have brilliantly portrayed  different shade roles proving themselves as great character artist,  this could have been  the inspiration behind lead actors like Ajay Devgan, Shah Rukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar, Govinda, John Abraham and others playing dark character roles. This not only gives them different dimensions as actors but allows them to increase their stardom and show case their acting skills.

Actors like Ajay Devgan who always come up with different type of films, could get bored with doing one type of good character roles time and again. People can also get bored by them, seeing them do one type of roles. Perhaps it is also necessary for them to try something new and different.  Also as audiences we love to see them play the bad guys at times in movies and if they do it the way they have done so far there is nothing to complain about and actress like kajol who is known for romantic movies did a magnificent act in ‘Gupt’, showing her acting skills in grey shade role, one just loves to see actress doing such roles again and again rather than just being the good looking lady romancing a handsome man in most movies.

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