Friday, November 13

Most Iconic Characters of Hindi Cinema from 2000-2009 (Part 1)

I was taking part in a discussion on an Orkut community and came up with this idea of discussing about the most iconic characters that have come out in the last 9 years (one more to go to complete the decade). I think I'm being impatient by writing this article before the decade gets completed, but since I am jobless, I am making my list. And this list is about characters, not performances, I'm reminding you. The characters that have stayed on in our minds long after we're done with the movie. It can be because of the peculiarity of the characters, written and fleshed out by the writer and/or director, can be because of the performance of the actor who played that character on screen, or can even be because of the popularity the character achieved. They may not necessarily be from great movies, may not necessarily have great performances, but may have been memorable, nevertheless. I'm making a list, in no particular order, though I'm starting with my favourite.

Munnabhai - Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Lage Raho Munnabhai

If a character is repeated in two hugely successful films, that too, 2 among the all time bests of Hindi Cinema, you can know its not such a small thing!! Munnabhai wins the most iconic character title hands down because he is perhaps the most loved character on screen this decade. Sanjay Dutt got a fresh lease of life with Munnabhai MBBS which came like a whiff of fresh air. Munnabhai was a goon with a heart of gold and with his lovable gyaan, jaadu ki jhappis and carrom board games, he won over the hearts of people all over India. The film was remade into Tamil and Telugu and even the inimitable Kamal Haasan couldnt match the charm that Sanjay Dutt brought into this character. His Mumbaiyya lingo made the whole country go wild, with everyone addressing each other as 'Mamu' and saying, 'Tension nahin lene ka, apun hain na!' When people were informed that he is going to come on screen again, they became even more excited, as well as skeptical, whether it would work the second time around. But Munna came again, this time with Gandhigiri instead of jaadu ki jhappis, and the rest, as we know, is history!! For the first time ever, a sequel was made which was better than the original in all spheres and Munnabhai became immortal. In fact, Sanjay Dutt banked on his Munnabhai image a lot, when he was trying to build himself a political career. The movie also made people see him in a different light, and many people felt so bad that their Munnabhai had to go to Jail, within a year of Lage Raho's release. Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Abbas Tyrewala, Abhijat Joshi and of course, Sanjay Dutt, made this one of the most memorable characters in Indian Film History. We cant wait to see Munnabhai going to America and teaching those whites some lessons. All we can say is, Lage Raho Munnabhai!!!

Circuit - Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Lage Raho Munnabhai

How can i talk about Munnabhai without mentioning Circuit? Circuit is almost like Munnabhai's shadow. He would do anything, just anything for his bhai. Arshad Warsi came out of semi-retirement to do this role of a lifetime and got his career going in full swing once again. In MBBS, he was the man friday of Munna who would do any job that his bhai wanted to get done, including making a chinese tourist into a dead body to be sent for study at the hospital. When Munna returned, none of the other characters were retained, except for Circuit. Because if there's no Circuit, there's no Munna. The gold chains and black kurta was still there, with an additional red tinted aviator glasses this time around. Circuit does the same again, stand by Munna and get whatever he asks for. But some trouble happens between them and Munna slaps Circuit out of anger. This leads up to what is perhaps one of the best scenes ever in Hindi Cinema where Munna and Circuit realize that they are inseparable. Even when I was searching for Munnabhai pictures to put on this post, I couldnt find a single picture which didnt have Circuit along with Munna. So that proves that they ARE quite inseparable. And when Munna gets ready for his American visit, Circuit is all set to go with him too. They have already started learning English quite seriously you know!!

Dev D - Dev D

Trust Anurag Kashyap to come up with the most whackiest things possible. Who would have thought that the legendary heartbroken loser Devdas, could have such an avtar in the contemporary times of 2009? Abhay Deol gave this concept to Anurag and he made a deadly film out of that concept. He turned the whole idea of Devdas on its head and gave us a brand new Devdas. This Devdas loses everything in life because he makes wrong decisions, not because he was bound to be a tragic lover. Dev D is an insecure, insensitive, selfish, self-centred loser and he ruins his life on alcohol and drugs, thinking about the mistakes he made, much after he had made them. This new Dev D made Shahrukh Khan's Devdas look like a clown in front of it. By the end of the movie, Dev realizes that he was the 'Slut' actually. And the movie has a completely different ending from all the Devdas stories we have heard so far. This movie released this year and the character is still very fresh in everyone's minds. It has to be seen whether it stays that way in the years to come. I seriously think it will. 

DJ (Diljith Singh) - Rang De Basanti

This list would be incomplete without DJ. Rang De Basanti is an iconic film and the character that stands out in this film is Aamir Khan's DJ who also takes the role of the fierce revolutionary Chandrashekhar Azad. DJ is a lovable rascal, who is not serious about his life. But during the course of the movie, DJ realizes that there is some fire within him also, and it was waiting to be kindled. One issue does that, and DJ goes all out to fight for that issue. As he says in perhaps the best dialogue in the movie - 'Zindagi jeene ke dui tareeke hote hain. Ek- Jo ho raha hai, hone do. Bardaasht karte jaao. Ya phir, zimmedaari uthao use badalne ki.' This dialogue would probably summarize DJ's character. DJ is loads of fun, but inside, there was always a fiery rebel. His mast life changes when he is forced to step into the shoes of the revolutionary Chandrashekhar Azad and think like him. The lines between the present and past blur away and the rebel in DJ does exactly what Azad would have done. Aamir is totally credible as the college boy who refuses to go out of his university, who later becomes a rebel and a hero. 

Subhash Nagre - Sarkar and Sarkar Raj

Hindi Cinema got its very own Godfather through Sarkar. Ramgopal Varma made this ambitious adaptation of the classic 'The Godfather' in 2005, with his most favourite actor, Amitabh Bachchan, stepping into the shoes of Don Corleone (Marlon Brando). There was also a desi touch, strikingly inspired by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray (and this led to a lot of protests until Ramu made peace with the Shiv Sena people). The movie was all about the man that Subhash Nagre is. A worthy adaptation, Ramu was able to create a character as strong as Don Corleone, but in the Mumbai context. Amitabh's towering screen presence and performance was certainly one his best ever. And Ramu's close up shots of Subhash Nagre drinking tea, waving his hands and moving his fingers, have become legendary. The whole attire- the glasses, the teekha on the forehead, the black kurta, the rudraksh mala and the grey hair and beard added to the appeal. Ramu decided to bring back the character again in the sequel, which wasnt as much a hit as the first one. Subhash Nagre had taken a backseat in that, but his power was still omnipresent. And at a certain point, he is forced to come back into his position. And then, he is unbelievable. The power of this character is unbelievable. In the original Godfather, the Don dies in the first movie itself. But because Ramu was so much in awe of his own creation, he made him the hero of the sequel too. And that worked very well too. I dont think anybody can forget Subhash Nagre quite easily. And talks about his return are also being heard quite often on Ramgopal Varma's blog.

Ok. This was the first of the series of posts I'm planning for the most iconic characters of Hindi Cinema from 2000-2009. This feature will be continued in the next post. I'm sure that the above mentioned characters have had an iconic place in Hindi Cinema and will still continue to have. Tell me what you think about the list. And contribute if you can think of other characters too. I shall update them in the coming posts. 


  1. Ishaan NandaKishore Avasti... You will not leave him out I guess ;)

  2. definitely not.. he'd surely be there in the next parts of this article..