‘The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture’ is a line quoted by none other than the legendary filmmaker, Alfred hitchcock. How many Indian films have had these successful villains in the story? Just like how the nature is balanced out with the good and the bad traits of it that bind each other equally, a story has it’s good and bad traits. We cannot ‘level up’ the good trait and ‘level down’ the bad trait! Leveling up or leveling down the capability factors of the hero & villain respectively for the sake of it hampers the movie watching experience unfortunately.
Fortunately, the negative or the gray shades given to a character are being acknowledged and loved by many people nowadays.The success rates of the series like the ‘breaking bad, narcos’ are examples to this. Films like Thani Oruvan (2015) and Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016) are also examples for this. Even then, most of our films are failing to incorporate such characters in the story inspite of having a large scope for it. So how some films have failed due to bad villains and how many films have succeeded due to great villains? How have these films created great villains?
Backstories of villains are needed!
Back stories to a character are in most cases favored by most of the viewers as it lets them connect with it. So, creating back stories to a villain paves way for the build-up of the character trait of the villain that initiates an experience to the audience. This is because it hasn’t been done much in our films. I remember, Polladhavan(2007) was one of the very first films in Tamil to bring in the concept of a flashback for the villain! This easily was able to strike a chord with the audience and gave them a ‘never before experience’. Thani Oruvan established the plot of the film through its villain which also was appreciated by many of us.
The most recent film that rightly has created the perfect villain for its story is ‘Spyder’. The backstory in this film was very much needed to justify the sketched out character. If it wasn’t for an effective backstory such as this, the film would’ve totally lost its connect. This backstory was also beneficial in portraying the ‘necessary dark elements surrounding the character’ that gives us the intended chills. A section of people cannot really connect with a psychopath that goes on a killing spree. To them, the iconic ‘Joker’ character from dark knight would sound lame. Even for those kind of people, No question would arise around the villain of Spyder as such is the impact created by its backstory.
When one does not create a villain that is at par with the hero, it totally dishonours the hero. What happened to Kabali (2016)? If Kabali probably gave us a villain who was at par with Rajinikanth, it would’ve been a better experience for us. If Maari had a better villain other than Vijay Yesudas, it would have engaged us more maybe. This has nothing do with the choice of the artists. All I am saying is the potential of the villain’s character could be at the same level as that of the hero. Like, portraying us the strengths of that character could come in handy for this.
If a film has a very loosely written villain, we can even easily guess the ending right? It doesn’t even tickle our thinking brains. This is because we have been seeing films for a long time where our heroes our glorified by the villains being defamed! Gone are those days where a hero was glorified through such cheap tricks. To explore the capability factor of the hero, would you lower the capability factor of the villain? Rather, using the capability factor of the hero to somehow win over the villain’s capability factor is where a story is created! In Spyder, the power of the villain is nowhere lowered and is in fact explored to it’s utmost level. The hero loses in almost most of the conflicts until the one pre climax sequence, only where the hero’s potential is explored to it’s fullest that over takes the villain’s! Even after this, the following scene has the villain winning again! Now that’s where the viewer’s minds are tickled upon on who is going to win in the end.
Scope of the villain can’t be undermined.
Realizing the scope of the villain and sketching out events accordingly is necessary. Like how Sampath in Aaranya Kaandam (2011) cannot just barge in and kill Jackie Shroff. This is because, Jackie shroff is untouchable in it. The scope of his character is that, he’s capable of doing anything to Sampath. Hence, the events unfollow in such a way that it justifies his scope and yet Sampath wins! Now, that’s how the balance is carried out throughout the film. Spyder also carried out this balance almost during the entire film where the hero doesn’t just like that finds who the villain is and kills him as the villain is quite powerful. The director doesn’t use the hero’s brawns to win over the villain. Spyder’s hero makes use of his intelligence quite practically. Nevertheless, the climax fight could’ve been avoided which hampers down the experience created.
Do watch the film Spyder for it’s exceptionally brilliant villain to be sketched out in recent times!