Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

Let’s forget the Jokers and the Anton Egos of this world and go way back. The modern agent of evil is not a straight forward nihilistic mastermind of death and power any longer (what a shame!). Nowadays the modern villain is more of an anti-hero, who probably has been pushed so far off over the edge by humanity that the audience has no other choice but to sympathise or even empathise with the character. You know what?
Screw that.
Bring on the violent and the merciless! Bring on the destruction of good for no rhyme or reason! Bring on the ruthlessness that only existed in 80’s villains! Bring on…MOGAMBO!

Yes, I just recently watch Mr. India for the nth time, and originally I was going to talk about the entirety of the brilliance of that movie, but I just thought that maybe I should just focus on what I think to be one of the greatest characters ever in film history. After all really what is Mr. India without Mogambo? He’s just another awesome guy fighting not-so-awesome villains. Throw Amrish Puri with a horrendous blonde wig into the fray, and NOW we’re talking. Because all heroes need to prove their heroism. The brilliance of Mr. India is that he is the aam aadmi (regular person) so to speak; he is the everyman who decides that his country is in shit and that it needs to be rectified. The over-quoted “with great power” line cannot be more appropriate. But like all good vs. evil scenarios there must be the anomaly. There must be the rogue. He is the Smith to Mr. India’s Neo, no! Smith is the Mogambo to Neo’s Mr. India.

Mogambo is the melodramatic epitome of evil albeit with what he thinks to be a noble cause. He is also tired of all the corruption in India and decides to take over in a dictatorial manner, thus making him more so an idealist, than anything else: “Mogambo ke irrade aasman se bhi unche hain!” (Mogambo’s aims/intentions go higher than the sky!) And the power he commands! Just see that opening scene when they first reveal the very Dr. No-like technological fortress and Mogambo himself appears for the first time. From the rings drumming upon the globe-armrest, to the soldiers he commands to jump into the lava pit just to confirm his authority, and finally to the soldiers themselves who offer themselves as sacrifice, there last words only being “Hail Mogambo!” That is respect you can’t freaking buy man. Also, Mogambo has the greatest dialogue delivery ever, man! That slight rise in pitch in the middle of each sentence? Classic. And the suit. Who doesn't love the suit?

And even his demise (as it comes about after a kickass fistfight with Mr.India), just shows the resilience this man has. After being pretty much electrocuted on the very destroyed controls of his missile silo, he still in typical fashion commands the scene, putting Mr. India in a catch-22: Either him and the gang explodes, or India itself!

Amrish Puri (May he rest in peace) created one of the most formidable and sadistic villains of all time in a movie that has become cult greatly because of his presence and sheer ability to be hated, and though Gabbar Singh and many others have come close (some may argue that Gabbar was still better) there is still an undeniable likability about the often hilarious but fundamental concept of villain in Mogambo. The debate I guess will go on and perhaps I don’t rate him as the best in history but man, he’s pretty high up there, and I hope that this character gets his due, and ki once more perhaps Mogambo probably khush hua.

Fun Fact: Mogambo means 'passion' in Swahili!

3 responses to "The Greatest Movie Villain of All Time?"

  1. Man, I could have said so much more about this guy. Damn.


  2. Great fucking post Tejas. I haven't seen you write like this in way too long man.
    I haven't seen it myself (I freaking want to NOW) but I fully appreciate the older, more uni dimensional villains. Like Travolta in Broken Arrow. i've always maintained, that man could play any fucking role, but as a villain he's always had that awesome badass quality only Agent Smith and arguably The Joker have been able to emulate.
    Anyway, awesome post. I was watching Transformers again and man, everybody needs a megatron! Or a Gelbatron for some...
    Today's verification word: belmiace


  3. hahhaha... he is awesome!!!
    Mr. India is one of the first movies i loved so much cos he was the one of the first indian (comic)super hero man... probably shaktiman was before him!!! And it fuking kept playing in Zee Cinema man... fuking miss that shit!!loved the post
    BUT... Gabbar was better man.. he was a Daku man...a true realistic villain.fuking dangerous man!!
    I love Gabbar. Sholay rocks man. jai and Veeru..and dhannu....hahaha i am just ranting things i remember... i miss it man... fuk Canada!!!
    I just wanna watch Zee Cinema man!!
    Today's verification word: Sesses...asshole!


The All of us.

The All of us.