Malayalam cinema is blessed with many iconic villains. But have you noticed that they can be grouped into certain categories? Here are the types of villains in Malayalam cinema.
The baap of all villains. They are always a step ahead of and many times stronger than the hero. Defeating the mastermind is a Herculean task. An example of this type of villain is Digambaran from Anandabhadram, and Manoj K Jayan portrayed the character perfectly. Digambaran was skilled at kalari, had mastered black magic and most important of all, he is extremely calm. Though he is the embodiment of pure evil, he did have a soft spot for his crush Bhama and went through a lot of trouble to save her.
The enemy disguised as a friend aka “the frenemy”. This type of villain was popularised by Shakespeare and is the evilest of them all. Their main weapon of destruction is their tongue. Trust and loyalty mean nothing to them. The Shakespearian play Othello has a character named Lago who’s Malayalam version Paniyan was portrayed by Lal in the movie Kaliyattam. Hands down, he is one of the most iconic villains of Malayalam cinema. Paniyan a notable role in Lal’s career and was hus debut performance.
This type of villain is often described as a mirror of the hero, as both of them have striking similarities; only that their intentions are different. A prime example of this type of hero-villain relationship is the hatred between Mangalasseri Neelakandan and Mundakkal Sekaran. If you take a closer look at them, you’ll find a lot of similarities and upon closer inspection, you’ll find that they would not be able to survive without each other.
The unhinged or the mentally disturbed villain is quite popular. They are popularly called “psychos” and usually have a backstory; a traumatic childhood, a love failure, death of their loved ones, etc. And at times this backstory is hidden from the audience to make the character more menacing. Shammi from Kumbalangi Nights is an example of this type of villain.
The Crime-thriller Villain
Nobody suspects the crime-thriller villain until he is caught by the hero, and that happens at the end of the movie. There are clues sprinkled throughout the movie that helps the hero, and in turn, the audience, figure out who he is. And sometimes the villain might be the hero himself like in Mumbai Police and 7th Day. And in other cases, the villain might just be an ordinary man who nobody suspects aka the classic Sethuram Iyyer villain. Anand (Peter) from Memories aced this role.
The corrupt or the typical Ranji Panicker villain is a politician or a police officer on the wrong side of justice. When it comes to this genre, A notable villain in this category is Mohan Thomas from Commissioner. Assistant Commissioner Bharath Chandran IPS needed a nemesis to match his intellect and Mohan Thomas was that nemesis.
The thug is a criminal who thrives on physical strength. He is a beast disguised as a human and has the ability to take on more than one man at a time. A typical example would be Keerikkadan Jose from Kireedam. If there’s a villain who is unanimously loathed by all the Keralites, it is Keerikkadan Jose as he is solely responsible for changing Sethu’s life.
An anti-villain is a character with heroic goals or personality traits, but is ultimately a villain. The anti-villain evokes adoration and sympathy. Anappara Achamma from Godfather can be considered an anti-villain.
The Authority Figure
This type of villain has everything – money, power, and followers. They are manipulative and cunning. Kulapulli Appan from Aaraam Thampuran fits neatly into this category; a feudal landlord who kept an entire village under his thumb.
That was our list. Who is your favourite Mollywood villain, and which type of villain is he/she? Let us know in the comments section.