Which Bollywood villain has the best PR?

The people of Ramgarh shivered with fear about the exploits of the dreaded dacoit ‘Gabbar Singh’. As the famous dialogue goes his name is cited to put the fear of well, God, in fussy children. Even as one is immersed in this great narrative of the classic good vs. evil tale, you can’t but admire the exceptional PR skills of Gabbar Singh in spreading his message far and wide.

So we decided to ask the PR pros which villain had the best PR skills and why?

Shakti Kapoor as ‘Crime Master Gogo’ and many other avatars! Auuu!


Why he makes the cut
“With eccentric clothes and repetitive taglines, “Aankhen nikaal ke gotiyaa khelon ga”, independent publicist, Anamika Narang, feels Shakti Kapoor is an effective storyteller of his own brand through sheer consistency of messaging in roles like ‘Crime Master Gogo’. Shakti was the top pick for villain with the best PR moves.

Why his PR skills rock
The Zorro like cape and mask
: He looks the part of the clownish, bumbling villain, giving him the all important “angle” to his story. As Saurabhi, student at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication says, “His appearance with long hair and a particular beard/moustache style does most of the PR for him.”

Zany Dialogues: Literally each of his dialogues are memorable with even a core of crazy wisdom in them. As Argho Ajay Mukherji,  senior account manager, says, “My favourite Shakti Kapoor dialogue is "Aaya hoon, kuchh toh le ke jaaonga" which I guess itself says that he is not going to give up easily on anything.”

He is entertaining: At the end of the day good PR content has a strong element of show and tell. If you can entertain and connect with your audience your work is done.


Gabbar Singh and the art of fear

Even the word iconic pales when you talk about ‘Gabbar Singh’, Though the dacoit villain is a story hook that pops up frequently in Bollywood films, Gabbar Singh is unusual due to the fact that there is no sentimental back story to explain why he turned bad. He just is.

Gabbar Singh’s mad PR skills: Though he doesn’t dress eccentrically like many villains’, he does don a military uniform of sorts in keeping with his dictatorial style. Mainly Gabbar Singh’s PR success comes from the fact that he walks the walk. If he says he will kill, he probably will. This tactic is so successful that the mere mention of his name is enough to strike fear among the villagers.

Centralized Messaging: Gabbar Singh, unlike Crime Master Gogo is no solitary villain. He has a squad, but only he has the swag. There is no danger of multiple spokespersons shooting their mouth off in different directions. Because a dacoit squad can have only one spokesperson.

The pithy dialogues are delivered in a steady voice; actions quickly follow the messaging. There is a certain lack of flamboyance apart from the mocking laugh; all add to his memorable impact.

Stand out Recall

Amjad Khan is probably a rare actor whose villianish character endorsed a brand. It certainly helped the biscuit brand aimed at children, no less, stand out!

“Traditionally no brands would like to be associated with a villain especially when it comes to brand endorsements. But Britannia took such a bold step to use Gabbar as a brand ambassador.”, says Ganapathy Viswanathan, senior VP, Eureka Mobile Advertising.

Ajit and his Mona darling

Style Quotient: A villain fond of killing in odd ways, a bit like a James Bond villain; nattily dressed and can be found elegantly puffing a cigar.

Ajit, the propaganda man: An unusual villain who found his PR style in being an old fashioned propaganda artist. His messaging style can be essentially broken down into:

  • The boasting self –promotion: “Sara Sheher mujhe Loin ke naam se janta hain.” Somehow you believed it. Double meaning and all.
  • Mona Darling – the audience waited for the witless, but shapely ‘Mona Darling’ to be called out and provide the window dressing.
  • Odd ways of killing: Ajit always had an odd way of killing people and he always announced it ahead of the event so that no one had any doubt about what was coming up. Like “Isse nitro-oxygen main dal do. Nitrogen isse jeene nahin dega or oxygen isse marne nahin dega”

 A neater explanation of Schrodinger’s cat I am yet to hear. Did it work? Who cares. The dialogue was delivered with such confidence you wanted it to work.

Special mention: Ra. One

Shreya Mehta, account executive, Ruder • Finn Asia, picks Ra. One, for his proactive campaigning of his negative and powerful reputation in the movie even before the character appears.

Ra. One also dips into mythology and references the biggest baddie of them all for some powerful lines. Says Shreya, “The best dialogue from the movie belonged to him – “Tum har saal Raavan ko isliye jalate ho, kyun ki tum jaante ho ... woh kabhi nahin marta”- Whoa!”

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