Renowned Indian author, journalist and film critic Anupama Chopra has written several books on Indian cinema and has been a film critic for television channel NDTV along with leading publications in India.
She also hosted a weekly film review show The Front Row with Anupama Chopra on Star World. Anupama won the 2000 National Film Award for Best Book on Cinema for her first book Sholay: The Making Of A Classic.
Anupama said: “Indian cinema has a rich history of unforgettable characters. So this list is by no means an ultimate chronological list of favourites, as my choice often gravitates depending on my mood.”
Gabbar Singh (Sholay): Portrayed by Amjad Khan, the character of Gabbar Singh in Sholay is one of the greatest villains ever. He is iconic, memorable and Sholay is one of my favourite films.
Mogambo (Mr India): I love Amrish Puri’s depiction of Mogambo in Mr India. Mogambo is one of the great comic villains of Hindi cinema and has so many memorable moments, including his infamous catchphrase, ‘Mogambo khush hua’.
Vijay Khanna (Kabhi Kabhie): In my opinion, Vijay Khanna (Shashi Kapoor) is one of Hindi cinema’s most evolved male characters. I especially love the scene in which he confronts the man who loved his wife (played by Amitabh Bachchan). But instead of accusations, he berates himself for not being more understanding. It’s remarkable.
Raj Malhotra (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge): Is there a woman alive who doesn’t respond to Raj? Played by Shah Rukh Khan, Raj set the bar so high that all of us started looking for him in our partners. A man who does Karva Chauth (religious fast), helps you to choose the right sari and one who stands in a mustard field and sings.
Munna Bhai (Munna Bhai MBBS): I guess this is a conflict of interest because these films were produced by my husband (Vidhu Vinod Chopra), but I believe the Munna Bhai movies are modern classics. Sanjay Dutt made you fall in love with a goon.
Pooja (Arth): Here was a woman who found her courage and self-respect after her husband abandons her for another woman. Shabana Azmi delivered a stupendous, award-winning performance in the classic drama.
Radha (Mother India): The character played by legendary actress Nargis set the foundation for the role of mothers in Hindi cinema. She established the mother as the moral centre. She is quite simply unforgettable.
Major Ranjit Singh (Haqeeqat): This is a memorable character from arguably the greatest Hindi war film ever made. Legendary actor Balraj Sahini was outstanding in his portrayal.
Chulbul Pandey (Dabangg): I think this film simply has a perfect fit between actor and character – Salman Khan was born to play this role.
Vijay Verma (Deewar): Vijay is a man with a bruised soul. This is, to my mind, Amitabh Bachchan’s most unforgettable performance. The sadness in his eyes and the anger in his voice spoke volumes.