The day urban-cool Saif was reintroduced as sly Langda Tyagi, and we were stumped

There was a time when having a villain was as essential to the plot as the hero and heroine. Times changed, and so did the characters and stories. In fact, if we look at the past two decades of Bollywood, we would not find menacing villains, the likes of Gabbar Singh and Mogambo, which were immortalised by actors like Amjad Khan and Amrish Puri. But, in the year 2006, something changed on this front. Vishal Bhardwaj’s ambitious take on Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, named ‘Omkara’, was just about to introduce one of the most vicious negative characters on screen. And guess what, it was to be played by the chocolate boy of Bollywood, the nawab, Saif Ali Khan. The character was that of Langda Tyagi, inspired from Iago from ‘Othello’, and it instantly transformed Saif Ali Khan for us.

This Vishal Bhardwaj directorial had featured an ensemble cast of actors like Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Vivek Oberoi and Bipasha Basu. But, it was Saif Ali Khan’s rugged and sly character that stayed with viewers as they left the theatre screens, eventually turning it into an iconic character. The actor gave up his cool, contemporary and urban image and literally transformed himself. The actor shaved his hair and had stopped brushing for almost 15 days so that his yellowish teeth could add that much needed appeal to the character.

Although the actor had previously played a negative role in filmmaker Sriram Raghavan’s film, ‘Ek Hasina Thi’ alongside Urmila Matondkar, this character was rather more subtle and cool, and drastically different from Langda Tyagi.

Recently, there were reports that the makers of this film are all set to bring back this character Langda Tyagi in a spin-off film which would revolve around his character only. Sources said that the script for the spin-off is currently being written. There have been multiple propositions on how to create the narrative. The story will put the spotlight on how this character became the way he is.

Sly, cunning, devious, the character of Langda Tyagi surely was one of the most menacing villains ever seen on the big screens, and Saif delivered the same in the most convincing manner. In fact, come to think of it, no one else could have done justice to the character as well as he did.

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