The Evolution Of Villains In Tamil Cinema

Over the years, we have seen a variety of villains in Tamil cinema. Most of the time new heroes enter Kollywood and leave with equal excitement. But our Kollywood villains always have an evergreen presence. Whether it is one film or hundreds of films, some villains always stay iconic. With their menacing demeanor as well as their backstory, they create a strong presence on the screen. Sometimes even stronger than the heroes. Furthermore, most villains have a fanbase equal to that of the main leads. Some thrill us with their clever tactics while some with their intimidating presence.

The evolution of villains in Tamil cinema is quite dynamic. Here, let us see some prominent actors who were tormenting our beloved heroes over the years. Also, explore the article to know how our Kollywood villains evolved and continue to captivate audiences today.

1. Iconic Villains In Kollywood
M. N. Nambiar

When we say a classic supervillain, the one name that strikes immediately is – M. N. Nambiar. Tamil Cinema’s own villain with divine personality he was. He was that bad guy on-screen with tremendous expression whereas he was a Gurusamy for hundreds of Ayyappa devotees off-screen. When it comes to his villainous acting, Nambiar delivered his peak performance. Be it ‘Enga Veetu Pillai’ or his special appearance in ‘Ulagam Sutrum Valiban’, Nambiar’s body language and screen presence speak a lot. Apart from villainous role, he did a super amazing supporting role in ‘Winner’. The comedy scenes of him with Vadivelu are still everyone’s favourite. The villain personality that stands number one in Kollywood is Nambiar.

S. A. Ashokan

Kollywood did see the stylish villain in its classic period. One such personality was S. A. Ashokan. He was most famous for his negative roles and equally known as a character artist too. Ashokan acted as a opponent to legendary figures including MGR and Shivaji Ganesan. His performances in ‘Vallavanuku Vallavan’ and ‘Duryodhana in a mythological film, ‘Karnan’ were applauded. His portrayal as ‘Professor Bhairavan’ in MGR-starrer ‘Ulagam Sutrum Valiban’ is a striking one. It was landmark performance in his acting career. There are multiple films to add to this list and he reminds forever in the hearts of the fans.

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Whenever Raghuvaran’s movie is broadcast on television, it always draws compliments. From ‘Baasha’ to ‘Mudhalvan’ and ‘Ratchagan’ to ‘Kadhalan’, he always proved that he is the master of villains. His roles in ‘Anjali’ and ‘Mugavaree’ also prove his versatility as an actor. Furthermore, his powerful performances have led to some strong heroes in Kollywood. Though he departed early, he will be remembered for his memorable and iconic villain roles for the years to come.

Prakash Raj

When we think of him, we immediately recall the countless times he played the bad guy in Tamil films. Throughout the course of more than 3 decades, he played a variety of roles in Tamil. Especially his role as ‘Muthupaandi’ still stands as an iconic villain character. But even before ‘Ghilli’ his villainsim peaked in the 1995 hit film ‘Asai’. His performance as a cold-hearted and lustrous ‘Major Madhavan’ is easily one of the best villains in Kollywood.


Nasser is one of Tamil cinema’s beloved villains. He played different varieties of villainous roles in Kollywood. From ‘Thevar Magan’ and ‘Kruthipunal’ to the recent ‘Bahubali’ he oozes versatility in every single role. He is also a fearless actor when it comes to experimenting. From a heartless villain to a humorous villain, he fits every role effortlessly. He is among the very few actors who can balance villainism as well as humor.

Kota Srinivasa Rao

This veteran actor is one of the most celebrated villains in the early 2000s. Be it ‘Perumal Pichai’ or ‘Saniyan Saggadai’, he is just perfect for every villain role. Especially, his aggressive and impulsive nature will keep audiences on the edge of their seat. Also, his unique dialogue delivery has a fanbase in itself.

Apart from that, we also have actors like Sathyaraj, Kalabhavan Mani, and Mansoor Ali Khan who ruled the industry as iconic villains. Meantime, we also had a set of female villains setting their foot strong in Kollywood. Let’s look at some of them.

2. Female Villains In Kollywood
Ramya Krishnan

Ramya Krishnan as Neelambari is an iconic character from Padayappa. Neelambari eventually became the epitome of jealousy and vengeance. The character also paved the way for similar female villains in Kollywood. Ramya Krishnan’s performance also won her high praise. It also cemented her position as one of Kollywood’s most powerful performers. Her elegant yet intense attitude helped to make Neelambari a memorable villain. Furthermore, Neelambari still inspires many actors and directors. Thus many unconventional female villain roles sprouted in Kollywood.


You may find this name slightly unfamiliar, but the character ‘Sornakka’ is not new. Actress Shakuntala is remembered in Kollywood as ‘Sornakka’. Furthermore, the name even became synonymous with ‘unruly women’. Sornakka with her masculine attitude, angry face, and loud voice triggers fear in every one of us. There were also many attempts to recreate similar fiery female villains. But most of them couldn’t match actress Shakuntala’s performance as Sornakka.

Shriya Reddy

Another unruly and arrogant female lead similar to ‘Sornakka’ is ‘Easwari’. Shriya’s ragging performance in the 2006 hit ‘Thimiru’ is undoubtedly one of the best. Easwari was a rude, loud, and complex character. Many even praised her for her effortless performance. Though she played versatile roles in films like ‘Kanchivaram’ and ‘Pallikoodam’, she is still known to many as the arrogant young ‘Easwari’.

Reema Sen

Reema Sen is one of the underrated female villains in Kollywood. At first, she captivated everyone with her poise roles in ‘Minnale’ and ‘Chellame’. Within a short span, the actress transformed into a cruel villain in movies like ‘Vallavan’ and ‘Ayirathil Oruvan’. In fact, both the villain roles are very versatile. Still, Reema Sen managed to fascinate the audience with her performance.

3. Traumatizing Villains

There was a period when psychological thrillers and devotional flicks ruled the box office. The films showcased some unpleasant antagonists who left a lasting impact on the viewers. These villains left a sense of dread and unease.

Rami Reddy

One of the most horrific villains in the 90s is Rami Reddy. His spooky performance as Gorakh is still a nightmare for many. His villain role in ‘Amman’ also infamously earned him the name ‘Janda’.

Daniel Balaji

When it comes to psychotic villains, who can even forget ‘Amudhan’? Daniel Balaji as Amudhan is undoubtedly one of the best horrific villains. Despite the presence of big stars like Kamal Haasan and Jyotika, it was ‘Amudhan’ who truly made the movie exceptional.

Saravanan (Christopher)

Saravanan aka Christopher from Ratchasan is another terrifying villain in recent times. His creepy looks and spine-chilling attitude exude horror. Also, ‘Christopher’ is one of the best menacing characters ever written in Kollywood.

4. Bollywood Hunks As Villains

From creepy villains, Kollywood slowly moved to handsome hunks. Right from 2010, we could witness several Bollywood heartthrobs like Vivek Oberoi, Upen Patel, and Sunil Shetty as villains in Kollywood. Here let’s see a few others who captivated the audience with their looks and attitude.

Vidyut Jammwal

Vidyut made his entry into Kollywood in 2012 as a villain in two notable films: ‘Billa 2’ alongside Ajith and ‘Thupakki’ alongside Vijay. Also, for the first time, people were ‘awwed’ by a villain despite the film having bigger stars as leads.

Sonu Sood

This handsome hunk has been working in the Tamil industry for more than 2 decades. Earlier he acted in films like ‘Majnu’ and ‘Nenjinile’. But the actor got his utmost fame with ‘Arundhati’ as ‘Pasupathi’.

Neil Nitin Mukesh

Neil Nitin is another handsome villain introduced by A.R.Murugadoss. His performance as a stylish corporate villain in ‘Kaththi’ garnered praise. Furthermore, he also had a special ‘Bad Eyes Villain’ score which got instant love from fans.

5. Former Heartthrobs As 2K Villains
Arun Vijay

Arun Vijay as ‘Victor’ is undoubtedly one of the best villains for Ajith Kumar to date. Though it is his debut as a villain, he received accolades from everyone. The movie also elevates every time he appears on the screen. His classy appearance and aggressive attitude easily made him one of the stylish antagonists of Kollywood. Moreover, this villain role also proved to be a turning point in his career.

Aravind Swamy

Siddharth Abhimanyu is unquestionably one of Kollywood’s finest villains. With smart looks and clever tactics, the character crafts villainism in a unique way. Moreover, Aravind Swamy’s charismatic persona added a definition to the role. The role also paved the way for many other ‘smart villains’ in Kollywood who creates chaos with their well-planned moves.


Vinay Rai charmed everyone as a protagonist in ‘Unnale Unnale’ and ‘Jayamkondan’. Later with films like ‘Thupparivaalan’ and ‘Doctor’ he slowly transitioned into negative roles. Vinay easily brings depth to his roles with his impressive acting skills. This former model-turned-actor is now a complete ‘Kollywood Villain’. He also currently has several projects in the pipeline.


Prasanna is another underrated Kollywood actor. Though he acted as the lead in many movies, his negative roles always deserve a special place. Especially, his role as ‘Daya’ in the 2008 hit ‘Anjaathe’. Daya is such a spiteful character and no one ever imagined that Prasanna could pull off with his charming looks.

6. Heroes As Villains

Heroes as villains are not a recent trend. It’s been happening for years. Especially when the hero has a dual role, we can expect one of them to be the villain. For example

● Rajini (Chitti) in Endhiran

● Kamal (Fletcher) in Dasavathaaram and as ‘Nandhu’ in Aalavandhan

● Chiyaan Vikram (Love) in Iru mugan

● Ajith (Deva) in Vaalee

● Vijay (Prasad) in Azhagiya Tamizh Magan

● Dhanush (Kathir) in Naane Varuven

● Suriya (Athreya) in 24

Suriya’s recent portrayal as ‘Rolex’ also garnered appreciation. Apart from these top heroes we also have our Makkal Selvan who has been balancing protagonist as well antagonist roles for years. Right from ‘Vikram Vedha’ to the recent ‘Vikram’ he fascinates people with his unpredictable roles and acting.

Thus villains in Kollywood have evolved significantly over the years. From stereotypical classic villains to smart and complex characters, the evolution has happened so smoothly. Also, as the industry continues to grow, we can expect even more captivating villains in the future.

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Aravind Swamyarun vijayAsokanKamalMGRNambiarNasserNeil Nitin MukeshPrakash RajPrasannaRaghuvaranrajinikanthRamya krishnanShivajiSonu Sood​Vidyut JammwalVinay