10 times South Indian superstars played negative roles: From Suriya in Vikram to Kamal Haasan in Aalavandhan

Over the years, there have been quite a number of superstars who have portrayed a villain or anti-hero role on the big screen. Here are the top 9 South Indian superstars who essayed a negative role.

S Devasankar
Written by S Devasankar , Journalist
Updated on Feb 21, 2024 | 04:13 PM IST | 97K
10 South Indian superstars who played negative roles on screen: Rajinikanth to Kamal Haasan
10 times South Indian superstars played negative roles: From Suriya in Vikram to Kamal Haasan in Aalavandhan

Superstars are often considered to be the epitome of good, and as someone who can do no wrong. This means that whenever they don a negative shaded character on screen, it comes as quite a surprise to the audience. Nonetheless, they even end up rooting for the character.

Quite recently, Mammootty was seen portraying a negative shaded role in his latest film, Bramayugam, helmed by Rahul Sadasivan. While the role is unarguably unique, this is definitely not the first time that a South Indian superstar has portrayed an anti-hero, a villain, or quite simply a negative shaded character on the silver screens. In fact, over the years, there have been several stars, from Rajinikanth to Kamal Haasan to Mohanlal, who have done the same thing. Here are the top 10 South Indian stars who have essayed a negative role in films, in descending order of release.

Top 10 South Indian actors who portrayed an anti-hero on screen

1. Suriya in Vikram (2022)

  • Writer-Director - Lokesh Kanagaraj
  • Runtime - 2 hours 54 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 8.3/10
  • Cast - Kamal Haasan, Fahadh Faasil, Vijay Sethupathi, Suriya, Arjun Das
  • Where to watch - Disney+ Hotstar

Suriya in Vikram (PC. Suriya Instagram)

Suriya’s role as Rolex in Vikram is one that practically needs no introduction. Despite the role being a cameo, it found a place for itself in the hearts of fans. In fact, fans are yearning to see Suriya reprise the role of the dark, gritty and merciless Rolex once again on the big screen. Additionally, Lokesh Kanagaraj has also mentioned that he is planning a standalone film with the character, which adds to the excitement of fans.


2. Fahadh Faasil in Joji (2021)

  • Director - Dileesh Pothan
  • Writer- Syam Pushkaran
  • Runtime - 1 hour 53 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 7.8/10
  • Cast - Fahadh Faasil, Baburaj, Shammi Thilakan, Unnimaya Prasad, Basil Joseph
  • Where to watch - Amazon Prime Video

Fahadh Faasil in Joji (PC. IMDb)

Joji had a direct OTT release, being produced amidst the pandemic. The film is inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and has a similar psychological dramatic undertone to it. Fahadh Faasil plays the anti-hero in the film, who, in order to deal with his inferiority complex, is ready to do anything and everything. The film was very well received at the time of release, and is considered one of the best films to come out in the pandemic years.

3. Vijay Sethupathi in Vikram Vedha (2017)

  • Writer-Director - Pushkar-Gayathri
  • Runtime - 2 hours 27 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 8.2/10
  • Cast - R Madhavan, Vijay Sethupathi, Kathir, Hareesh Peradi, Shraddha Srinath, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar
  • Where to watch - Disney+ Hotstar

Vijay Sethupathi in Vikram Vedha (PC. Vijay Sethupathi FB)

Vikram Vedha, helmed by Pushkar and Gayathri, is a 2017 gangster film, heavily inspired by the folktale of King Vikramadithya and Vetal. The film dealt with the concepts of morality and asked the questions of who is right and who is wrong. Vedha, played by Vijay Sethupathi, is a hardened gangster, who turns to the world of crime for his survival. What he does is justified from his life, and point of view.

4. Chiyaan Vikram in Iru Mugan (2016)

  • Writer-Director - Anand Shankar
  • Runtime - 2 hours 34 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 6.3/10
  • Cast - Chiyaan Vikram, Nayanthara, Nithya Menen, Nassar
  • Where to watch - Disney+ Hotstar

Vikram in Iru Mugam (PC. IMDb)

Chiyaan Vikram plays a dual role in the 2016 action entertainer Iru Mugan, one, the protagonist, a RAW agent, and the second, the antagonist, a transgender woman named Love. The actor received widespread acclaim for his role as the antagonist which he pulled off quite convincingly. However, this is not the first time Chiyaan Vikram portrayed the role of an anti-hero on screen. In 2005, the actor played the titular role in Shankar’s Anniyan, who was a vigilante using unconservative means to punish crimes.


5. Mammootty in Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathirakolapathakathinte Katha (2009)

  • Writer-Director - Ranjith
  • Runtime - 2 hours 35 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 7.7/10
  • Cast - Mammootty, Mythili, Shweta Menon, Sreenivasan
  • Where to watch - SunNXT

Mammootty in Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathirakolapathakathinte Katha (PC IMDb)

Mammootty plays a triple role in this mystery crime film, helmed by Ranjith. The film tells the tale of a private detective from New Delhi, who goes back to his hometown, Paleri, to investigate the murder of a woman named Manikyam, which took place 50 years ago, but was ruled off as a mystery. Mammootty convincingly played an old feudal lord named Ahmed Haaji and his son Khalid Ahmed in the film as well. Interestingly, Mammootty has played several negative shaded characters throughout the course of his career, including the 1994 film Vidheyan, by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, the 2022 films Puzhu and Rorschach and many more. His role in Vidheyan is considered to be one of the best roles in the actor’s career.

6. Thalapathy Vijay in Azhagiya Tamizh Magan (2007)

  • Writer-Director - Bharathan
  • Runtime - 2 hours 58 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 51/10
  • Cast - Thalapathy Vijay, Shriya Saran, Namitha, Santhanam
  • Where to watch - SunNXT

Thalapathy Vijay in Azhagiya Tamil Magan(PC IMDb)

The 2007 action film Azhagiya Tamizh Magan features Thalapathy Vijay in a dual role, and follows quite an interesting tale of two doppelgangers with opposite characteristics who come across each other. The actor was praised for his versatile characters in the film, especially the careless attitude of the antagonist.

7. Kamal Haasan in Aalavandhan (2001)

  • Director - Suresh Krissna
  • Writer- Kamal Haasan
  • Runtime - 2 hours 58 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 7.2/10
  • Cast - Kamal Haasan, Raveena Tandon, Manisha Koirala, Milind Gunaji, Anu Haasan
  • Where to watch - Amazon Prime Video

Kamal Haasan in Aalavandhan (PC IMDb)


Kamal Haasan plays twins Vijay Kumar and Nanda Kumar in this 2001 psychological action thriller film. Nanda Kumar, aka Nandu, suffers from schizophrenia, and turns into a psychopath due to childhood trauma. He has an aversion to women, and thinks they cannot be trusted. The story revolves around how Nandu escapes his asylum with the sole objective of killing his twin brother’s fiancee. The film was simultaneously shot in Hindi as Abhay. Over the years, Aalavandhan has gained a cult status, and is considered one of the best works of Kamal Haasan. The film has also inspired Quentin Tarantino to use an animated form to show violence in his 2002 film Kill Bill. 

Furthermore, Kamal Haasan will also be seen portraying the role of an antagonist in the upcoming science-fiction film Kalki 2898 AD which features Prabhas in the lead.

8. Ajith Kumar in Vaalee (1999)

  • Writer-Director - SJ Suryah
  • Runtime - 2 hours 47 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 7.9/10
  • Cast - Ajith Kumar, Jyothika, Simran, Vivek, Livingston
  • Where to watch - Amazon Prime Video

Ajith Kumar in Vaalee (PC IMDb)

The SJ Suryah directorial features Ajith Kumar in a dual role as twin brothers, Shiva and Deva, the latter being deaf and mute. Shiva falls in love, and marries a woman named Priya. However, Deva is attracted to her as well, and goes into a psychotic state trying to get what he wants, even if it means hurting Priya. The film received widespread acclaim at the time of release, and has even gained a cult status. Ajith has also played anti-heroes in films like Billa (2007) and Mankatha (2011).

9. Mohanlal in Irupatham Noottandu (1987)

  • Director - K Madhu
  • Writer-  SN Swamy
  • Runtime - 2 hours 30 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 7.7/10
  • Cast - Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Ambika, Jagathy Sreekumar, Santhosh
  • Where to watch - YouTube

Mohanlal in Irupatham Noottandu(PC IMDb)

If you ask any Mohanlal fan for recommendations, Irupatham Noottandu will definitely be one of the most popular films they recommend. The film features the actor as a young gold smuggler, who helps his friend run the underworld business with his wit. A ruthless anti-hero open to violence, smuggling and more, but not devoid of morals. Mohanlal’s character is staunchly against smuggling drugs, and quickly turns against his partner, when they suggest narcotic smuggling. The film has given some of the most popular lines in Malayalam cinema in the last 40 years, including “Sagar alias Jacky” and one of the most repeated lines of Mohanlal: “Narcotics is a dirty business”. 


However, this is not the first time Mohanlal played an anti-hero on screen. In fact, the actor began his career in 1980 as a villain in the film Manjil Virinja Pookkal, helmed by Fahadh Faasil’s father Fazil.

10. Rajinikanth as Billa (1980)

  • Director - R Krishnamoorthy
  • Writer- AL Narayanan
  • Runtime - 2 hours 55 mins
  • IMDb Rating - 7.5/10
  • Cast - Rajinikanth, Sripriya, Balaji, AVM Rajan, Major Sundarrajan
  • Where to watch - YouTube

Rajinikanth in BIlla (PC IMDb)

Billa is a major landmark in Rajinikanth’s career, and helped establish the actor as a successful anti-hero. The film is the Tamil remake of the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Don, and gained widespread acclaim at the time of release. The film revolves around the titular character who is a hardened gangster, running the world of crime. What happens when he is killed, and the interpol faces the challenge of reaching the crime boss forms the crux of the story. The film was also remade in 2007 with Ajith Kumar and Nayanthara in the lead.


Since Billa, Rajinikanth has featured in several films as an anti-hero or a negative shaded character including Shankar’s Enthiran, and is said to have a negative shaded role in his upcoming film with Lokesh Kanagaraj.

ALSO READ: Ajith Kumar and Nayanthara starrer Billa to re-release in Tamil Nadu on THIS day

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A graduate in Economics, with heart made of cinema, Devasankar is vividly in love with world cinema! A true



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