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Top 10 villains in south Indian movies - From Prakash Raj to Sunil, Vinayakan, Sonu Sood, Sanjay Dutt and more

The top villains in south Indian films include local talent and big names from Bollywood, like, Rahul Dev, Sonu Sood or Sanjay Dutt. Here are some of the popular villains in south Indian films

Top 10 villains in south Indian movies - From Prakash Raj to Sunil, Vinayakan, Sonu Sood, Sanjay Dutt and more
From Sunil to Jagapathi Babu, P Ravi Shankar, Sonu Sood and more

Last Updated: 09.59 AM, Apr 12, 2024

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In commercial cinema, a hero always needed a villain to take on; the more menacing the better. But with changing times and the hero with grey shades becoming the more popular norm, having one main antagonist is no longer the in-thing. Amid this changing tide in cinema, there are still some actors who are best known for their villainous antics onscreen.

If you look at the list of top villains in south Indian films, it will have a healthy mix of local talent as well as big names from even Bollywood, like, Rahul Dev, Sonu Sood or even Sanjay Dutt, for that matter. Rahul Bose will soon be seen as the main villain opposite Shivarajkumar in Bhairathi Ranagal. 

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Top villains in South Indian film industries – Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam

Sanjay Dutt

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Once a popular leading man in Hindi cinema, Sanjay Dutt is a much in demand villain in Hindi cinema as well as south films. From KGF: Chapter 2’s Adheera to Leo’s Antony Das, the actor is quickly making his mark down south, with yet another antagonist role in Dhruva Sarja’s KD-The Devil coming up shortly. Sanjay is also in an upcoming Prabhas’ film but that may not be outright evil or have grey shades.

Jagapathi Babu

Jagapathi Babu in Salaar
Jagapathi Babu in Salaar

Jagapathi Babu’s been playing villain for about a decade now, donning antagonist roles across Telugu, Tamil and Kannada cinema. Most recently, the actor was seen in Prabhas’ Salaar Ceasefire and Mahesh Babu’s Guntur Kaaram and has Pushpa 2: The Rule in the pipeline.

Vinayakan

Vinayakan as the villain in Rajinikanth's Jailer
Vinayakan as the villain in Rajinikanth's Jailer

Kerala state award winner for Best Actor, Vinayakan gained wide-spread popularity after playing the antagonist Varman in Rajinikanth’s Jailer. The actor’s next biggie as antagonist is the much-delayed Vikram-Gautam Vasudev Menon combo, Dhruva Natchathiram.

Daali Dhananjaya

Dhananjaya as Pushpa's Jolly Reddy
Dhananjaya as Pushpa's Jolly Reddy

Dhananjaya is a popular leading man in Kannada cinema now, but he had a phase in which he did antagonist roles too, notably in films like Tagaru, Yajamana, Pogaru and Pushpa. In fact, Dhananjaya’s character in Tagaru, Daali, was so widely appreciated and gave his career a fillip. The name stuck, and Dhananjaya even adopted it as the title of his home banner.

Kabir Duhan Singh

Kabir Duhan Singh
Kabir Duhan Singh

Model-actor Kabir Duhan Singh is a popular villain in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu cinema, having played menacing antagonist in films like Pailwaan, Hebbuli, Tees Maar Khan, Kanchana 3, among others. Kabir will soon be seen in Malayalam cinema too, with a role that is most likely negative in Mammootty’s Turbo.

Garuda Ram

Ramachandra Raju becomes 'Garuda' Ram
Ramachandra Raju becomes 'Garuda' Ram

Ramachandra Raju got the moniker Garuda Ram after his role as the main antagonist of KGF: Chapter 1, Garuda, the one that Rocky Bhai kills to take control of Narachi. Since then, Ram has done villain roles in films across the south industries and was last seen in Salaar: Ceasefire.

Sonu Sood

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Telugu cinema is where Sonu Sood became one of the most sought-after antagonists. The actor has won multiple commendations for his performance as a villain in Hindi, Telugu and Kannada cinema, like, for instance, for Arundhati, Dookudu, Vishnuvardhana, Julayi. His most recent villain role was opposite Chiranjeevi in Acharya.

P Ravi Shankar

P Ravi Shankar
P Ravi Shankar

The younger brother of actor Sai Kumar, P Ravi Shankar is, undoubtedly one of the mot prolific actors in Kannada, switching between ruthless villain to comedic antagonist with ease. As an actor, he’s won multiple awards for negative roles, including in films like Kempegowda and Maanikya. A much-feted dubbing

Sunil

Sunil in Pushpa: The Rise
Sunil in Pushpa: The Rise

An actor known for his lead and comedic roles, Sunil got widespread acclaim for his outing as the menacing gangster Mangalam Seenu in Allu Arjun’s Pushpa: The Rise, a role he is expected to reprise in the sequel as well.

Prakash Raj

Prakash Raj
Prakash Raj

No list of top villains will be complete without actor Prakash Raj, who, with close to 400 films to his credit, has and continues to play villain across all four south film industries and Hindi cinema. The National Award winner for Best Actor balances positive character roles with more hard-hitting villain characters with utmost ease and has won state awards for Best Villain several times for films like Kalki, Vaanavil, Anniyan, Villu.

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