Bollywood’s first anti-hero was Sunil Dutt, who immortalised Birju in Mehboob Khan’s classic ‘Mother India’ (1957), who cannot bear the stinging poverty and ultimately turns into a bandit, only to be shot dead by his mother Radha (Nargis). A cult-classic, ‘Mother India’ was a moving tale about an impoverished mother and her fight for survival. As Birju, Sunil Dutt garnered huge praise for his role of a hot-headed villager and a vindictive dacoit.
Despite winning a National Film Award for his debut film ‘Saat Hindustani’ (1969), Amitabh Bachchan struggled for success during his initial years in Bollywood. However, Big B’s fortunes changed overnight in 1970s when he became the ‘angry young man’ of Indian cinema. It was Prakash Mehra’s ‘Zanjeer’ (1971), Yash Chopra’s ‘Deewar’ (1975) and ‘Trishul’ (1978) and Chandra Barot’s ‘Don’ (1978) that gave a new breed of superhero to Indian films – anti-hero, which continued for the decade to come.