Despite the OTT platforms doing their best to increase the content flow, the frequency of new releases this year has been on a slower side in Bollywood. At least, this is how it appeared! So, when I started working on this list, I thought I was not going to find enough names for the first list of probable. But then names kept fitting in the right space, and here’s the list of 9 terrific performances that lifted the film and made us take notice of their sheer talent. One more thing, these actors were not the so-called ‘lead’ in the film.
Ratna Pathak Shah (Thappad): There is something about her that you would think twice before meddling with her even if she is playing the most docile role ever, but in Thappad, she turned the entire curve of the usual strong female characters we see in Hindi films. She was convincing in her ignorance, passiveness and distant vision. So true to the character and such examples in real life.
Avtar Gill (Kaamyaab): One of the most unique ideas of the year, this film was sort of biographical for many artists we know by their most famous role but not by name. Gill played himself in a film that instantly reminded me of author Varun Grover’s Twitter bio: All the world's a Mahesh Bhatt film. We are but Avtar Gills in it.
Is it a curse to be a great secondary character? Well, ask Avtar Gill!
Ila Arun (Ghoomketu): She was funny, super lovable and full of quirks. It was one of the most satisfying things of the year to watch her tease Raghubir Yadav without any reason. She did it for the heck of it and that was beautiful. Such a slice of life experience.
Lin Laishram (Axone): Having lived in Delhi for most of my life, I could understand every emotion she was going through. One thinking, somewhat empowered yet ignored woman first coming to terms with the reality and then fighting it with all her might, Laishram was one person you would want to win, everytime.
Farrukh Jaffar (Gulabo Sitabo): Oh begum! The zenith of class and the bottom of disappointment. The crest of affection and trough of indifference. If dark humour could kill, Mirza would be dead a thousand times. The things we do for love! No, really!
Rahul Bose (Bulbbul): If there is ever a biopic on Bose, it should be called ’50 Shades of Seriousness’. One of those was seen in the Bengal Presidency of the late 19th century. He knew exactly how to play with the shadows and sins.
Sanjay Suri (Pareeksha): He has played benevolent guys in films like Nil Battey Sannata and Chauranga too, but his dripping sincerity and conviction made us believe him every single time. Probably modelled on some real-life IPS officer, Suri was the most desired version of an administrator. If only we could get more of them in reality as well!
Nassar (Serious Men): How could you bluff the master himself? That false sense of pride and the enormous ego, coupled with quite a lot of thuggery, was what made the crux of this top-notch scientist in the film. He fooled everyone and yet remained untouched because, well, he was good at it.
Satish Kaushik (Chhalang): Have you heard stories about ministers doing the heavy-lifting so that the king rise and shine! Kaushik is that person who keeps supporting till you’re ready to take on the world. Endearing, affable and tactical, all in one. Also, a great understanding of movement in front of the camera.