When character actors pose a threat to the lead actors, a film is likely to become more engaging, and sometimes better. They force everyone around them to raise the bar.
This year also saw some actors excelling in their regular roles and making it memorable for seasons to come. These artistes might have small roles but they poured their heart and soul into the characters.
Here are our picks for eight such actors who shouldered the burden of a good film more than anyone around them.
Vijay Varma (Gully Boy): Though Moeen paved the way for Murad and Sher later in the film, it was he who set the tone for a classic class divide tale. His swag, presented in slow motion by Zoya Akhtar, easily convinced me that he should be given a spin-off. It was one of the most stylish openings for a Hindi film in last couple of years.
Ranvir Shorey (Sonchiriya): If he's there, he's there, even if it comes at the risk of appearing totally negative. Shorey was a total chameleon as a Chambal bandit in Abhishek Chaubey's film.
And those eyes! It reminded me of his role in Traffic Signal but he has come a long way, and much nuanced too!
Manoj Pahwa (Article 15): He pushes a fellow cop against the bonnet of the police jeep and vomits his fears on to the other person only to realise how blinkered his vision has been all his life.
He didn't drop a single emotion that you'd associate with such a character. First Mulk and now Article 15, what a terrific collaboration he is having with Anubhav Sinha.
Sayani Gupta (Article 15): There was angst, anger, meltdown and resolve. Thanks to some of her close up shots, we witnessed how eyes and silent background can evoke fear and guts simultaneously.
She lived the role and the destiny many of us are forced to accept. There were other more pronounced characters talking about ideology and symbols but she stood out as a rusty nail in the sole.
Saharsh Shukla (Chhichhore): It's funny how his drinking became more of a prime problem than anybody else's issues in Nitesh Tiwari's film!
It wasn't easy to get noticed in the army of actors, with most of them being pretty known faces, but his hair and detached demeanour immediately caught attention. Let's hope he doesn't get typecast.
Rohit Saraf (The Sky Is Pink): Most of us are not even half as cool as this young actor rubbing shoulders with the likes of Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar. It wasn't his narrative but he was always there, like he was the one deciding the turns and twists.
Vineet Singh (Saand Ki Aankh): Wouldn't you like to have a mentor like him in your life? He knows you, pushes you to excellence and never demands credit. Coach Yashpal bore the brunt so that the Tomars could live the lives they deserved. His disarming smile can win any competition, leave aside a mere shooting competition. Tushar Hiranandani brilliantly used him as the balancing act between Prakash Jha and the shooter dadis.
Aparshakti Khurrana (Pati Patni Aur Woh): What comic timing he has displayed in Mudassar Aziz's film! Pati Patni Aur Woh wouldn't have been even half as funny without him. It's amazing how he keeps inventing new ways of doing similar roles.
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