With the year drawing to a close, it’s time to list some of the most favorite performances of the year in the Hindi entertainment space. In a year when the deep gulf between cinema and OTT has been opened, it has been right to melt them for the purposes of this list as well.
Here are the top five actors from a Hindi movie or web series we saw in 2020:
Jaideep Ahlawat in Paatal Lok
It is rare for critics and the masses to agree on anything, but Jaideep Ahlawat made everyone instantly devoted with his performance as Inspector Hathiram Chaudhary in Paatal Lok. With his natural grip on the Haryanvi tongue, for the way he brought anger and regret in equal measure to his eyes, he expressed the pain of being a failure with a belief that very few could have. Usually, in a crime story, the investigator’s side is weaker than the criminal. While the serial killer leaves an imprint on the public mind, the cop is easily forgotten. But in Paatal Lok, Jaideep became the beating heart of the show which was perfect in all aspects.
Taapsee Pannu in Thappad
Of all the works listed here, Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad came first in a year that already feels like a decade longer than it should be. It should have been easier to forget Taapsee Pannu’s Amrita all this time, but just like a poem written in a moment of truth, it won’t leave the heart for a long, long time. Taapsee portrayed Amrita as a woman so real and invisible that one cannot help but admire her. Even in real life, the actor is known for his powerful spirit but, like Amrita, he channeled a very different kind of strength and courage, quiet but stern, generous but ruthless.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Serious Men
While the biggest stars brag about physical transformations and survive six-month training camps, Nawazuddin Siddiqui effortlessly fits into her characters without even changing her hairstyle. How he is able to seemingly alter his physical stature, simply through body language, continues to baffle. Here is a man who is neither tiny nor imposing, but through sheer display he can achieve both convincingly.
Pratik Gandhi in Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story
With a long list of Gujarati plays in his portfolio and a couple of insignificant parts in films like Loveyatri or Mitron, no one has seen the tornado that is coming Pratik Gandhi. After a web series by Hansal Mehta, he was named the best actor of the year not only by critics and audiences, but also by his peers. Pratik may not look at all like the state enemy number 1 he played on the show, but he was just as charismatic, electric, hot, sinister, and charming enough that you too would have bet your money on him becoming Bollywood’s next Big Bull.
Tripti Dimri in Bulbbul
Equally flirtatious and mysterious, Tripti Dimri was the beating heart of the feminist fable artfully packaged as a horror classic that was Bulbbul. Like the little girl growing up to become the “badi bahu” of a zamindar family in pre-Renaissance Bengal, Bulbbul is always the bird in a gilded cage. Tripti is brilliant in the role of a woman who goes from a wide-eyed naive to a mysterious woman who wears her sexuality with pride.
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