12 Actors Who Have Played Specially Abled characters.

Rani Mukherjee in Black, Konkona Sen-Sharma in 15 Park  , Priyanka Chopra in Barfi, Kalki Koechlinin Margarita With A Straw….what’s it about these inwardly-ravaged physically-challenged characters that makes them awards-worthy? Here’s looking at  12 Actors Who Have Played Specially Abled characters.

1.     Rajesh Khanna  in Khamoshi:  Nurse nurse mein agan! After a breakup, Rajesh Khanna comes to a mental assylum to be  cured  by  nurse Waheeda Rehman who has the hots  for him. The performance was remarkably controlled…no hysterical laughter,  no nervous twitches or pointed giggles….it was all amazingly smooth-sailing. One of Khanna’s best…Salman  Khan played the same  role in the recent Kyun Ki..quite effectively

2.     Smita Patil  in  Arth/ Bipasha  Basu in MadhoshLunar-dena… Hiccuping hysterically, wheezing in anguished nervousness , screaming as she falls dangerously into dmentia, Smita was  a sight in Arth! Years later in  a  strange adaptation of Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind called Mad-hosh  Russel Crowe’s  character underwent a  sex change. He was transformed into Bipasha Basu!!  And she pulled out all plugs to deliver a rousing performance as  a woman  who ‘sees’ her imagined lover John Abraham.  Schizophrenia in kitsch form…Bipasha also played a traumatized woman in Saurabh Shukla’s Chehra

3.     Raakhee in DacaitRaakhee mera naam…..As a woman who suffers a complete nervous breakdown after she’s incessantly tortured by the villains   Raakhee was scarily  real in  this brilliant Rahul Rawail film. The fear and later the void   in  the actress’ eyes was palpable.

4.     Salman Khan  in Tere Naam: Sal-mad Khan… You  could doubt the medical authenticity of  this  cock-and-bull story. But the angst  in Khan’s eyes as he lapsed in a dungeon-styled dementia (chains in  the hands and feet)  and  the pain of unrequited love stayed  with you A truly bravura performance that  deserved a lot more recognition.

5.     Farida Jalal in BobbyBatty ho jayee….An underrated gem  of a performance. As an adult with an under-developed IQ  , desperate to latch on to anyone who would marry her Farida  was poignant and cruelly funny

6.     Ayesha  Kapoor  in  Black: Just …chilling Though she  wasn’t mentally challenged her acute isolation caused by her deafness and muteness made  little Ayesha’s character a   portrait of volatile dysfunctionalism.  The little girl gave what can comfortably  be called  the best performance by  a  child.

7.     Kamal Haasan in AbhaySicko drama… If you haven’t seen  the Tamilian maverick do the psycho in this psychedelic thriller you  haven’t really watched an actor go over the  edge without going over-the-top. Kamal Haasan walked that thin dread  line without  losing  hold of  the character’s  heart-ripping roots. 

8.     Sridevi in Sadma: Sad-pa, Sad-ma, sad sack….. As  the child-woman  suffering from amnesia Sridevipouted preened and pirouetted  without looking monstrously  hammy.  Her performance was  cute endearing heartwarming and utterly authentic.

9.     Konkona Sen-Sharma  In  15 Park Avenue:   Indoor-Park conflict…. If Sridevi in Sadma  was cute Konkona  is acute. As a  girl slipping and sliding into total mental collapse, Konkona  comes into her own. Her  understanding  of the nature of schizophrenia  is so  acute you wonder if she’s ‘acting’ for  a camera  or assuming a  personality disorder that comes from within her. This is one split personality  that  doesn’t  have you in splits.  The portrait  of schizophrenia raises harrowing recollections of Smita in Arth. Could Shabana’s presence in both films  be  the creative catalyst?

10.  Sanjeev Kumar in Khilona: Toy buoyed!  In this bizarre melodrama  about a kothewali(Mumtaz)’s efforts to wean a  “paagal” (that’s how mentally disturbed souls were known in our  past movies ) away from insanity had Sanjeev Kumar giving a  broad but clenched performance. In scenes where he was locked in  a room he behaved  like King Kong on steroids threatening to break the window grill and leap at his lady love

11.  Priyanka Chopra in Barfi: Jhilmil sitaron ka aangan hoga…As the autistic Jhilmil in Anurag Basu’s gentle and joyful new film ,Priyanka Chopra brings to her role the kind of elegant edginess that very few actors in India have managed while playing psychologically special humanbeings. Priyanka strips her persona of all glamorous vanity,and outstrips even Ranbir Kapoor who is outstanding in his right, thereby proving herself once again the best actress in the post-Sridevi generation.

12.  And how can  we forget Rani Mukherjee in Sanjay Bhansali’s Black? Again psychologically normal, her anguished realization of a blackened existence was lanced by pain passion and a hunger to excel…and a fierce determination to fight a  world that has no patience with  special people.

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