1. Farhan Akhtar In Bhaag Milka Bhaag: the best transformation by a non-Sikh into a Sikh character. This was the best most physically proximate biographical character since Ben Kingsley in Gandhi.
2. Dharmendra in Jeevan Mrityu: Dharmendra has always been a Sardarji at heart. Affable and noble-hearted, he actually got to play a turbaned Sikh in Satyen Bose’s Jeevan Mrityu where he returns from the dead to hover protectively around the very young and vulnerable Raakhee.Jhilmil Sardaaron Ka Aangan Hoga.
3. Sunny Deol in Border: if Papa Dharama Paaji looked as cool as a crowned cucumber in a pugdi , beta Sunny can’t be far behind. Sunny Paaji made an authentic sardar in J P Dutta’s war epic.
4. Ranbir Kapoor in Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year: Ranbir actually practiced how to tie the turban before the mirror before plunging into Shimit Amin’s film about office politics.He was convincing in the turban. But he made his Sikh character too stiff and unshakable physically and emotionally . Thodi si namkeen thodi si tikhee? Why so serious, Ranbir?
5. Ajay Devgn in Son Of Sardar: This not so convincing Sardarji act was all about winking blinking and fooling around. No substance here, only a shallow laughter.Ajay didn’t really play a Sardar. The Sardar played him.
6. Akshay Kumar in Singh Is Kinng: Laughter is not neceassarily a cue for flippant acting. Akshay Kumar as Happy Singh made us so…happy! It was a buoyant, confident performance. Watch it again , and you’ll know what Akshay means by saying he feels like Sikh when dons the turban.
7. Saif Ali Khan In Love Aaj Kal: If you have a Belgian model playing a Sikhni, this is what you get. Shame on Imtiaz Ali for not opting for credible casting.
8. Kunal Kapoor in Bachna Ae Haseenon: The only instance of a real-life Mona sardar playing a turbaned bearded sardar Kunal played the role with much integrity.If nothing else he deserves a pat on the back for playing a Sardar against the stereotypical image of the genial loud back-thumping do-gooder. .
9. Ajay Devgn in The Legend Of Bhagat Singh: Next to Farah Akhtar’s Milkha Singh this is the most convincing real-life Sikh character ever played by non-Sikh actor in Bollywood. But the National award was more for the Mera rang de basanti chola sentiment than Devgn’s performance.
10. Akshay Kumar in Singh Is Bliing: Delightful. Energetic. Warm , Goofy…Akshay is all of this and a lot more as the aimless wastrel Raftaar Singh. His body language and comic timing and his incredibke Bhangra moves make this the most interesting Sikh character ever seen in Hindi cinema. Balle Balle indeed.