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Subhash K Jha Picks The 10 Finest Performances Of 2018


1.      Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Manto: He lived breathed and exhaled  the life  of the  great Urdu author Saddat HaasanManto in this curvaceous  bio-pic directed  by Nandita Das.  Nawaz  didn’t unravel  the  mystique  of  the  artiste-litterateur. He  simply wrapped  his personality around  Manto, absorbing and  ingesting Manto’s  pain-lashed words. This was Nawaz  at his best.

2.     Rani Mukherjee in Hichki: The danger  of portraying  disabled characrters is  that  the  ailment ends  up being a gimmick to  gain audiences’ sympathy. It is  to  Rani Mukerjee’s credit that she did  not  allow her affliction to be reduced to  a formula. Not once did that alarming sound from her throat become an  irritant . We were watching the character Naina Mathur  struggle with  Tourette Syndrome.Who is Rani Mukherjee?

3.     Diljit Dosanjh in  Soorma: Playing the real-life hockey champ Sandeep Singh Diljit breathed life into the character. He  didn’t ‘play’ Sandeep Singh. He internalized the struggles  of the character so effortlessly that we could no longer see Diljit on screen. A truly award -worthy  performance.

4.     Alia Bhatt in  Raazi: What  I found more exceptional than Alia’s  performance(no doubt outstanding in its own right) was  her  ability to understand a world she had  never encountered in  her life. The true  hallmark of great talent.Playing an Indian  spy-bride  in Pakistan she shone in  every frame as  only Alia can.

5.     Varun Dhawan  in  October:  Varun  moved away  from his comfort zone to get into the skin of  a character who  believes a girl in a coma has  feelings  for him. The flimsy emotional ground was built into a  character  whose obstinacy defines the very  essence of unconditional love. For  Varun, this was a jump into another world, not quite  as alien to him as the Pakistani bride-spy’s  world  was  for Alia. But still distant enough to prove Varun’s evolving talent.

6.     Shefali Shah in Once Again: In this Netflix nugget on finding love after  middleage Shefali Shah was  cast as   a lonely restaurateur  discovering companionship in an equally lonely film actor.Shefali mapped  out her character’s inner world with razor-sharp precision. All the unanswered questions  a woman’s right to a life after  divorce  motherhood and  middlage were there on her face.Not one false  not here.

7.     Akshay Kumar in Padman: Yet another real-life character , this  time the man who invented  the economical sanitary  pad for  financially challenged women. Make no mistake, Akshay is back playing the social crusader. In Toilet Ek Prem Katha he fought societal  prejudices  to build a toilet  for  his wife. Here in Padman his character goes to great lengths to conceive create and  promote economical sanitary napkins because….well…because when  a woman bleeds, our Padman’s heart bleeds.In  just two minutes Akshay  communicates to us the urgent need  to end the feminine race’s menstrual discomfort.

8.     Tabu In Andha Dhun:  Seriously  vampish, Tabu playing a husband-killer  effortlessly conveyed her pleasure in being bad. She  loved every  evil moment of her  character’s existence.

9.     Ranbir Kapoor In  Sanju: In a  film fatally flawed and felled by its uncontrollable desire to turn its criminal hero into a  martyr, Ranbir dazzled as Sanjay Dutt. Dutt may not be anything like  how Ranbir played him. But I am sure Dutt would like to be the way Kapoor  played him.

10.  Ranveer-Deepika In Padmaavat:  Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh bring an exquisite operatic duet-like feeling to their antagonistic  parts.Though they sing  the same song from different  scales,they are like the  earth and sky never destined to meet .Ironically they met  in real life.Till death do they part.

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