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Subhash K Jha Selects His Favourite Performances On OTT 2023



Trial By Fire

First the  massive disappointments: Sushmita Sen in the third season of the moribund Aarya, Kajol in  Lust Stories  …these bigscreen A-listers brought nothing relevant to the  OTT platform. On the  other hand, there was no dearth of talent ondisplay  on the digital medium. Here are some that made an upfront  impact.

  1. Rajshree Deshpande in Trial By Fire:  Neither  Abhay Deol nor  Rajshree Deshpande who play the bereaved couple who lost their children in the Uphaar fire with  dignity and understanding,  has  any room for over-sentimentality.The monstrously  underused Deshpande is especially moving. Her  refusal to shed tears in public(a motherly anerration which  is used  against her in court)  and  her  attitude of defensive despondency are so  vividly  portrayed  by the actress, I felt Deshpande’s  to be one of the  most stark and  unalloyed  portrayal  of grief  and  bereavement.
  2. Sonakshi Sinha in Dahaad:  As a cop seeking to validate  her identity and power on a society in which she  must function with the dual  disadvantage of  being a female cop and a lower-caste one at that,  Sonakshi Sinha gave a performance brimming with a ballsy ire. She played her cop as a tough cookie  , but with a veneer of vulnerability. The actress’ best hands down.
  3. Gagandev Riar In Scam 2003: Stamp-paper  scamster  Abdul Karim Telgi’s selfconfidence ,often misplaced, is confidently brought  out by Gagan Dev Riar. He  is  the man in the torn chappals in a  tearing hurry.There is  also a violent side to the man, which no one   can understand. No amount of wealth can  compensate  for the loss of the innocence  when  you set  off to be rich overnight. Telgi is  no Macbeth.  But the blood on the hands is  interchangeable.Riar is  invisibly riveting.
  4. Suvinder Vicky in Kohrra: This  series belongs to  Balbir Singh, played with such  effortless brilliance by Suvinder  Vicky that  the characters feels as  close to  real life as cinema  can take us. The star discovery  of the series  was the leading man Suvinder Vicky as  a  cop wrestling with his past. When  was the last time we saw an Indian actor give such a rousing performance?
  5. Karishma  Tanna in Scoop:  As  crime reporter  Jagruti ,  Karishma Tanna  is incredibly in-character, her speech, body language  clothes, ambitions  and  defiance of goundrules  of  journalism are  brought to life in the performance.This is  where Karishma Tanna’s career  begins, ironically when  Jagruti/Jigna’s career ends.
  6. Mona  Singh in  Kafas: The paedophile/predator as a super-privileged superstar(a gutsy unapologetic performance  by Vivan Bhatena) is shattering in its  damaging repercussions. What makes the situation even worse is  that the  child’s parents are not blameless. They accept  the  fat cheque that is given to them to keep their mouth shut. The wonderful Mona Singh’s  parental trauma reminded me of  Rajshri Deshpande  in Trial By Fire . Mona’s character stands on thin ice.I liked  the moral  vulnerability that Mona has instilled  into the mother’s role . It creates a stronger case for the family to  unite in times  of  an insurmountable crisis  such as this one. It  makes the battle  between crime  and  justice  so  much more real and  connectible.
  7. Shahid In  Farzi:  Shahid Kapoor’s Sunny is a  man of few words. Everyone has a profusion of  smart lines. Shahid stays quiet. His  stillness provides an  anchor for co-directors Raj & DK to  create  a world of subverted crime. Shahid’s character is largely exempted  from moral profiling because the character is so self-punishing we  don’t want to make its any worse  for him.
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