When You Were  Not Looking….10 Performances That Took Us By Surprise In 2016


Every year throws forward  its own share of the unexpected, some good some bad.Some plainly astonishing. Here’s looking at the less celebrated non-pivotal though no less accomplished  performances that anchored the films that contained these gems.

  1. Kumud Mishra in Airlift: In a film whose brilliance relied largely on Akshay Kumar’s ability to convey optimum emotional velocity in minimal drama, there was one other actor who held his own. In spite of limited space the ever-dependable Kumud Mishra held his ground.As the bureaucrat  in the India who  becomes the unwilling link between the crisis in Kuwait in 1990 and the Indian government Mishra was  the man  of the ‘much’. In so little he covered so much!
  2. Sikandar Berry in Tere Bin Laden Wanted Dead Or Alive:  So okay,at first Sikandar’s oddball performance in the two roles of a CIA agent and a Bollywood  producer suffered from an excess of exuberance. But gradually his satirical skills seep into the two characters and make them hugely over-the-top but credible caricatures. Actually Berry was unlike anything we’ve seen being done in a comedy before.
  3. Yogendra Tikoo in Neerja: “We were all so busy watching the frontstage performance of Sonam Kapoor and the backstage bravura  of Shabana Azmi that we forget how skilled the seasoned theetre actor Yogendra Tiko was at portraying the bereaved father’s anguish. Just because he didn’t scream shout and exteriorize his grief??? Why are we still so obsessed with extraneous histrionics?
  4. Ashish Vidyarthi in Bollywood  Diaries: The extremely gifted Ashish Vidyarthi played a government clerk on the verge of retirement who decides he will live out his youthful aspirations NOW before it’s too late. In director K D Satyam’s unnoticed film Ashish’s character defies his family’s taunts threats and terminal illness  to fulfil his dream to be an actor. It was an unsung performance about an unsung character.We don’t celebrate the heroism of the common man .
  5. Richa Chadha in Sarbjit: In a film where the spotlight was on Randeep Hooda(no doubt brilliant) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan playing siblings, Richa as the quietly suffering but dignified and doughty wife of the captured soldier  blew the screen apart in the few scenes that she was given.She chewed up the  other members of the cast.
  6. Momal Sheikh in Happy Bhaag Jayegi: Again, the swerve from the pivotal characters played by Diana Penty,Jimmy Sheirgil, Ali Fazal and Abhay Deol to the  fifth character was unexpected. Playing Abhay’s haughty but humane fiancée Momal, daughter of the Pakistani stalwart Jawed Shaikh stole the show.She was elegant and restrained in a role that veered toward  the vampish.
  7. Konkona Sen Sharma in Akira:  In a film that was  terrible from the first frame to last, Konkona playing a pregnant cop(pregnant, because that was her real-life condition)  just killed it with her thoughtful under-the-top performance while Sonakshi Sinha and Anurag Kashyap took centrstage Konkona hit sixers from the boundary.That shuffling gait and that alert ticking mind….deadly!
  8. Anjali Patil in Mirzya:  The love saga spanning two  lives was all about making stars of the two debutants Harshavradhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher. But Anjoli Patil who played the lohaar Om Puri’s sexy daughter who has the hots for the hero ,gave to her part a crisp cutting edge and scintillatind sensuality . She was to Harshavardhan what Aroona Irani was to Rishi Kapoor in Bobby.
  9. Shashank Arora in Rock On 2: While Farhan Akhtar,Arjun Rampal and Purab Kohli rightly hogged the limelight it was the enormously talented Shashank Arora who, as the new recruit in the band, got the sur of his character right even though he had the least amount of space to grow. The lad was hungry for opportunity. He grabbed what he got with both hands.
  10. Aparshakti Khurrana in Dangal: So okay .Aamir Khan and his two screen daughters own this blockbuster.But who can forget Geeta and Babita Phogat’s ever-smiling obliging accommodating and selflessly devoted cousin Omkar?Aparshakti  gave heft to the part that perhaps the film’s writers couldn’t have imagined. Such are the stuff scene stealing performances are made of.


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