2015 presented many acclaimed performances. Amitabh Bachchan showed that his screen presence defies age; Irrfan proved that he can be a ghost haunted by his own past as well as an over-the-top investigating officer; Ranbir Kapoor continued his experiments with off-beat roles; Nawazuddin Siddiqui played yet another complex character with aplomb; and Ranveer Singh made sure his swagger spiced up the historic love story of Peshwa Bajirao and Mastani. We pick the actors, in alphabetical order, whose performances stayed on with us much after their movies were released and the box office verdict was delivered.
Amitabh Bachchan: With Piku, India’s original Very Angry Young Man was transformed into a cranky old man. He brought alive the self-obsessed and hypochondriac Bhashkor Banerjee with his impeccable Bengali accent, body language and right amount of vulnerability. This was enough to make us forget R Balki’s Shamitabh, which was an attempt to celebrate Bachchan’s
The scene that stole the film? Amitabh Bachchan, who had thrown a fit a little earlier, softens and peers out of the car to call out to an upset Deepika Padukone, “Esho Maa”.
Irrfan: Only he could have made the character of Rana Chaudhary so adorable and nailed the comic timing while delivering his one-liners in Piku. He is what the grouchy Piku needed to regain his zest for life. In Anup Singh’s Qissa (the film toured the festival circuit in 2013 but was released in India this year), he is a patriarch haunted by the memories of losing his home during partition and his deep desire to father a son. In spite of the tragic consequences of his autocratic actions, he draws the audience sympathy ‘as a lonely ghost’ who is destined to wander for ever. And when Jazbaa released in October, it is he who made this loud movie watchable.
The performance that deserves accolades? That of the CBI officer Ashwin Kumar in Talvar.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui: He alone can do what he does — each time with a touch of brilliance. Siddiqui’s canvas has broadened after he burst onto the scene with Gangs of Wasseypur I and II (even though he caught the popular imagination with Kahaani). Since then, he has been pushing the envelope even as he strives to balance the world of indie and commercial cinema. In Badlapur, he was pitted against the upcoming heart throb, Varun Dhawan. In the murky world, created by Sriram Raghavan, where the understanding of good and evil is muddled, Siddiqui walked away with appreciation for playing the complex role of a no-gooder who seeks redemption in the last days of his life.
Ranbir Kapoor: What is admirable about Ranbir Kapoor is that he is willing to take risks. When a top-league actor shows such willingness, writing his roles should get maximum attention. While Kapoor’s performance as a volatile street boxer in Bombay Velvet is good, there should have been more layers added to his character. In Tamasha, he is delightful as he weaves a make-believe world in Corsica. However, his switch to the other side of the spectrum — the jaded and routine-bound corporate life — was not very convincing. Glimpses into his madness and love for spinning a tale would have been helpful. (Also Read: Priyanka’s global foray, Baahubali’s triumph: Big-screen highs of 2015)
Ranveer Singh: He devoted almost a year to the role of Peshwa Bajirao. Apart from being bald and sporting a shendi, he ensured that he was not distracted by any other film. By his own admission, his mind and soul were engaged with process of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani for almost a year. “During this period, I have tried and failed. I have struggled and
overcome my problems. This process of evolution has been very fulfilling for me,” said Singh, whose work has won the appreciation of audience, critics and industry seniors. Earlier this year, his convincing performance in Zoya Akhtar-directed Dil Dhakne Do as a confused rich boy dithering to follow his heart too was widely praised. (Read: There is no perfect shot in my head, says Kajol)
Eye candy: With Baahubali, Hindi film-goers got a new heartthrob in Prabhas. A popular Telugu cinema star, Prabhas with his charm and physique — even though he weighed over 100 kilos for the role, he still sported a well-toned body — won hearts. (Read: Shah Rukh Khan: Great films don’t work without me, darling)
Trivia: Among his fans in South India, he is known as ‘Darling’. Need we say more?