Roles, in these 12 months have ranged from ruthless emperor to a musician pretending to be blind, a superstar mired in controversy to a ‘wanted’ man, an innovator and more… Some have surprised us with their never-seen-before prowess while others have managed to keep up the momentum even after all these years. Which actor will sweep the Best Actor trophy? Well, the list is unending!
After much ado, we have narrowed down a fair number of contenders, who we feel have given their best. The compilation includes luminaries who can take a film to cinematic glory and those who are simply the greats of their generation!
Ranveer Singh – Padmaavat, Simmba
If you watched Padmaavat you will agree that the political brouhaha enwreathing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s labour of love is completely unwarranted. If at all Bhansali attempted anything in this magnum opus it was to pay tribute to the Rajputs. Mixed with all the ingredients of a blockbuster, Padmaavat was a Ranveer Singh show all the way, with Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone taking the lead in turns.
The 33-year-old Ranveer emoted a myriad of expressions, pulsating with the energy of the menacing Alauddin Khilji. Completely under the skin of this notorious character, Singh delivered his career’s best, scaling from heartthrob to method actor. You may praise him for his flamboyant fashion sense or exuberant energy but acting is equally his forte!
His spirit animal: Chameleon. Effortless transition into roles. Be it a cop-caper or critical historical drama.
Ranbir Kapoor – Sanju
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, Ranbir Kapoor swung back to the stardom that follows his last name – Kapoor – like a true blue scion. A string of box-office dampers (Bombay Velvet, Roy, Jagga Jasoos) perhaps gave birth to the desperation to put in his utmost brilliance, as RK stepped into the mighty shoes of Sanjay Dutt, while Rajkumar Hirani navigated.
Ranbir dazzled as an actor, offering heart-warming glimpses of a man (Sanjay Dutt) who lived most of his life mired in controversy. Yes, the movie did underwhelm as a biopic, but Ranbir’s demeanour and psyche under the skin of Dutt, sure swept you off your feet.
Baba bolta hai abhi bas ho gaya…box-office duds re!
Ayushmann Khurrana – Andhadhun
Dear mere mortals, glad to know we knew it before you did. Ayushmann Khurrana has been redefining the screenplay, script and storytelling scenario, one film at a time. Taking the sagas out of the lanes of eternally hustling metros to the composed and content corridors of a middle-class man, Khurrana is like a tonic to tired minds.
As the blind music enthusiast, Akash, Ayushmann hit the bullseye! You didn’t empathise with him for he put on a show of being blind or for the lack of inspiration to create good music. It was when he got dragged into the murder of Pramod Singha that he left us gaping and glued to the edge of our seats. What next? Watch the movie for more!
Varun Dhawan – October, Sui Dhaaga
This pop culture hero was rediscovered by Shoojit Sircar, in October. As Dan, Varun proved that he could compete with serious actors, sample: his effortless transformation from masala entertainer to a weighty performer.
Hitting it out of the boundary, the Dhawan boy continues to maintain his no-flop streak and easily sneaks into the likes of intense actors. The audience and critics had their reservations, considering Varun was under Shoojit’s direction, but October shuts down one and all. He responsibly handled the irresponsible Danish Walia, and rose to the occasion.
Dhawan on the go!
Akshay Kumar – PadMan
A chef from Bangkok travelled to the glamour world in an attempt to be a hero. Little did he know, the calling was to be his temple for die-hard fans. Thanks to the enormous success of Baby, Gabbar is Back, OMG: Oh My God, Special 26, Airlift, Rustom, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and now PadMan, Akshay Kumar and social drama can safely be mentioned in the same breath.
Emerging from romantic hero to his high-on-action Khiladi image, Akshay spread the word and hit right where it was needed! He thoughtfully weaved an entertaining experience with awareness. Although at a slow pace, Akshay flew in PadMan, the biographical drama inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, under the direction of R. Balki.
He blended sweet and spice perfectly.
John Abraham – Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran
Find the bug of patriotism next to John Abraham. Stepping out of his macho man image, the hunk took to telling what needs to be told! Reviving the forgotten vigour and bringing historic tales of decades ago to celluloid glory, JA Entertainment is unstoppable!
In his home production, Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran, John sincerely executed Ashwat Raina. Albeit it fell short of the expected action, the producer-actor celebrated unsung heroes and a mission few know of.
Rajkummar Rao – Omerta
Let us break a simple truth – Rajkummar Rao, is perhaps incapable of delivering a critically dull performance! In just eight years, Rao’s potential escalated from regular romantic-comic roles to some incredible, Oscar-worthy performances, making an international noise as well. Omerta belongs to the latter game.
Exploring his villainous side, Rajkummar, as Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, sent shivers down your spine. This merciless and brutal act of a terrorist couldn’t perhaps find the right audience in India but certainly met with an overwhelming response at the Hong Kong Film Festival!
Ajay Devgn – Raid
Trust Ajay Devgn to raid our hearts with his brooding persona! Twenty-seven years on, the superstar is pretty much on every director’s speed dial list every time a script demands raw swag. The juxtaposition of his good looks combined with intense on-screen delivery casts the perfect spell.
His portrayal of the uptight and courageous Indian Revenue Service officer in the Raj Kumar Gupta directorial Raid, is yet another reason why Devgn is the real Singham (read force) to reckon with when it comes to cop-caper dramas. Ajay’s towering presence got a seal of approval from critics and audience alike, raking in big moolah too.
Aala re aala…??…
Irrfan – Blackmail
Aasan hai kya? Iss tarah harr film mein itna shaandaar perform karna? Each time we watch Irrfan take over the screen, we are faced with this question. How does one enjoy this uninterrupted streak of critical success and sheer brilliance? Guess the actor knows no other way but to impress from the word go.
Not able to perform poorly, Irrfan as Dev Kaushal balances wit and humour with a tadka of grey in Blackmail. If not for this award-winning actor with a laundry list of accolades, Blackmail fell flat on its face. It’s enough to credit him as the stalwart of every story he takes under his wing.
Harr movie ke muqaddar ka sikandar hai yeh!
Vineet Kumar Singh – Mukkabaaz
An industry that usually designates a star after a Friday, took a decade-and-a-half to recognise the raw talent of Vineet Kumar Singh. Surviving in this battle of the fittest for 16 long years, Vineet, as Shravan Singh, is here to create and live on a legacy of none but his own!
This up-and-coming star finds firm ground via a real-life story brought to celluloid by Anurag Kashyap. Two years of training for the role of a boxer shows exceedingly well, as Vineet portrays the character with the utmost honesty, and delivers the right punches in Kashyap’s comeback bid.
A round of applause for the real ‘Singh is king,’ please.
Amitabh Bachchan – 102 Not Out
Despite a resume of classics and incredible roles, perhaps it is Amitabh Bachchan’s penchant for perfection that leaves us spellbound. He is, hands down, the most memorable actor in a film, regardless of the script or star cast. Big B, in 102 Not Out, played Dattarey Vakharia, a character beyond his years.
With his signature charm, he breathed life into the joie-de-vivre demeanour of an old father, enthusiastically waiting to clock a record. Supported by his reel son Rishi Kapoor, this was a compelling watch and stood out among the regular slice-of-life experiences.
A riveting powerhouse at 76!
Kartik Aaryan – Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety
Kartik Aaryan always had the charisma and an unadulterated star factor, but it took Sonu KeTitu Ki Sweety to cement his presence among those who boast of iconic blockbusters and fans. This Luv Ranjan school alumnus attained the tag of a full-fledged movie star and an entry into Karan Johar-Kareena Kapoor-Khan’s inner circle with his first INR 100 crore film.
The many one-liners fetched Sonu a Dadasaheb Phalke Best Entertainer Award of The Year, something that Rajjo’s monologue missed out on!
Talk of breakthroughs!
Offering something not seen earlier and living up to expectations, Soham Shah brings a new deal to the table with Tumbbad. Contradictions and chaos was handled, amalgamated and plugged in so beautifully that it almost seemed crafted out of a mould.
Soham Shah is one of the finest contemporary actors in the country. Anyone with the slightest doubt should watch this visually exceptionally written film. For a character steeped so low in greed, Shah dabbled with the fluency of the dialect and the ferocious behaviour to perfection.
Sushant Singh Rajput – Kedarnath
What a delight to see this actor after so long! As the affable human-porter Mansoor, Sushant delivered his finest and most polished performance earnestly. His on-screen chemistry with debutante Sara Ali Khan showed a sincere effort to put his newbie co-star at ease and take turns in leading the narrative.
Despite a sincere performance, a little lack in the script here and there didn’t bother us. An enthralling experience and a timeless tale!
Were there any other performers that you felt did an exceptional job? We are all ears!