Now that 2020 is about to end, we look back and seek out what (little) good things this pandemic-affected year gave us. Some of us had our favourite movie in the year, some of us had our favourite show. Our favourite actor or actress, if he or she had a release, might have given a stupendous performance. Even though 2020 would be a bad year overall, there had been some positives even in the field of cinema. Year-Ender 2020: Akshay Kumar’s Laxmii, Alia Bhatt’s Sadak 2, Varun Dhawan’s Coolie No 1 – 10 Dumbest Bollywood Films of This Year.
In this special feature, we will look at 11 performances by a male actor in Bollywood that impressed us mightily in 2020. If you have any issue or contention with some of our choices, do give us a shoutout in the comments section below.
Saif Ali Khan in Tanhaji
This might not be as nuanced as his antagonistics portrayals in Omkara and Being Cyrus. And yet, we hardly complain, for Saif is gloriously entertaining in his hammy portrayal of Aurangzeb's general Udaybhan Singh Rathore (while the film goes mute at the 'Rathore' mention). The writing for the character is one-dimensional, but it's the very 'Un-Saif' act that makes this film so worth remembering.
Ayushmann Khurrana in Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan
Ayushmann Khurrana is a mainstream superstar known for breaking stereotypes and this pretty flawed film has him push more boundaries in playing an unapologetically gay man. And he does so by making our faces crack pleasant smiles without resorting to being caricaturish and then also making sure that we end up caring our his character's efforts in getting back his loved one.
Sanjay Mishra in Kaamyaab
Sanjay Mishra is a wonderful actor, who hardly goes wrong in any kind of movie. And he is all splendid when the spotlight is entirely on him, as seen in Kaamyaab where he plays a character artiste looking to make a comeback. Be it being a beleaguered man in his twilight or the over-enthusiastic gerariatic yearning his youthful glory, Mishra wins your hearts with a fantastic act.
Irrfan Khan in Angrezi Medium
Irrfan Khan, may his soul rest in peace, is an incredible actor, who does fine work in any genre. And Angrezi Medium, a decent enough family entertainer, is made even more special by what is sadly his last Bollywood role (his last film, Song of the Scorpions will release next year). While his demise does loom over the film, his performance is very much endearing, amusing and lovely!
Vinay Pathak in Chintu Ka Birthday
The supremely underrated Vinay Pathak plays a simple man in this gem of a movie, whose good-heartedness is often misconstrued as meekness. He is an unusual hero, where he relies on seeking the goodness in others to save the others, and Pathak works out this character to a natural perfection. Year Ender 2020: These 10 Hindi Movies of Taapsee Pannu, Kangana Ranaut, Abhishek Bachchan, Radhika Apte Won Our Hearts This Year.
Amitabh Bachchan in Gulabo Sitabo
Despite ruling over cinema for decades now, Amitabh Bachchan has this quality of surprising us with a unexpectedly great performance. His act of the stubborn Shylock of old Lucknow in Shoojit Sircar's black comedy is something like that; a grey character that is one of Big B's best negative turns. Yes, the old-man prosthetics do hamper the way he emotes, but the legend compensates that with his body language and immaculate dialogue delivery.
Manoj Bajpayee in Bhonsle
Bhonsle is a slow-burn drama, with Manoj Bajpayee playing the titular retired Marathi hawaldar. While the film is deliberately slow to depict Bhonsle's loneliness, it is Bajpayee's magnetic performance that keeps us invested in the snail-paced proceedings. As the film becomes more and more harsh, even his performance becomes grittier, and the actor just knocks it out of the park in the final scenes.
Adil Hussain in Pareeksha
Adil Hussain is an amazing actor, who is still an underrated talent. Pareeksha is just another feather in his cap of some fantastic performances that he has given us, as the actor invokes pity and empathy from the viewers with a heartbreaking act and a believable body language.
Pankaj Tripathi in Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl
Gunjan Saxena might have been prepped up as the vehicle for its leading lady, but it is Pankaj Tripathi's incredible performance that is the heart of the film. Tripathi's character falls in the same mould as what he did in Bareilly Ki Barfi - a soft-spoken paternal figure with feminist touches. But his role in Gunjan Saxena is stronger and more likeable - being funny, wry, mild and yet assertive enough. That too, with indulging in dramebaazi.
Harshvardhan Rane in Taish
Bejoy Nambiar's Taish is a quite engaging thriller with some good performances from the cast. But the movie truly belongs to Harshvardhan Rane, playing Paali, a London-based Sikh gangster. His whose implosive performance manages to turn his calamitous Paali from being a hateful figure to someone operating out of his misery. Year Ender 2020: These 10 South Entertainers of Suriya, Allu Arjun, Dulquer Salmaan, Prithviraj, Aishwarya Rajesh Impressed Us the Most This Year.
Rajkummar Rao in Ludo
Whenever I saw Varun Dhawan trying to impersonate Mithunda in the recent Coolie No 1 remake, I was strongly reminded of how Rajkummar Rao did it better in Anurag Basu's Ludo. Rajkummar Rao's storyline gives the actor an opportunity to not only brush up his recently-discovered comic skills, but also his underused dancing skills too. He plays a character who begins to shake his hips and swings his legs when facing a troubling worry and anxiety, and he does it without trying to be awkward. Rao is stunningly brilliant in the role, supremely energetic and heart-winning.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 29, 2020 03:26 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).