In the past few days, we have been talking about some of the films we loved in 2020, some of the films we have hated, some of the series we loved and some hidden gems that you should totally check out. Now it is time to talk about the performances. In an earlier feature, we have already shared our choices of male performers - ranging from the veteran Amitabh Bachchan to the underrated Adil Hussain to the young Ayushmann Khurrana - who impressed us with their performances. Year-Ender 2020: Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Rajkummar Rao and More – 11 Actors Who Impressed Us With Their Performance in a Bollywood Movie This Year.
Now it is time to share our list of our favourite performances by an actress in a Bollywood movie of 2020. It ranges from a three-time National award winner, to a terrific South import to a wonderfully underrated performer who deserves more applause than she deserves. So without further ado, let me present 11 of our favourite performances by a Bollywood actress this year, arranged as per the release date of their movies.
Kangana Ranaut in Panga
While Kangana Ranaut's recent offscreen pangas aren't my cup of tea, I continue to adore the fact that she is a fantastic actress and in the hands of a good director, she can bring out some wonderful acts. Panga, where she plays a former kabaddi player seeking comeback, is one such lovely film where Kangana is just mesmerising and so damn fabulous!
Taapsee Pannu in Thappad
The person in the earlier entry might have called her a 'B-grade actress', but we know the calibre and finesse of Taapsee Pannu's craft, who is getting better and better with every film. In Thappad, the actress is simple mind-blowing as a home-maker, whose seemingly blissful existence gets a rude jolt with just one slap. While Taapsee delivers monologues with aplomb, it is the silences where the actress shines the most.
Kiara Advani in Guilty
Guilty is a decent enough campus thriller revolving around #MeToo, with a few positives. One of which being a strong performance from its lead actress, Kiara Advani. The actress, whose previous film Kabir Singh was accused of underplaying her role, welcomes the author-backed opportunity with both hands and gave a very convincing portrayal of a rebellious college girl, who hides an emotional damage. Too bad her other releases of the year - Laxmii and Indoo Ki Jawani - were pretty forgettable.
Saiyami Kher in Choked
Anurag Kashyap's black satire on demonetisation is quite a mixed bag, but it is notable for some good performances. Especially Saiyami, being so highly believable as the Maharashtrian middle-class woman, who sees an unexpected windfall that comes through her drainage pipe. After a forgettable debut in Mirzya, Kher lets the world see that there is tremendous potential as an actress in her that makes us want to see her in more Bollywood films.
Vidya Balan in Shakuntala Devi
Some of her critics called her performance in the biopic as showy and over-exuberant. I would like see that as a plus point here. It is the showiness that makes Vidya's depiction of the mathematical genius explaining a very boring subject to us so very attractive. And even otherwise, she gives a stellar performance in the film's more emotional scenes, especially the portions with her daughter.
Sayani Gupta in Axone
Sayani Gupta is an actress who deserves more credit and recognition than what she is getting presently as an actress. While she was good in Article 15, Margarita With a Straw, Inside Edge et al, Sayani's best performance comes in this indie gem, where she terrifically nails the role of a (half) North-Eastern girl. She is truly a bundle of incredible talent!
Tripti Dimri in Bulbbul
Though she was really good in her debut, the haunting Laila Majnu, her-co-star Avinash Tiwary took away the major share of the praise. In this Netflix film, Tripti got the chance to reverse things, and boy, what a wonderful performance it turned out to! She was infectiously charming as the innocuous child bride, but it is her performance in the more scarring scenes that left an indelible impression in our minds.
Radhika Apte in Raat Akeli Hai
In Honey Trehan's noir mystery drama, Radhika Apte's Radha first comes across as an enigma, a suspect Black Widow. But as layers are peeled away from her persona, we find out that she is a victim, of her caste, of her class and of her gender. But Radha never allows us to see her as victimised and that's a whole load because of Apte's masterclass performance.
Konkona Sen Sharma in Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare
Alankrita Shrivastava's social drama features not one, but two really good performances by an actress. There is the experienced Show-woman, Konkona Sen Sharma, who can just strengthen any role with her mere presence. She convincingly depicts the brittleness of Dolly's nature, despite being a breadwinner, she is tied to her husband's opinions.
Bhumi Pednekar in Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare
She might be miscast in Durgamati, but Bhumi Pednekar gave one of her best performances, if not her best, in 2020 in DKAWCS. As the vulnerable Kajal aka Kitty, Bhumi is sensational as she skilfully depicts the fragility of her character, who is wary of the dangers lurking around her uncaring world, and tries to seek happiness and love in the misogyny. 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.
Tillotama Shome in Sir
In this heartbreaking but lilting tale of love set against class divide, we have Tillotama Shome give yet another incredible performance as a domestic help who believes in never letting her heart take that flight of fancy. From the twinkling eyes of hope of making it on her own in a big city in Mumbai to breaking down to see her dreams getting crushed, Shome excels in every scene and is a treat to watch. Also, check out another fantastic performance of hers in Chintu ka Birthday.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 29, 2020 07:21 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).