At times the velocity and power of the central performances are so strong that the impact of the marginal performances gets diluted. Here are the 6 outstanding performances of 2020 that you probably didn’t notice.
1.Aahana Kumra in Marzi: A very tangled take on consensual versus non-consensual sex where the very talented Aahana Kumra gave a remarkable performance as a woman who sleeps with a man and wakes up believing he forced himself on her. Now many actresses get to play in a grey zone in films on the mating game. Aahana was a every bit the confused woman the morning after.
2. Shubham Saraf in A Suitable Boy: Before I saw him playing Ishan Khatter’s Muslim friend who becomes as besotted by Tabu as Ishan, I had seen Shubham in the British serial Criminal where he stood out in a way that was not loud or calling attention to itself. In A Suitable Boy as Firoz Ali Khan, Shubham stole every frame from Khattar and Tabu. Whenever he was there he held the scene together. If you didn’t notice how good he is, it was because he wasn’t showing off. Shubham was unwaveringly in character.
3. Maya Saro in Thappad: Of course the film belonged to Taapsee Pannu. But here was this neglected but powerful actress who always leaves a lingering impact. This time she was a hotshot lawyer spouting feminist jargon and giving the world the impression of being the portrait of selfmade selfsufficient femininity. But at home she is nothing more than an abused wife. Maya nailed the contradictions in her character to a tragedy far beyond surface ‘isms’.
4. Ishwak Singh in Pataal Lok: Ishwak has the face of a very kind man. As Jaideep Ahlawat’s subordinate Ishwak had to follow Ahlawat around, observing and imbibing the corruption all around him. It’s a performance of immense reactive and restorative power that you probably missed gazing at the stupefying histrionics of Jaideep Ahlawat and the bludgeoning homicidal hijinks of Abhishek Bannerjee.
5. Kalyanee Mulay in Criminal Justice 2: I confess I had never seen or known about Kalyanee Mulay before this. My loss entirely. As the cop Gauri Pradhan battling sexist and gender prejudice at work and at home (where she was being forced to have baby-making sex by her sexist husband and bullying mother-in-law), and still trying to remain true to her conscience Kalyanee brought to her character a wealth of relevance. The entire series should be seen once again for her performance alone.
6. Khushboo Atre in Criminal Justice 2: A completely unknown actress played Pankaj Tripathi’s unsophisticated but clever wife Ratna who is determined to break through her husband’s wall of indifference without compromising on her self-respect. It’s a fabulously written part, played with enormous empathy by Ms Atre. Least conscious of her co-star’s formidable reputation, this newcomer gave Pankaj Tripathi tit for tat in every scene.