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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The HIndie Awards 2015: Acting Awards Part 3

The HIndie Awards 2015

Leading Awards


Now onto the leading awards. 

Like the ones in supporting, the four leading award categories will follow in ascending order in terms of how good their winners are. This you will find out once you read the whole post. 

Anyways let's get onto the categories...

HIndie Award for Best Actor (Female) In A Leading Role (Drama)

There's nothing much to say, except for the fact that the leading performances this year were varied but all were dazzling. 

Female actors got a real chance to shine with some meaty roles, but hopefully there's more this year since I had to bump one actor to fill my quota of five for 2014. 


Priyanka Chopra as MC Mary Kom for Mary Kom

Let down by an uneven film and non-existent prosthetics, Priyanka Chopra as Mary Kom looks like Priyanka Chopra. Yet salute to her for never making the audience feel like that. 

Whether she's playing the real Mary Kom or not is up for debate, but that character that she plays, she plays to the best of her abilities. The elder Chopra proves that amidst a sea of emerging young female actors, she is willing to push and reinvent herself to be taken seriously. 

The physical prowess she brings to the role is mind blowing, the mental stability equally so. She hits great points of drama with her accent intact and really takes us through a myriad of emotions with her very challenging portrayal of a spirited champion. 

She shoulders the whole film with some prime expressions, terrific delivery (of banal dialogues) and craftily shifting body language. Her final melodramatic fight only works because Chopra puts her life into it. 

She might have begun as another plastic model, but Chopra has bloomed into a fine actor and the hope is that she keeps on being the 'ziddi dil' (Stubborn heart) for such roles. 

Rani Mukherjee as Shivani Shivaji Roy for Mardaani

If there's anything to be said about Rani Mukherjee, it's this; out from the limelight and down in her career, she has metaphorically formed into a phoenix waiting to fly high.

She doesn't need to though.

Rani may never top her sublime turn in Black, but her current career path has yielded a variety of roles that she has pulled of with aplomb. Out in the cold she has given some of her career best performances.

Whether it's the quirky Meenakshi in Aiyaa to the strong minded Meera in No One Killed Jessica and now Shivani in Mardaani.

In my opinion, Rani Mukherjee in some form can be considered underrated. She's won tons of accolades, praise and fans but in her heyday not many would claim her a top notch actor. Some not even after Black.

As Shivani she's fascinatingly brilliant, balancing an unwieldy script as a tough no nonsense cop that is equal parts Sadhu Agashe (Ab Tak Chappan) and Chulbul Pandey (Dabaang, without the too ott theatrics) and pulling of the somewhat skewed empowering message.

Mukherjee essentially towers over another showcase, that she definitely deserves. She imbues her character with a great anger but also uninhibited love for her family and respect for her duty. Her body language sells a heroism but also an emotional blindness in her quest to save pyaari.

She really pulls of the dialogues with a crisp evocation. A scene where the director dignifies Pyaari's existence more than her dignity (which is an amazing message by the way) is highlighted by how well Rani mines the subtext of the situation and gets the point across.

I hate the name Mardaani, cause it implies strength comes from being Manly (a Mard so to speak). It's one of the many faults of this film, that Mukherjee rides the tide against. Her expressions, delivery, body language and everything is pitch perfect because she's the top notch Rani Mukherjee, because she breathes the character that is Shivani; a no nonsense tough cop and caring individual.

Not because she's Mardaani. It has nothing to do with gender.

All it has to do with is that Rani Mukherjee is too damn good.  

Alia Bhatt as Veera Tripathi for Highway 

In all honesty, I hated Alia Bhatt in Student of The Year. 

What a year can do, there's an example right in front of you? 

In the spate of three films and three charming performances, Alia has transformed opinions and already become the actor to beat of her generation. In Highway, she is something else altogether. 

Given her meatiest role to date, the young Bhatt is splendid. She struggles in the beginning, but like with her character Veera; put her out in the untamed wild and she gains a strong grip over the narrative that never threatens to fall loose. 

The number of monologues and high intensity dialogues she gets are staggeringly powerful, yet in just her second film, Alia pulls them off with aplomb. She's emotionally stirring, especially once she stands up to her kidnapper and soon breaks through his hard shell. 

She is perfectly nuanced in the smaller moments, exhaling the idea that she has Stockholm syndrome with dexterity. She coddles him like a mother, attracts him and then brightens his view with her spirit. It's a powerful expression she gives at the end, a shot of calm and peace as she is free while chained to her child like dreams of serenity with Mahabir (Hooda). 

Truly this Student has graduated with top honors. 


Patralekha as Rakhee for Citylights

(Repeating what I said here, since there's nothing better to say about the performance)

There's a tense moment in Citylights, where Rakhee finally confronts her husband about his hopes, desires and overall naivety and stupidity regarding their move to the big city and their plight. 

It's an emotionally striking point where the newbie actor has to convey her emotions and rage through her dialogue while shouting. It's not a point that most female actors can get through to you at all, it's obviously hard, shouting and speaking tends to get a bit too squeaky and indecipherable. 

Yet there's something so brilliant about the way Patralekha delivers her dialogue here that everything gets through; from the overt anger to the underlining burden and shame she carries now. 

It's due to the inflictions she puts and the balance she gains during that moment. The point does feel like she is madly shouting but she really gets the obvious sub text out to the viewer as she points at how hungry their daughter is. 

It's these smaller bits that allow her to give such a performance that she nearly threatens to overshadow Rajkumar. Nearly, of course. 

Just imagine this. She's a debutante, in a film where she has intricately complex character arc, opposite a man whose just won a national award for a film he did with the director of this one and that man is her boyfriend thus raising questions to the credibility of her casting. 

Yet despite this, Patralekha jumps the hurdles and gives a performance that is distinctively her own. The little shifts in body language through the film are well worth a watch, her accent pitch perfect and her reactions to instances mind blowing. The final scene is only made moving thanks to the weight of emotions and character arcs she carries on her expression. 

This is one actor, hopefully here to stay.

Tejaswini Kolhapure as Shalini Bose for Ugly

I could have named any other actor for the unfilled fifth spot, instead I chose to push Kolhapure up. 


Cause she's really good and has missed out on much of the credit of the film that has gone to her male co-stars. As Shalini Bose, the wife of Shoumik (Roy), ex-wife of Rahul (Bhat) and mother to the missing Kali (Shrivastava), she is tied down by her relationships. 

She's in some form at the center of the ego conflict between the two men in her life. She once rejected Shoumik for Rahul and paid the price, she drifted to him again and is paying the price. Drunk and uncaring, Kolhapure plays this character with immense intensity. She's imprisoned by her husband and she struggles to fight to get out. 

Yet once she finds out her daughter is kidnapped, Kolhapure's complete body language takes a U-turn. It's a fascinating shift as she races to the people she begrudgingly relies on. She might not be a good mother, but Kolhapure manages to give Shalini a softer side. She even gives great reason to despise Rahul and Shoumik as well as make sense of her betrayal of her first husband. 

It's in the final confrontation though where Kolhapure shows what a gem of an actor she truly is. Standing up hard to Shoumik, she finally gets that one moment like the other actors to shine. Stealing Roy's thunder as she gives some power packed delivery and moves the scene with her vivid performance. 

Even though we never get to know what happened to her, she leaves us enthralled with her memorable turn. 

And the Winner is...

Alia Bhatt as Veera Tripathi for Highway!

HIndie Award for Best Actor (Female) in A Leading Role (Comedy/Musical)

Unlike the drama category, the comedy/musical genres have always given much more space to their female performers even if the films are bad, apart from the Masala films of course. As such it's no surprise that this category had more than the number of nominees it needed. Yet I decided to nominate only five for a good balance and because the other nominees had already left their mark with better performances. 

So much so that I tried justifying pushing them to the other genre category, but failed to reason with this logic. 

Anyways here's the other awesome women I'm talking about; 

Alia Bhatt (2 States): Bhatt, now an Official HIndie Award Winner! Is charming and stunning as the feisty and liberal Anania. She creates a sparkling chemistry with Arjun Kapoor which makes for the crux of an enjoyable if flawed film. 

Alia Bhatt (Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya): It's raining Alia Bhatt. The best thing about this ode to DDLJ is the sprity and charismatic Alia Bhatt. Constantly stealing the show and shining in the finale as the girl bringing her bridal ceremony to her groom, she's the tougher of the two and she plays it as such. 

Parineeti Chopra (Dawaat-E-Ishq): Whether it's getting the accent bang on or proving to be one hell of an emotive performer, Chopra kills it in another role in an average film becoming the best thing about it. She is simply marvelous and works wonders with the material she is given, giving us a likeable performance for a character that doesn't come off right. 

Anyways, there's probably more but let's just get to the main attraction (though I'm sure most know this one's a given)...

Vidya Balan as Bilkis Ahmed/Bobby for Bobby Jasoos

Don't bat your eyelids, all those characters you see are indeed Vidya Balan. The usually dependable dramatic actor has taken a different route (for some a turn for the worst) as a usually dependable comedic actress. 

After her loud mouthed Punjabi wife turn in Ghanchakkar, she kills it as the Hyderabadi conservative family girl looking to break out and becoming a detective. She really hits it well as Bobby, displaying a wide range of welcome emotions exclaiming her desires and heart into becoming a detective and her sadness when her father rejects her aspirations. 

She's exemplary in the melodramatic moments and is able to carry the dead weight of the feature while being in the background for the climatic conflict. She really enhances the frame with her colorful turn especially in costume. 

Like with most movies starring Vidya Balan, the reason to watch this; is Vidya Balan. 

Parineeti Chopra as Dr. Meeta Solanki for Hasee Toh Phasee

An affability and natural act is what Parineeti Chopra brings to the table every time she's on screen. It's why most are able to accuse her of being just bubbly on screen.

Let's put it to rest, she's not.

What Parineeti is able to do with her characters, is an ability that makes her a terrific actor. Her natural acting prowess allows her to be so transparent on screen, that she literally becomes the character. So much so, that it's hard to catch her in the act.

With Meeta this means she's adorable, immensely likeable, heart warming and genuinely hilarious. She sells her expressions exceptionally and pulls her weight in the dramatic instances, carrying the film on her strong shoulders.

She's the star of the show.   

Parineeti Chopra may not give the most mind blowing performances, but she gives the most balanced one's. It's why her filmography is replete with stable successes as an actor.

This is what truly makes her one of the bests of her generation, and already a National Award winner.

Madhuri Dixit as Beghum Para for Dedh Ishqiya 

With Age Madhuri Dixit has proved that there is something such as timeless beauty.

With Age Madhuri Dixit has proved that she is like fine wine, getting better and better as a performer.

She plays a wonderfully complex character that relies on her eyes to do the talking. She emotes with perfection, the despair she feels amidst a worn down palace, the tension as she faces Jaan, the nostalgia when she sees Khalu and the honest to god spirit she shares with Munia.

But the true moment Dixit shines is in her dance. This is not just any dance, it's a Madhuri Dixit dance and it's one she uses to evoke the strength and individuality of her character. With each step she releases the burdens and shackles Begum Para is bound by and it is mesmerizing to see.

Madhuri Dixit is ethereal and her performance the perfect comeback she could get. Playing right to her beat but becoming something vividly unique to see unravel on screen.

Kangana Ranaut as Rani 'Queen' Mehra for Queen 

There are moments in Queen where Kangana really strikes out at you, like her character. These moments come together to encompass the whole film. 

I've always had an issue with Ranaut's voice, yet here it becomes her greatest strength. Giving Rani that genuine likeable quality, from the way she cracks jokes to the way she tears up and finally when she says 'Thank You'. 

It takes a really empowering actor like Ranaut to carry this equally empowering film. Queen is her baby and she is Rani. She displays her characters spirit and heart with effective brilliance, whether it be fighting for her purse to her calm delivery of kindness in the final scene saying a lot in so little. 

The most fantastic moment arrives during the song 'Hungama Ho Gaya', it's a release of rage that turns into an expression of freedom that she exudes so wondrously. Kangana is in top form in Queen, hitting all the right notes with her expressions and language. 

The subtle nuances she sprinkles into detailing her character are sublime. Proving that she is indeed the Queen of Bollywood. 

Deepika Padukone as Angelina 'Angie' for Finding Fanny

Two in two successes prove that the team of Adajania and Padukone is one to watch out for. He fascinatingly models the leggy star into a natural actor on screen. Her earthiness provides an attachment to the village of Pocolim and the world nested in it.

Padukone exudes a stunning beauty even in the simplistic way she is modeled. It only helps to transcend a performance that feels like literally seeing Angie on screen. Her character exudes a spirit, branded by a loneliness and heartache.

The tears that stream down Padukone's face during some touching moments and the simple expressions she adds to the film whether in sadness, regret, happiness, confusion or bliss are accentuated with her subtle shifts from her eyes.

Padukone proves that she really has what it takes to be a top notch actress as she matches her co-leads especially Shah and Kapadia step for step in the dramatic undertaking and even the romantic light heartedness. 

Also Deepika's narration is impeccable and adds a certain spirit yet grounding to the feature.

And the Winner is...

Kangana Ranaut as Rani Mehra for Queen!

HIndie Award for Best Actor (Male) in A Leading Role (Comedy/Musical)

It's no surprise that this genre for male leading actors features wizened veterans who have a great handle on subtle, sophisticated and dramatically toned comedy. Each of these actors nominated feature a strong repertoire and then there's the shining beacon that's Sharib Hashmi (already a HIndie Award winner). 

There's also quite a few good actors who sadly missed the cut.

Arjun Kapoor (2 States): In 2 States, Kapoor is so subdued by the material that he churns out his finest performance to date. Always playing the too loud, too ott angry young man, Arjun as Krrish is gentile and that's what allows him to turn in something much sweeter and relate able.

Aditya Roy Kapur (Dawaat-E-Ishq): With Dawaat, Kapur lets the others take reign giving a carefree and laid back performance that feels refreshing. He's not an actor who can do intensity that well, so to see him take it calmly is fun as he doles out some spicy delivery of the dialogues and really enhances the second half of the feature

Varun Dhawan (Main Tera Hero): Charismatically brilliant and one hell of a charmer, Dhawan leaps out of the screen in his father's latest potboiler. Proving to be the ultimate package and pulling off the Govinda styled manic energy with ease. 

Well let's get onto the top class performances now...

Naseeruddin Shah as Ifthekar/Khalujan for Dedh Ishqiya

Khalujan and Freddie (Finding Fanny) are poles apart. One is an ageing thief, the other an oft drunk postman. But the thing that binds them together echoes in the actors eyes. A longing. A longing for true love, they had once tasted in fleeting glimpses.

Naseeruddin Shah is one of the finest actors in Hindi cinema. His natural poise on screen has allowed him to play the most eccentric and the most subdued characters, for decades on end.

There is no one in the industry who can match him today in the art of subtlety, in deconstructing a character and reflecting his emotions with a fluid change on screen. His return as Khalujan (in the crackling Dedh Ishqiya) is a celebrated one, that hides an angst, a pain so moving it will bring you to applause.

Peer into the windows of his soul and you'll see the four years gone by (from Ishqiya). Khalujan is old, his hair is grey and frazzled. The youth injected by a young love (the first time we saw him) now washed white by aching heartbreak. With it however it brings a desperate longing and a want for change.

The determination to set things right, burns with a fervor. A lyrical sort of movement in his body that Shah perfectly embodies. This is not an actor we witness on screen; it's a reformed thief, a wise poet, an enchanting romantic. Above all, it's Khalujan.

Shah's fascinating delivery straddles the line of panache and nerve with brilliance. His timing perfect, such that it gives the spiciness of Arshad Warsi, a run for its money. He accentuates the ethereal beauty of Madhuri, with his own affable charm and old world feel.

Today, Khalujan is the epitome of his career. Tomorrow, another character.

This is a testament to the prowess of Shah's performance. Any character he takes slips into him like a well worn glove.

Arshad Warsi as Razzak Hussain/Babban for Dedh Ishqiya

For every straight man, you need a funny one. Then if your straight man is as crooked as Naseeruddin Shah as Khalujan, then your funny man's got to be a whole lot more crackling.

Then who better than the spicy and scintillating Arshad Warsi. Warsi returns as Babban, as the most crooked and lusty criminal on screen. He is the match that gets the fire started.

Don't be mistaken though, Warsi isn't all pitch perfect coming timing. He also reveals a heart ever so gently and wonderfully, proving to make Babban much more refined in his pursuit for love in the seven stages.

It's how he bounce off the other actors that makes his performance such a masterstroke. His chemistry with Huma Qureshi is sizzling, making for something really sexually charged. With the few scenes he gets to spend with Raaz, you see the actors constantly trying to outdo each other. With Naseeruddin of course he shares a conflicting bond, that is wonderfully expressed and sold by the actor on its heartiness.

Warsi is a man that is constantly bogged down by bad choices, just see last year's Mr. Joe B. Carvalo.

Yet when given a role like this, he never fails to disappoint. He reinvents himself with the genre he is a stalwart off and turns out something different that enhances not only his own self as a performer but the work of his co-stars and the script as well. 

Sharib Hashmi as Sunny for Filmistaan

(Repeating what I said here, since there's nothing better to say about the performance)

A decade long struggle for Sharib Hashmi ended in 2012 when he was cast opposite Shahrukh Khan in Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

For Sunny, the character Hashmi plays in the charming indie Filmistaan, that would have been a highly surreal moment and heart attack inducing. It's what defines Sunny, he's an out and out hardcore Bollywood buff.

Sadly for Sunny he has an acting keeda and repeated failures push him to be a part of the filmy world bringing him out to the edge of the Indo-Pak border. Sunny's captured by conflicted Jihadist militants hording over a quaint Pakistan village.

Yet he doesn't waver. The underlining tension and drama that Sharib Hashmi molds into comedic laughter and spirited resolve, are a wonder to behold. He has an innate sense of timing, pulling of the most funniest lines and actions with aplomb.

Cinema is a powerful tool in Filmistaan and Hashmi as Sunny wields it with joyous glory. He creates a crackling chemistry with Inaamulhaq and while he's sublime in the comedy, he is transcendent during the hearty dramatic moments.

A moment as Sunny stands up to the militant leader played by Kumud Mishra, Sunny is unrelenting, he gets beat but still holds onto his camera. It's a moment of profound effect that Hashmi echoes about Sunny's undeniable passion for cinema, despite his idiosyncrasies.

In a year that's once again seen terrible star kids gain magnum applause, here is a man who has persevered and deserves to be celebrated like Sunny does his cinema.

PS: Watch him mouth Salman Khan's Maine Pyar Kiya dialogues with craft during the mute pirated film screening scene in Filmistaan.
Sanjay Mishra as Bauji for Ankhon Dekhi

Playing the hunched patriarch in Rajat Kapoor's insightful Ankhon Dekhi, Sanjay Mishra is not necessarily a revelation but a welcome surprise. The character actor has been a constant force for the better part of nearly two decades as a sideshow comedian and nothing more. There's been a rare few roles where he's truly been allowed to shine.

In Ankhon Dekhi, Mishra does play a funny man but with a stirring dramatic edge. His Bauji is a man whose believes have been shaken, by a simple rumor. It's a moving point that allows Mishra to pull this film off.

Watch the scene in the household as Mishra walks about the place dictating his new life terms to everyone, his movement through his setting is so natural you feel that he has lived his whole life here in these situations.

Look at Mishra carefully, he has a knack of pulling off great comic timing while making the humor of the situation feel oblivious to his character. It helps make you sympathize with the simplicity of Bauji and enhances the much more dramatic embellishments.

Finally this is indeed a once in a lifetime role for the under appreciated performer, to see him shine on screen after constantly making us laugh makes for a heartwarming journey of its own.

Naseeruddin Shah as Ferdinand 'Ferdie' Pinto for Finding Fanny

With Freddie, Shah does something unexpected. He plays a character that is genuinely nice and selfless. The last time I remember Shah playing an honest to god good character is in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.

But Vinod and Freddie are quite apart. Don't take it the wrong way, this is not a one note good character. Freddie has a lot of depth to him that Shah conveys in the smallest of gestures.

He is sincere, honest, somewhat meek and infinitely lovable. Shah works on his tone and vocals wonderfully, playing him a pitch lower and giving him the sweetness and idiotic feel the character requires.

He is moving in the poignant moments, yet Shah also never lets the comedic aspect of the script slip. He is quick to catch the hilarity of situations, of the characters own bumbling brilliance. The longing is where Freddie lies and Shah pulls his arc through to its touching finale with aplomb, so much so that you never see the actor on screen but the touching and moving Freddie.

Freddie is another character in the long list of them, that Shah has performed like no other. Shah is one of the greatest actors of India, and this year gives a double bonanza.

I'd say lap it up like there's no tomorrow, cause that's the lesson Freddie learns and Shah captures in his sweet and poignant eyes.

Aamir Khan as PK for PK

In PK, Aamir Khan is once again in the center stage as expected. Unlike his other film,  he truly is the major attraction as well, enhancing the somewhat uneven script with his magnificent presence and performance.

Khan is not really that great a performer (heck, I prefer Shah Rukh over him) but he has given some great performances on occasion and you can count his latest as one of them.

Wide eyed, big eared and performing with a childlike wonder and a robotic technicality, he puts life into PK (the alien). Giving the character a fuzzy warm heart and a stirring depth, pictured by a great range of emotions he pulls off while utilizing his unwavering eyes wonderfully.

He brings a lot to the table in terms of physicality, portraying the character as stiff initially exemplifying the idea of being guarded and then finally becoming much more free as the film goes on. Khan's idea of incorporating his character to the dance he gets is a magnificent idea he pulls off with great motions and emotions.

Even when he's in a melodramatic high zone, Khan reaches deep within himself and profoundly hits you with a belt of thoughts. He also keeps his prior histrionics in check. The best thing though, is at least seeing one of the Khan troika do something different.

Maybe that's why the world loves his works so much more. He might be overrated (to me), but Khan is still going to be counted as a great performer. 

And the Winner is...

Sanjay Mishra as Bauji for Ankhon Dekhi!

HIndie Award for Best Actor (Male) in a Leading Role (Drama)

Let's just put it out there. This is one award that I agree on with every other Hindi film award. If that's a fact, then there's no other indication to tell you who's winning. 

Sorry for the spoiler, but I think it's obvious by now. Still the nominees, and there are those much better than what the other shows could conjure up, deserve the look see. 

The dramatic category will always lay out great roles for its male actors and this year is no exception. Also this year I haven't made a mistake, unlike last year when I got swayed by the emotion and gave Farhan Akhtar (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag) over Rajukmar Rao (Shahid). 

Let's just get onto it, since there weren't any better than the seven listed below...

Randeep Hooda as Mahabir Bhati for Highway

In Imtiaz Ali's latest, Randeep Hooda is a striking revelation. The world over knew somewhere in their minds that the man can act and churn out a mind blowing performance of this stature, but there was no proof of it in his inconsistent career. 

Despite being to some a supporting role to Alia, Hooda manages to shine because of the small shifts he creates with his character even when in the background. The scene where Veera (Bhatt) reveals her tragic past with her uncle is laid wonderfully bare by Alia, but you can't help not looking at the blurred figure of Hooda who still sells his expressions despite being unseen. 

To put that much effort into a performance is what will get Hooda noticed as the fantastic actor he is. In the final moments heading towards the inevitable death for Bhati, Hooda steals the thunder and the camera's attention. His heart breaking and harrowing portrayal of a man who knows he is faking or trying to live a fantasy is beautiful. 

He expresses a wide range of emotions with a wide range of tools he has. His fearful and regretful emotions betraying his body language, creating that wonderful juxtapose of a character wanting to live and one who knows death creeps closer. 

He truly becomes the perfect shadow for Alia, but also the best actor for her to bounce off. As much as Highway was about Veer it was about Mahabir and Hooda shows you that with thundering brilliance. 

Vijay Raaz as Rehmat Ali for Kya Dilli, Kya Lahore

In his moving directorial debut, Raaz is at it again proving that he is probably one of the most under appreciated actor's of the past decades and more. Anybody whose seen Raghu Romeo, will tell you that the actor has a knack of finding sweet quite drama in the most out of your mind comedic situations.

In his latest, it's the opposite but the result is the same; a fantastic performance. 

He's one hell of an actor, who can don multiple masks and move you as he does here. Raaz's is comedy is at a point so refined, it's flawless. His dramatic chops powerful. The method with which he tries to kill his opposite compatriot Shastri (Manu Rishi) will leave you rolling on the floor, right before a lot of the slow and seriousness comes in. 

This is where he grasps you, it truly feels like his backing up to tales heard but his delivery makes them into his own tales felt about the partition and the war these poor uncaring devils are thrown into. A war they didn't ask for.

Watch him when he reminisces about Dilli and the nooks and crannies he has been through. Raaz's eyes reveal volumes. It's the perfect way for an actor to emote and Raaz is still in my opinion one of the best to pull it off even in those comedies most people enjoy him in. 

Shahid Kapur as Haider Meer in Haider

Bismil (the mousetrap) is the centerpiece of Shahid Kapur's fascinating performance as the titular character. It plays to his strengths as a sublime dancer, but also exemplifies everything the underrated actor does with the character of Hamlet.

Probably the finest character in the history of theater/cinema. He captures the man's lost innocence, his rage against the system, a slow burning loss of hope and a feverish madness. He's hell bent on a single goal, vengeance.

All that comes through in the whole film, but more so in one passionate masterstroke of a dance. His Haider begins as a detached man returning a home he left as a raging boy.

Slowly but surely as the narrative picks pace, Kapur reveals layers. A heart, a soul, a fierce intimacy with his mother, a naivety that is played on by the truths of Roohdar and Khurram, a melancholy for those lost and those loved. Above all, a madness, or a pretense that he straddles perfectly.

The furor he exudes on screen is infectious and latches onto the audience, engaging them such that there eyes never wander. It's a steep task when he's matched against some of the greats of our time, but he pulls it off cause he breathes this role. He lives it.

At the end of it all, Shahid Kapur proves that he has truly sprung from the loins of his father with a performance that will be etched in the annals of Hindi cinema. 

Partho Gupte as Arjun Harishchand Waghmare for Hawaa Hawaai

With Hawaa Hawaai, Partho once again proves (despite it being his father's know nepotism in Bollywood, even if it works) that he is one of Indian cinemas finest actors working today. That too in his second film and at the tender age of twelve years. 

Imagining years down the road, one can see Partho as probably the finest actor of his generation and beyond. In truest sense a champion underdog, just like his Eklavya character in the film. Gupte is splendid, trading in his childlike innocence and sweetness (from Stanley Ka Dabba) for a maturity that is so wonderfully transformative on screen and parallel to the wonder he holds when he begins to make skating his passion.  

In the scene where his father dies and Arjun races through to get to the doctor to no avail, Gupte is stirring. The tumultuous mix of worry, rage at himself and a heartbreaking sadness is gratifyingly conveyed by his soulful movements. Each step and as a profound expression, each stamp of his skates is a masterly crafted hit of emotion that Gupte gets so right. 

Being as director Amole Gupte is his father, it's easy for Partho to surrender himself to his filmmaker and due to that he is able to really dig deep into a vast unending emotional vault to make this underdog story a worthy watch. 

Hats off to this young man, who aforementioned is guaranteed to turn into a master class actor. 

Purab Kohli as Bakka for Jal

Kohli is the only reason why Jal in it's uneven tone becomes a journey worth taking. The oft overlooked actor and former VJ, does something else with the material whether it be unnecessarily funny or dramatic (a little to late). 

In the final scenes where the tension is relentless, there's no doubt he carries the load and provides a stirring portrayal of loss of hope and power to save the woman he loves. It's however in the raw scenes crafted by his misguided director, that he works his magic. 

Comedy is his forte but here he takes his performance a notch higher, delivering to us a character who feels very honest and naive but also sharp and arrogant with equal approach on both fronts. His conveyance of language is far better than he has ever shown. 

He really hits the right notes with the accent and is able to weave his delivery and its deeper process into the way he simple speaks. His chemistry with multiple characters is well worked by his language in each characters presence and helps reveal more than the dialogues can and should. 

Kohli is in truest form the leading man of the film, because he takes it there with his performance that everybody else is unable to.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Sonu Duggal for Miss Lovely

Miss Lovely features one of Siddiqui's earlier performances as the lead actor, it shows in his somewhat nervousness (that adds a great touch to his odd character Sonu) and prime rawness. This allows Siddiqui to be really profoundly natural on screen.

As Sonu, a character vaguely marked out, Siddiqui explores a depth unseen by the audiences adding weight to the actions and aspirations of his somewhat foolish character. The genre bending film in a sense allows the oft non-heroic Sonu to be the filmy hero.

He clashes with Vicky (George) with intensity, he looks at Pinky (Singh) with passion, he fights vigorously to get out and cares for some of the others stuck in this dreary cesspool with tender. Ahluwalia's genre bending film is weird and the weirdest thing is its idea of Sonu as a character.

Yet Siddiqui makes it all believable even till the bitter, maddening and unheroic end. He deftly peels back the layers of the film and the relationships he has with respective characters, he conveys the metaphorical beauty of Miss Lovely with perfection.

The final shot is a taste of what Siddiqui can do as a performer, he sells the maddening stare and ideology of the kind of pedestal he puts Pinky in and the form he sees her in.

Siddiqui has turned into a refined performer and Miss Lovely is well worth a watch to see where he comes from and how great he was in this raw performance.

Rajkumar Rao as Deepak Singh for Citylights

How an actor can go from the most hated asshole on screen of 2014 to one of the most likeable is as surprise. The only thing guaranteed is that if anyone can, Rajkumar can.

The man is a genius. Riveting and emotionally manipulating (for the better) the audience with his sincere performance as the destiny beaten Deepak. A man looking to provide for his family and get them a better life. 

In Deepak, Rao pulls of some of his best works relying on his strong histrionics. He gets the accent pitch perfect, but also the connotations of certain words and the tone of his voice thus presenting this very meek and trusting character. 

He provides such a nuanced flavor that you never really feel Deepak is stupid just too nice and naive, it's a hard line to balance for an audience of a certain intellect and Rao does it so well thus forcing you to cheer for his character. 

It's a power packed performance that has you constantly breathing in the character, in some sense apprehensive as to what he'll do next and whether he will be safe. Rao is simply fantastic in wringing all these emotions out, with his detailed expressions. 

Plus, if his sparkling chemistry with Patralekha says anything than it's that he's found a great reel and real partner. 

Like with Shahid, Citylights becomes Rao's film and he doesn't let that slip one bit. 

And the Winner is...

Shahid Kapur as Haider Meer for Haider!

So that's it for the acting awards, next we go straight to the captain of the ship!

Before let's have a look at the ranking of acting winners overall...

8. Alia Bhatt for Highway (Female-Drama-Lead)
7. Anil George for Miss Lovely (Male-Drama-Supporting)
6. Dimple Kapadia for Finding Fanny (Female-Comedy/Musical-Supporting)
5. Pankaj Kapur for Finding Fanny (Male-Comedy/Musical-Supporting)
4. Kangana Ranaut for Queen (Female-Comedy/Musical-Leading)
3. Sanjay Mishra for Ankhon Dekhi (Male-Comedy/Musical-Leading)
2. Shahid Kapur for Haider (Male-Drama-Leading)
1. Tabu for Haider (Female-Drama-Leading)

Up Next: An new wave Indie maestro, an underrated talent, a sophomore champion, a mind bending indie genius, a crackling student and his auteur master...HIndie Award for Best Director

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia  

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