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Saturday, 4 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Female] in a Supporting Role [Drama]

Best Actor [Female] in a Supporting Role

Motion Picture Drama

It has indeed been a phenomenal year for women in Hindi cinema, when I can take one of the years finest performances and decide to pull an "Oscar" by shoving her from supporting to leading because it's difficult to not want to have both fine turns nominated.

I am of course speaking of Radhika Apte in Parched, whose film title might allude to her condition and she might have a leading stance but the narrative's slight nudge towards Rani [Chatterjee] allows me to justify a push from leading to supporting, this is because Apte is so phenomenal in both this and Phobia it was hard to decide which to choose. So I chose both, sue me, it's my blog.

Speaking of the other nominees, since Apte has only been a Breakthrough award winner before, what do the other have or have had in store;

Amruta Subhash was a nominee last year in the Indian Language category for Best Lead Actor. As for the other three, they've never tasted a nomination; so one thing is absolutely assured, we are going to get a new winner today!

But first, to those that missed the cut;

Zaira Wasim for Dangal-The young firebrand practically won the breakthrough award but she proved to be such a powerful talent it was hard to deny her this mention.

Richa Chada for Sarabjit-Shortchanged by her role in this horrendously made biopic, Chada proves why she is still one of the most talented and yes sought after character actors with the ability to transform herself for any film.

I can't think of any more deserving candidates, so let's move onto our nominees...

Amruta Subhash as Lakshmi for Raman Raghav 2.0

The moment Subhash comes on screen, the level and atmosphere in Raman Raghav 2.0 is raised and the films most exciting chapter begins.

As the scared and hopeless sister of the sinister Ramanna, Subhash is quick in relaying the idea of the kind of staggering fear Ramanna can create by simply cowering in front of his presence. She is consistently shifting though in her body language, tone of delivery and expressions as his her chameleon like brother and it hints at much more than we know.

Along with Siddiqui, Subhash builds an atmosphere that crafts a chokehold on the audience adding such delicious layers to the film with a performance that lasts less than quarter of the film.

It seems Subhash has finally found her footing as an actor, but her physicality might surprise you as she proves that this small role has a lot more depth of performance in it as well as becoming a showcase for the different shades she may be able to portray in the future.

Radhika Apte as Lajjo for Parched

Intimacy is such a complex but poignant part of cinema, it is however difficult to perform considering how mechanical the process is. Yet in Parched, two scenes prove that Radhika Apte is a performer without inhibitions and one who can tackle any given form of intimacy with a beautiful performance.

As the somewhat randy but subdued Lajjo, a woman who has been deemed unable to give birth to a child [despite her husband having never been tested either]; Apte plays her with a comedic twinge that adds much needed levity to the films dry style of drama. She doesn't balk at bringing the natural humor to the fore as a character consistently being judged for it. There is a pathos and desire to Lajjo to though, the desire to be a mother.

This is reflected in the smaller moments, the quieter moments; those moments of intimacy between Lajjo and friends and more importantly between Lajjo and the cave dwelling tantric who can fulfill her desires.

In such sequences Apte wrenches your heart with a fear towards touch but a gradual acceptance of it, a want of it. Everything by miracle then comes to life when Apte brims with and exudes such expertise and confidence.

It's another notch on her belt, in an ever growing fine repertoire.

Shabana Azmi as Rama Bhanot for Neerja

There's a reason why Shabana Azmi is considered one of the if not the finest female actors of Hindi cinema. I could just as well point to the number of performances in her career that highlight this fact.

Or for those looking for a shorter route, I'd point to the final scenes of Neerja.

A film that is for most part on the shoulders of a stellar Sonam Kapoor, Neerja the movies final conclusive moments are spent under the watchful eye of Azmi who gives a staggering performance as a wounded and emotionally distraught mother gathering her own strength to celebrate her daughter's bravery, the very same heroism that probably comes from her as exemplified by her belief that he daughter did right no matter the personal loss she has suffered.

Azmi is a pitch perfect portrait of strength and resolve thanks to a performance, a delivery with which she consumes the very melodrama of the situation and turns into a nuanced take on what is means to be a hero and more importantly what it means to do your duty.

She hides her pain in the subtle ways with which she plays with the dialogue, while bringing forth a beaming pride. The way she works around the speech is a showcase in acting for any student of the game.

Indeed, there's a reason why Shabana Azmi is one of the finest actors in Hindi cinema of all time and Neerja is just another example of the fact.

Surveen Chawla as Bijlee for Parched

Who may seem like the livewire of the trio in Parched, Chawla's performance is positioned well as a play on the kind of roles she is normally typecast in but there is more to the surface that it seems.

Bijlee enjoys her work even though she might be forced into it, she may act like she is uncaring of others judgement even though she is hurt by her own friends thoughts on her, she might be flaky with her doltish male compatriot but she does share a tenderness towards him broken when he fails to understand her.

All these things topped with an unhealthy does of insecurity allows Chawla to bear her soul into a role not many would expect her to perform or give her as a filmmaker, but Yadav's trust in her underrated actor proves to be placed right as Chawla nearly comes away with the film with her meticulous turn as Bijlee.

She is spunky and sprightly but Chawla sheds these layers with conviction to deliver a pain and poignant portrayal of the degradation of a sweet hard working woman by the hypocritical society that lusts and loathes after her.

Kirti Kulhari as Falak Ali for Pink

As the somewhat soft spoken and reserved Falak Ali, Kirti Kulhari's performance is an example of how to build character and develop the performance in such a way that Falak's specific final confrontational moment comes both as a welcome surprise and a smooth foreseeable transition.

Kulhari with Falak presents a picture of subdued strength that gradually works towards the betterment of one of the facets of the films agenda, as it is important for woman to support woman in order to tarnish this unfair patriarchal society.

It takes a self aware actor like Kulhari to realize when to dial up the dramatics in the sequences against the antagonists as well as in the masterful courtroom blow out, in comparison to moments that require a certain nuance in portrayal such as much of the film.

It's a supporting turn that is befitting of the title as Kulhari is well aware of when to take reigns of a scene and when to gift to her co-stars the platform to perform. As is Falak the motherly strength of the trio of girls, Kulhari is the unifying strong link of their performances.

And the Winner is...

Shabana Azmi as Rama Bhanot for Neerja!!!

The veteran takes it all in one damn competitive category, for the other three of four ladies there is always next time but for Radhika Apte she still has a shot at redemption with the leading category. 

Up Next: A retired man trying to finally fulfill his haunting obsession to be on the silver screen, a terrorist confined by space becomes manic in his evil pursuits, a stern coach relentless in pursuit of success for his child prodigy student at what cost, an aspiring actor destroying himself in order to fly high and a reporter seeking justice with a story that finds him a beautiful friendship...Best Supporting Actor [Male] Drama

'Nuff Said, 

Aneesh Raikundalia

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