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Monday, 6 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Female] in a Supporting Role [Comedy/Romantic/Musical]

Best Actor [Female] in a Supporting Role

Motion Picture Comedy/Romantic/Musical

A section that has always favoured powerful female character actors, in the past we have witnessed some glorious winners. They've all been veteran thespians of course, so can a newbie break the streak or do we continue the beautiful pattern.

Well at first we shall have to see what our nominees have accomplished so far;

Sadhana Singh is a veteran character actor who hasn't really ever got her due, she's the Nicole Kidman [Lion] and Michelle Williams [Manchester by The Sea] equivalent this year with a small role that creates a big impact.

This is Aishwarya Rai's first nomination since her unbelievably bland comeback for a performance worth discussing. 

Tabu secures her second nomination after her first in the parallel supporting category [drama] for her stellar work in Haider and winning it there with possibly the best performance of the decade in Hindi cinema.

The veteran Ratna Pathak Shah captures her first nomination, she would have got one for Ek Main aur Ekk Tu [Shakun Batra's first film] had I began the awards on my first year of the blog.

In her debut film, Riya Shukla scores a big nomination. Does a big win follow?

We will find out soon enough, but first the honourables that missed the cut but not a mention;

Momal Sheikh in Happy Bhag Jayegi-As the stoic Zoya, Sheikh is the picture perfect portrait of stern and smart while the other characters are goofing up in their quest to get Happy and Guddu reunited. When she sees her fiancé slipping for Happy, she can't help but feel hurt yet find a fortified strength to do and say what is right for all relationships. It's a sweet dramatic turn hidden among zany comedic performers.

Meghna Malik in Zubaan-The veteran TV actor has already proven that she is a superlative talent regardless of content and the same holds true in Zubaan where she plays the harsh and snarky Mandira but also holding her own as things go breaking down for her messed up family. She's a delight to watch unfold on screen.

Sughada Gharg in Tere Bin Laden 2-In the original she was a rough and tumble make up artist, this meta sequel turn it all over the head turning Gharg's character into an oversexed up eager actor who say 'I wanna do' with such deadpan conviction the hilarity is unbelievable. It's a funny turn made all the fun to watch in the way she sets up her co-stars.

Ekavali Khanna in Dear Dad-As the soon to be divorced wife of a gay man, Khanna doesn't much to really do in regards to the film especially since she already has come to terms with her husbands secrets. However Khanna gives a very self aware turn as the consistent voice of conscious for her husband and eventually her son as well. 

Aditi Rao Hydari in Fitoor-A complementary performance as the young Begum Jaan to Tabu's wizened haunted version, Hydari sparkles with a romantic naivety building for us the very narrative thread that links both versions of the characters and demystifies the macabre ways of the Begum and her Machiavellian schemes.

Alia Bhatt in Kapoor and Sons-She has a smaller role than usual in Kapoor and Sons, but even here we get to see Bhatt shine particularly in the chemistry with the boys as well as another breakdown scene that she completely nails. 

Phew that's a big list, but there's more, there's these nominees...

Sadhana Singh as Bibi Saroop for Jugni

In a pretty small role, Sadhana Singh as the legendary [in film] singer Bibi Saroop gets the ball rolling for Vibs; our Jugni.

Singh provides the movie with what is surprisingly a fresh comedic touch as the financially desperate mother constantly rattling off against her son Mastana, but she's not only funny; in what is one of the showcase scenes of the film, Sadhana Singh grasps the reality of what it means for any type of character to ask for her money from Vibhavari.

It might not seem much, but these little normal things add to a lot in her performance of a singer who has been jilted before by big city dreams. When she confronts her heartbroken son, that same detailing is fleshed out once more as Singh makes us realize the brittle ties between people can be.

It's a performance that is very much in the backdrop of the film, but Singh never forgets character and for that reason the backdrop becomes richer as it should.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Saba Taliyar Khan for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

A lot of people would once claim that the stunning Aishwarya Rai was an expressionless mannequin on screen. With her big return on screen, it seemed she had conquered this notion but rather overshot herself to the point that now her dramatics are pitched painfully high as she screams for either her daughter or brother...who cares.

However that doesn't hold true for a select few characters, among them we can add Saba Taliyar Khan to the list. As the exotic, seductive and sensuous poetess; Aishwarya gives possibly her finest performance, channeling her own casual cool into a romantic tryst with a younger heart broken man.

Yet age has no mention in this passionate romance, only passion does. Saba puts it clearly, she isn't looking for true love bullshit; she's is in it to feel good for herself. However in the midst of this relationship that takes about fifteen minutes of her screen time, Rai echoes the sinking feeling of falling in love and realizing it with such beauty it becomes applause worthy.

Here is a performer well in tune with where her character is going and more importantly the thematic core of unrequited love of this confused film. Rai is blisteringly brilliant in the films best sequence as she, her lover Ayan and his love Alizeh sit down on the table;

On any given table it would be hard to ignore the ethereal woman that is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, but here not even Ayan has eyes for her and Rai sinks wonderfully into the backdrop of the sequence becoming a mere shadow in her own relationship. Her little expressions enough to echo that she was fumbling into a romance that was bound to fail, yet Johar gives her an unnecessary speech tacked on the end as well and even then she conquers this with utmost grace.

One only wishes that this was Aishwarya's comeback film as she absolutely bowls over the whole film in it was is essentially a glorified yet glorious cameo.

Tabu as Begum Hazrat Jaan for Fitoor

She has portrayed Lady Macbeth [Maqbool] and Gertrude [Haider] and now she tackles Miss Havisham with Fitoor [an adaptation of Great Expectations]. By default most would consider these three of the greatest literary female characters of all time.

Only the dazzling and phenomenal Tabu could thus do justice to them.

That is all I would have to really say, but I'll add a bit more;

As the older, scruffier Begum, Tabu's gorgeous eyes speak a lot. They share with us a haunting pain, the angers of a jilted lover, the sorrows of a lost mother and the cunning of a pained romantic. Like a spectre as is in the novel, Tabu hovers over scenes with a nice gait to her movements and a consistently opaque face that never lets slip the characters motives until need be.

She holds scenes with undeniable prowess even when her incompetent co-stars are unable to give her much. She's the anchor that puts a stranglehold on what could have been a fascinating film.

Even when the film fails, as one of the finest actors of all time in Hindi cinema; Tabu rises beyond our great expectations.

Ratna Patak Shah as Sunita Kapoor for Kapoor and Sons

As the in control matriarch of this chaotic family, Ratna Patak Shah is the highlight of Kapoor and Sons. Both hiding and unaware of secrets of the family, she is the epicentre of the whole film as the family comes crumbling around her; Shah envelopes this with both a muted strength as well as a desperately breaking facade and show of utmost vulnerability.

Nirupa Roy this aint.

As a mother with questionable motives and decisions, Ratna Pathak Shah finally gets a cinematic showcase for her great talents, performing at her peak with a very naked performance that lays bare the soul of Sunita with such restrained ease, it's hard not to feel for the character despite her decisions.

Maybe that's why despite its wasted potential, Kapoor and Sons works because at the end of it all Shah makes you feel for a character who you wish got some sort of comeuppance but are content with not only her complete breakdown but also her transition into a more aware and honest if not the symbol of the perfect filmy mother.

Never has playing a mother in Hindi cinema been this complex and Shah rises to the occasion.

Riya Shukla as Apeksha 'Apu' Sahay for Nil Battey Sanata

When I watched Nil Battey Sanata for the first time, I absolutely could not get over the fact that Apeksha was such an ungrateful knat and Shulka made you really hate her. I never understood that was indeed the intention of the film.

More importantly, bowled by her far more experience and therefore more attention worthy co-stars; I never noticed the little ticks Shukla adds to her performances. It's not that she's just an ungrateful little girl, but it's also a teenage girl going through growing pains of her own especially when it comes to the struggle of her studies.

Shukla adds a dimension of childish frivolity that makes not only her actions seem plausible and somewhat even fair, because Chanda as equally childish refuses to really be a mother to her daughter but also eventually adds weight to her overall evolution and redemption arc.

Above all else, Shukla creates the right sparks in her chemistry with Bhaskar making for an entertaining joy ride in a film that still manages to teach a lot.

This is a young woman worth watching out for.

And the Winner is...

Ratna Pathak Shah as Sunita Kapoor for Kapoor and Sons!!!

Once again the top class thespian wins the award and deservingly so, in fact she is this years Viola Davis [Fences] of Hindi cinema, who could have easily been in the leading category but was pushed to supporting which she also fits into because she can be a winner!

Up Next: A young woman discovering the strength to do what is right by her husband and not give him a life half lived, A widow in dusty Rajasthan finding the resolve to go against society for what is right, A spirited girl fighting her own fear to discover her inner heroism, A trapped migrant girl seeking the power to fight her captors and find the real high of love, An agoraphobic modern woman fighting her demons only to discover her insight within...Best Lead Female Actor in Drama Motion Picture

'Nuff Said,

Aneesh Raikundalia

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