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Monday, 6 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Male] in a Leading Role [Drama]

Best Actor [Male] in a Leading Role 

Motion Picture Drama

If anything has been proven this year, it is this;

Stars might effectively be insecure about their positions, but Hindi cinemas leading man are looking to use this so called fear for the good and prove with their acting capabilities why they are at the top despite of what else people may say of their abilities or capabilities.

This year alone we have two big leading men of the past two decades on the nomination list, not to mention one of them is a double nominee this year [in different categories of course].

The five nominees this year also are a mix bag of the proof of where Hindi cinema is headed barring box office successes and failures.

So where is it headed?

At least for the leading men, it is headed in a position where actors experiment with genre roles, the biopic becomes a place to deliver fine performances and thespians are still very much in demand for in demand roles.

All in all, nobody is eating into anybody's work and more importantly everyone shines. Though of course some don't get to shine bright enough and so here they are as Honourable mentions;

Amitabh Bachchan in Te3n-Of the three Angry Old Man roles Bachchan sir has done this year in order to reinvent his former Angry Young Man persona, this was the best. While he was a bit gravely in Wazir and could be caught in the act in Pinkl, it was in Te3n he proved what a masterclass performer he is with a turn that carries the weight of time with him.

Sushant Singh Rajput in MS. Dhoni-Though stifled by an absolutely horrendous film and some moments of ill advised VFX work; Rajput does his best to prove why he is one of the most versatile talents working today with a measured performance that sells us on the MS. Dhoni which the film tries to project

Salman Khan in Sultan-The one role where Salman Khan puts in effort to at least show if he cannot handle the strength of heavy drama he can at least prove to try and do so.

Randeep Hooda in Sarabjit-Completely destroyed by an atrocious film, a film that overhypes Aishwarya Rai's screechy performance as Sarabjit's sister; it is Hooda who tries to save the film with a calculated melodramatic turn.

Akshay Kumar in Airlift-In what is probably his finest performance [maybe], Akshay Kumar proves once more that he is consistently able to reinvent himself and prove a resilient performer in whatever genre is given.

Vicky Kaushal in Raman Raghav 2.0-He might fail to match up to his co-star but he comes oh so close with a performance that proves Kaushal is a performer with unbelievable talent and determination to prove versatility with a role. Providing the perfect mirror foil to Siddiqui. 

Shahid Kapoor in Udta Punjab-Though as mentioned in the ensemble section, Kapoor goes a bit too bug eyed and he is acting like a druggie more than embodying one. In the smaller moments, the quieter of reflection, Kapoor is a revelation and showcases why he is a former Best Actor Drama winner. 

And now for our nominees, these five are top class performer and undoubtedly stars of their genres and generations.

Of five of them;

Nawazuddin Siddiqui has 5 nominations with 0 wins

Aamir Khan has 1 nomination with 0 wins

Naseeruddin Shah has 2 nominations with 0 wins

And the other two [Shahrukh Khan and Manoj Bajpayee] have not been nominated ever in the past three official  Hindie Awards.

What that means that one of these nominees will win their first best actor award in any category but in this case in drama...

Naseeruddin Shah as Shiv Kumar for Waiting

As the hope filled yet stubborn voice of conscience, Shiv Kumar allows Shah to play the kind of subdued tender yet skewed characters that he has portrayed with aplomb in classics such as Sparsh and Masoom.

It's a role that demands a lot of an actor, but not much of the Naseeruddin Shah; portraying the role with an affecting subtlety.

His fight against the systematic operations of the hospital is muted yet strong, there's a reservoir of strength backed by guilt and hope when it comes to the need for his wife to survive.

Each measured movement doesn't seem so because as a thespian of the craft; Shah proves to be so natural that he slips into Shiv like a comfortable well worn glove.

The kind of glove he is known to slip into with every role.

Shahrukh Khan as Aryan Khanna/Gaurav Chandna for Fan

The box office might say otherwise, but Shahrukh Khan is well and truly back and no better role could fit him as such.

Rewind to the fringes of the previous decade and one begins to notice that Khan very much began to play a gallery of role that provided a meta commentary on the career of the global Indian superstar. To the point where SRK had become a parody of himself despite trying to make some innovative films such as the sci-fi adventure Ra. One or the slick heist thriller Don 2.

So its apt that a meta commentary on the stardom of Shahrukh Khan and a role that lets him play both sides of the coin of his own filmography gets him resurrected like a phoenix from the ashes.

As the titular fan; Gaurav, Khan hauntingly reminds you of his star making anti-hero roles from Darr and Baazigar, threatening to steal the show from himself with a blistering showy performance.

Ye it is as Aryan Khanna that Khan punctuates this post modern phase of his career with a role that is basically him but even more so.

Shahrukh Khan does what most stars would fear to do, exposing his haunting vulnerabilities specifically in conjunction with his stardom. The scene where Khan witnesses an empty arena on the day of his show, is an echo of his own fear of losing his own stardom and Khan absolutely mesmerizes with it.

Fan is the be all end all of Shahrukh Khan; the man, the star, the actor and even the fan.

Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat for Dangal

Though the narrative seeks to glorify Phogat's harsh methods that steal a childhood from his girls just as child marriage does to their friends, unlike another certain sports film this year; Dangal buoyed by the presence of mind of Aamir Khan who adds this complex layer to his performance even if the script doesn't call for it.

As the sometimes ruthless and sometimes driving Mahavir, Aamir Khan is a delight to watch specifically in those scenes few and far between that allow him to pause and reflect on his actions rather than dramatize the narrative beats.

For example as he tends to his young tired hard working daughters, the pain of a father seeps into the relentless passion of a coach and Khan's Phogat laments the duality of his roles sparking a hint of the monster/mentor dichotomy that made JK Simmons an Oscar winner with Whiplash.

Or the most powerful scene of the whole film; the fight sequence between father and daughter in the one spot that made them whom they are. As daughter struggles to free herself of her father's unconditional somewhat ruthless regime, Khan tries to wind back the clock and prove that he is the be all end all. As things go the way he doesn't except, the expression on Khan's face in loss tells a story that a couple of flashbacks and the whole narrative fails to.

I'm always going to pick on the Aamir Khan perfectionist persona and maintain that he isn't an excellent actor but an intuitive one who knows how to pick the best of roles and scripts suited to his sensibilities. But with Dangal he proves that he is indeed far more essential to the wheel of cinema, then given credit for or that labels can do justice to.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Ramanna for Raman Raghav 2.0

Channeling the action of Pran from underrated Bachchan gem Majboor, Siddiqui portrays possibly one of the most bone chilling characters in all of Hindi cinema in a long time.

As one half of the titular Ramanna of Raman Raghav there is a atmosphere of dread built every time Siddiqui brings his dainty figure onto screen with glinting eyes and a smile full of menace.

As usual it is that snippy laid back delivery of Siddiqui that manages to promote a figure of sympathy and seduction in contrast to the physical actions he takes once again in dichotomy to his subdued body language.

When like a fox cornered, Siddiqui proves to be slimy and smooth in his characterization and bites with ferocity that never threatens to overpower the scene but rathen empowers the mood. That is when Ramanna becomes bone chilling.

Manoj Bajpayee as Prof. Ramchandra Siras for Aligarh

Just when you've all the magic, the magician pulls out a new one from his bag of tricks.

With Ramchandra Siras, Manoj Bajpayee is far removed from the Bhiku Matre's and Sardar Khan's of life. Yes those were men afraid of theri wives, romantic and comedic at times but most importantly they were violent. An angry streak that exemplified the talent of Manoj Bajpayee.

With Ramchandra Siras, Manoj Bajpayee presents his versatility we've know in small spades that he has had.

With Ramchandra Siras, Bajpayee presents a tenderness, a vulnerability and an unbelivable capacity to say so much with so little.

In a performance that is bound to go down as once in a lifetime, Manoj Bajpayee might never look the part but he becomes it with an easy tilt of the head, a dull spark of the eyes and a soft poetic voice that is far from his own.

The poignant manner with which he carried forward the pathos and burdens of this character and his real life tragedy makes one weep, despite the film never forcing you to do so.

One thing he absolutely proves that just when you've forgotten him, the invisible man become visible once more with a bang.

And the Winner is...

Manoj Bajpayee as Prof. Ramchandra Siras for Aligarh!!!

And with that we bid adieu to the acting awards, as can be seen with the past four years of HIndie Cinema Awards; 3 out of 4 winners are for roles of characters taken from real life [Rajkumar Rao as Shahid Azmi in 2014, Randeep Hooda as Charles Sobhraj in 2016 and Manoj Bajpayee in 2017]

As such here are the final rankings of winners this year;

1. Manoj Bajpayee as Prof. Ramchandra Siras for Aligarh
2. Radhika Apte as Mehak Deo for Phobia
3. Ratna Patak Shah as Sunita Kapoor for Kapoor and Sons
4. Swara Bhaskar as Chanda Sahay for Nil Battey Sanata
5. Pankaj Tripathi as Principal Shrivastava for Nil Battey Sanata
6. Rajkumar Rao as Deepu Sebastian for Aligarh
7. Shabana Azmi as Rama Bhanot for Neerja
8. Fawad Khan as Rahul Kapoor for Kapoor and Sons

Up Next: My favorite and as Deadpool eloquently put it this year, the real heroes of the film...Best Screenplay

'Nuff Said,

Aneesh Raikundalia

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