With the year coming to a close, it is time to list out some of the most favourite performances of the year in the Hindi entertainment space. In a year where the deep chasm between cinemas and OTT were breached, it felt right to dissolve them for the purpose of this list as well.
Here are the five best actors in a Hindi film or web series that we watched in 2020:
Jaideep Ahlawat in Paatal Lok
It is rare for critics and the masses to agree on something but Jaideep Ahlawat made everyone an instant devotee with his performance as inspector Hathiram Chaudhary in Paatal Lok. With his natural grip on the Haryanvi language, to way he carried rage and regret in equal amounts in his eyes, he expressed the pain of being a failure with a conviction that very few could have. Usually, in a crime story, the investigator’s side is the more lacklustre on comparison to the criminal. While the serial killer leaves an imprint on the audiences’ minds, the cop is easily forgotten. But in Paatal Lok, Jaideep became the beating heart of the show that was pitch perfect in all aspects.
Taapsee Pannu in Thappad
Of all the works listed here, Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad arrived the earliest in a year that already feels a decade longer than it should be. It should have been easier to forget Taapsee Pannu’s Amrita in all this time, but just like a poem written in a moment of truth, she is not going to leave the heart for a long, long time. Taapsee played Amrita as a woman so real and unseen, one cannot help but admire her. In real life as well, the actor is known for her powerful spirit but as Amrita, she channelled a very different kind of strength and courage, one that is silent but stern, giving but unforgiving.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Serious Men
While bigger stars boast about physical transformations and surviving six-month boot camps, Nawazuddin Siddiqui effortlessly slips into his characters without so much as a change in hairstyle. How he is able to seemingly alter his physical stature, simply through body language, continues to baffle. Here is a man who is neither diminutive nor imposing, but through sheer performance can convincingly pull off both.
Pratik Gandhi in Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story
With a long list of Gujarati theatre work in his portfolio and a couple of insignificant portions in films such as Loveyatri or Mitron, no one saw the tornado that is Pratik Gandhi coming. One Hansal Mehta web series later, he has been called the best actor of the year by not just critics and audiences but also his peers. Pratik may not look anything like the state enemy number 1 that he played on the show, but he was every bit as charismatic, electric, warm, sinister and charming enough that you, too, would bet your money on him becoming the next Big Bull of Bollywood.
Tripti Dimri in Bulbbul
Equal parts coquettish and mysterious, Tripti Dimri was the beating heart of the feminist fable packaged cleverly as a classic horror that was Bulbbul. As the little girl who grows up to become the ‘badi bahu’ of a zamindar family in pre-Renaissance Bengal, Bulbbul is always the bird in a gilded cage. Tripti is brilliant in the role of a woman who goes from a wide-eyed ingenue to a mysterious woman who wears her sexuality with pride.
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