Each year there are hyped and over-hyped films that get more than their fair share of attention and care. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s showy performance in Badlapur, Anushka Sharma’s breathe-in-breathe-out histrionics in NH10, Bachchan Saab’s bravura turn as a constantly constipated Bengali in Piku, and Tabu’s stern-and-persuasive cop act in Drishyam got massive amount of attention. But what about the unusung performances, the ones that got away for being too delicate, subtle or underplayed?
Here’s a list of 2015’s most underplayed performances in Bollywood:
1. Shefali Shah in Dil Dhadkane Do
© Provided by Firstpost As a pompous businessman’s trophy wife who eats to feel better and scoffs to get even, Shefali Shah was bang-on. Not a single false note. From the way she taunted her husband’s flamboyance to her self-pitying breakdown in front of the mirror, Shefali alchemised her potentially over-the-top performance into something far more substantial, and most important of all, she balanced out Anil Kapoor’s hysterics.
2. Moushumi Chatterjee in Piku
© Firstpost Playing the Big B’s happy-go-lucky sister (they had earlier played husband and wife in Basu Chatterjee’s Manzil) Moushumi made a live-wire comeback infusing an aunt’s role with guts and gumption. When she reminds her brother that his constipation is all in his mind she was so…Moushumi! In other words, she made life seem so uncomplicated.
3. Sushant Singh Rajput in Byomkesh Bakshi
© Firstpost A spectacular performance in a failed film, Rajput breathed life into the role of the 1940s’ detective in Byomkesh Bakshi. From the way he wore his dhoti to the way he ran across the streets of Kolkata in pursuit of his assailants, this was an actor at the acme of power. Dhoti dancing at its best.
4. Adil Hussain in Main Aur Charles
© Firstpost Brilliant actors don’t have to flaunt their capabilities. Adil Husain gave a centre to a film helmed by Randeep Hooda’s over-studied performance as Charles Sobhraj. Adil was ‘Main’ in Main Aur Charles and his performance as the Delhi cop in search of the international fugitive was a tour de force.
5. Kalki Koechlin in Margarita With A Straw
© Firstpost As a girl struggling with physical and emotional handicaps, but determined to do all the normal things, such as viewing porn, having sex and yes, drinking a margarita with a straw, Kalki gave a brave and brilliant performance in Margarita With A Straw. Prior to this, Cerebral palsy was portrayed realistically only by Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot.
6. Neeraj Kabi in Talvar
© Firstpost In a film that got unanimous praise, Neeraj Kabi, playing the father of the slain daughter Arushi, generated no extra sympathy for himself by sobbing into the camera.We need to see more of this actor, much much more.
7. Tillotama Shome in Nayantara’s Necklace
© Firstpost This criminally under-utilised actress was outstanding in two 2015 films. In Anoop Singh’s Qissa she had to play a daughter pushed into gender reversal by her tyrannical father. But it was this short film directed by the very talented Jaydeep Sarkar released on the internet that really made her stand out. Tillotama was cast opposite Konkona Sen Sharma as a middle class housewife with dreams of a socialite’s life.
8. Irrfan in Qissa
© Firstpost In 2015, Irrfan dazzled in Piku, Talvar and even the voice-over he did in Bajirao Mastani added an alluring layer to the film. But it was in Qissa that he gave his best. As a Sikh man whose yearning for a male heir destroys his family, Irrfan gave a performance that most actors would not even begin to imagine. He fills the screen with unspoken images and thoughts that hover beyond the visuals.
9. Tisca Arora in Rahasya
© Firspost Here is an actress who never fails to open a window to her character’s soul. Playing a bereaved mother of a slain daughter in Rahaysa, Tisca was in control of her emotions all through. She was so implosive in her suppressed anger that the screen threatened to burst open.
10. Naman Jain in Hawaizaada
© Firstpost All eyes were glued on that other child actor Harshaali Malhotra in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. But Naman Jain, the little scenestealer in debutant director Vibhu Puri’s Hawaizaada is the star of tomorrow.
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