CE Year in Review 2022: Notable performances in Hindi cinema

We look at acts this year which shaped narratives and occasionally elevated them
CE Year in Review 2022: Notable performances in Hindi cinema

A great film is a mix of a great script, great direction and great performances, all in appropriate proportions. Sometimes the performance weighs heavy on the film, other times the script doesn’t give ample space to actors to experiment. This year, some roles made the film and some etched in your memory even when the films remained forgetful. In no particular order, we look back at some of these commendable performances of 2022:  

Alia BhattGangubai Kathiawadi

The year began with Alia Bhatt’s herculean act as Gangu in Gangubai Kathiawadi. Bhatt managed to shine like a diamond even in the canvas-like frames of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Dressed in white for most of the film, Alia sprinkled a lot of colour in her performance. She might be a Mafia queen, but her eyes yearned for love from a parent or a suitor. Alia played the character with a balance of panache and heart.

Vijay Varma- Darlings

Vijay Varma and Darlings might have been part of enough Year Ender lists already. But his act left such a lingering impact that it couldn't be ignored in a list of notable performances. Varma’s alcoholic Hamza Sheikh is evil but still human. He might be entitled as a man but suffers as a minority. Even though he is a ticket examiner, he is made to clean toilets by his superior. He projects this harassment at the workplace in the form of rage onto his wife Badrunissa, played by Alia Bhatt. Varma played the character with an underlying menace. You will love Varma and hate Hamza’s guts at the same time.

Radhika Apte- Monica O My Darling

Radhika Apte, if not the best, can be considered the most entertaining act in Vasan Bala’s caper. Her entry in the film--marked by a guitar riff out of Mexican standoffs in Westerns—brings an absurdist touch. She revels in her bad jokes, giddies at case breakthroughs and puts the comedy in dark comedy. “But take me seriously”, she tells both the protagonist Jayant (Rajkummar Rao) and the viewer, “Ab main itni sundar hoon toh main kya karoon?”

Akshaye Khanna- Drishyam 2

If Drishyam 2 (Malayalam) has a more subtle narrative, its Hindi counterpart has Akshaye Khanna. Since 36 China Town, Akshaye is acing at playing the role of a cerebral detective. Drishyam 2 gave him the perfect pitch and freedom to score as many homeruns. He puffs a cigarette, wears a suit and ponders over the facts of the case like he is thinking his next move on the chessboard. Akshaye served as the perfect nemesis for Ajay Devgn’s Vijay Salgaonkar and he did it with such style, it’s tough to look away.

Jaideep Ahlawat- An Action Hero

One must be tired seeing Jaideep Ahlawat play a Jat from Haryana on screen. His Bhoora Solanki in An Action Hero, however, still left us wanting for more. He is a tour de force in the film and invokes dread whenever he appears on screen. Jaideep interludes the brute force action bits with his matter-of-fact comedy. His chemistry with Ayushmann Khurrana leads to a lot of fun explosions in the film.

Jitendra Kumar- Jaadugar

Fan-favourite Jeetu bhaiyya plays a confused, lovelorn youngster in this homely comedy. His Meenu (raato ki neendein cheenu) flips the Bollywood hero trope. Meenu is flawed, timid and frequently embarrasses himself. Jitendra exudes an affable schoolboyish charm while playing the character. He tames the common man irritableness most his characters have and both him and Meenu come of age in this film.

Mona Singh- Laal Singh Chaddha

While a lot of things were said against Laal Singh Chaddha, even the vilest of trolls couldn’t spot a flaw in Mona Singh’s performance. She plays Laal’s mother Gurpreet Kaur Chaddha and every time she appears on screen it feels like a warm hug. Singh plays the role with a lot of conviction and feeling. A scene where she waits outside on Laal’s first day at school, is wonderfully enacted. If Laal’s antics are the running theme of the film, Mona is definitely its soft, beating heart.

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