Every year, there are some performances that force the viewer to sit up and take notice. The quintessential hero of Hindi cinema has come out of its glossy world. Now the common man is the hero. And why even a hero? Today’s actors have broken every shackle to go beyond the norms. Kudos to the viewer also, for they also have accepted the changing persona of a Bollywood hero. We, at The Cinemawala, ranked the best actors of the year 2019, in Hindi cinema and were pleasantly surprised ourselves with the final list. This ranking is a testimonial of the fact that the Hindi film hero is in fact, you, me and everyone out there. Read On!
Honourable Mentions –
Mohd. Zeeshan Ayub – ‘Article 15’
Farhan Akhtar – ‘The Sky Is Pink’
Rajkumar Rao – ‘Judgementall Hai Kya’
Vicky Kaushal – ‘URI – The Surgical Strikes’
Nawazuddin Siddiqui – ‘Photograph’
Now to the main list –
If only one man that can find a place in this list, by becoming the quintessential Hindi film hero, that is Hrithik Roshan. He had two releases this year, ‘Super 30’ and ‘WAR’. The former saw him take up the mantle of playing the character of Anand Kumar, the brain behind revolutionising the education system in India. It was a decent flick and Hrithik did well too. But his Kabir from ‘WAR’, a secret agent-gone-rogue, is something else! He acts, fights, dances and even makes Tiger Shroff go weak in his knees, as he slow-mos on the screen. Hail testosterone, thy name is Hrithik Roshan!
Shrikant, better known as MC Sher, is a self-made rapper. He’s full of swagger and rides his emotions on his chest. Like every other successful rapper, he believes the true art is the result of a feud between man and his needs. Desperation, angst, hunger brings a man close to the art. He knows this because behind his success, lies his broken family. His mother has run away, leaving him to fend for his family and drunk father, who doesn’t lose a second berating him. And this bothers Shrikant so much that he vents it out on the mike by transforming himself into MC Sher. Perhaps he sees his past, his struggling days in Murad and that’s why he becomes his mentor, probably because he didn’t have one. Sher becomes Murad’s mentor in every sense, as other than the art of rapping, he guides him in every step of life. Siddhant Chaturvedi as MC Sher is lit!
Annu Kapoor, after his Doctor Chadda act in ‘Vicky Donor’ in 2012, comes again with a performance that reaffirms the fact that what a gifted actor he is. In ‘Dreamgirl’, he plays Jagjeet Singh, father of Ayushman’s character, who unknowingly falls in love with a call centre telecaller Pooja, who is none other than his son himself. Annu Kapoor is terrific as a widower, desperately in love and to achieve his lady love’s affection, ready to go to any extent. Check out the part where he attempts to become a Muslim, after coming to terms of his lover’s religion. It’s one of the funniest acts of the year.
As ‘Gully Boy’ begins, the viewers, who’ve come to the theatre to see Ranveer Singh, instead see the opening shots of a man walking with a swagger, with a cigarette on his lips, with Ranveer following him. That’s Moin by the way. He is a street smart crook, who deals with every wrong stuff that’s available, be it carjacking or narcotics. He’s always there for Murad. Ideologically different, he sees the world differently than what Murad does. He knows the struggle but also knows what’s good for Murad. It’s him who keeps Murad on the ground when he’s in crossroads of his relationship. And despite being caught, he doesn’t let the police know about Murad’s involvement in carjacking, for he believes that Murad is destined for bigger things in life. Vijay Verma, in his opening shot, reminded people what a young Amitabh Bachchan must’ve looked like. Destined for bigger things in life, Vijay Verma is here to stay!
Last year, we saw Manoj Pahwa as a helpless father, arrested for being accused as an accomplice in his terrorist son’s activities in Anubhav Sinha’s ‘Mulk’. This year, Anubhav Sinha makes him go grey. Manoj Pahwa adds another feather in his hat as he plays the dubious cop Brahmadutt who believes in maintaining the equilibrium, irrespective of the truth. Throughout the movie, there are scenes of Brahmadutt feeding biscuits to stray dogs. This act of kindness becomes a sort of irony towards the end, as a chilling climax dawns upon us. Mr Pahwa, a veteran actor of many years, brings his A-game for becoming Brahmadutt.
As a viewer, one gets really excited to see a superstar emerge on the screen, in a film, where he doesn’t belong to. Most of the times, it’s done to attract viewers to the film. Mr Vijay Raaz gives the same exhilarating feeling, every time he’s on-screen, irrespective of the fact whether he belongs to the film or not. In ‘Gully Boy’, he plays Aftab, Murad’s father. He may have been a bad husband but he feels that he’s been discharging his duties as a father, rather honestly, by spending money on Murad’s education. In a way, he’s like millions of fathers of this country, who want their children to be well placed, at least better than them. For him, a man’s reality should be the boundaries of his dream. And despite being a cruel father, he begs his son to weigh between reality and his dreams. This is a practical man, who’s seen the world and is afraid that if his son faces the same rejection that he’s been through, he will be broken beyond repair. Stunning!
In ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota’, the star of the film is Gulshan Devaiah. Man, what a phenomenal actor! As Karate Mani and his evil twin Jimmy, he just slays it. He literally burns the screen with his electrifying performance, with his Jimmy being a shade better than his Karate Mani avatar. Gulshan has been in this industry for a decade now and in his past outings like ‘Hunterr’ and ‘Shaitaan’, he has been terrific. But ‘MKDNH’ gives him an entire palate to paint his own masterpiece. An act that shares the DNA of Mike Myers in ‘Austin Powers – The Spy Who Shagged Me’ yet entirely original in its portrayal, Jimmy is every bit true to its profile – a cliche psychotic villain!
The man who can do no wrong. The man with a golden touch. Ayushmaan Khurrana, the darling of classes, the entertainer of the masses, is here to rule. His knack for uncanny and unconventional scripts takes him to play the character of IPS officer Ayan Ranjan in ‘Article 15’, whose idea of justice and fairness take a back step with the crumbling law and order of the state. As a man suffering from premature balding in ‘Bala’ and a man impersonating a girl’s voice in ‘Dreamgirl’, he takes quirk to a newer height. His next film in 2020, ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saabdhan’ will see him playing a homosexual man. Whew! All we can say, Ayushmaan Bhava! Here’s to more of this man.
2.Manoj Bajpayee, Sushant Singh Rajput, Ashutosh Rana, Ranvir Shorey
We simply couldn’t decide which actors to keep and which ones strike off, from this list of four tremendous actors. An ensemble as powerful as this cast, gives the film authenticity, an edge over the others. ‘Sonchiriya’ isn’t only a film. It is a social commentary about caste, creed, colour, belief and people of our country. Manoj Bajpayee, Sushant Singh Rajput, Ranvir Shorey play the rebels whereas Ashutosh Rana plays the man hunting them. The rebels fearlessly roam the ravines and their former oppressors turned foes, infest the bylanes of the village. Ideologically different yet when it comes to castigation, they all are the same. They all hate the untouchables. Each of these actors brings his superlative craft to the table, enhancing his co-actors work in the process.
1.Ranvir Singh and Shahid Kapoor
The number one spot goes jointly to the two actors, who got immersed into their respective roles so much that only their respective characters emerged from it, keeping the individual actor far away.
There is a method to his madness. The man is a star, a complete actor. There’s nothing that he cannot do. From being the barbaric emperor to the charming-your-pants-off lover, he has done it all. As Murad, he introduces an entirely new aspect of his craft – His vulnerability. For a single second of the entire duration of two hours and thirty-six minutes of the film, he does not look like the man, who keeps the paparazzi busy with his weird fashion sense and colourful personality. Ranveer Singh, the actor is lost within his character in ‘Gully Boy’, who’s shy, vulnerable and is in two minds between choosing his passion and struggle for life. If this is not the glimpse of the greatest actor of our times, then nothing is. Period.
There was much debate about ‘Kabir Singh’ the film. There was huge ruckus about the character Kabir Singh. But there was no doubt about the craft of Shahid Kapoor, the actor. He gets into the skin of Kabir Singh, a genius yet temperamental doctor, who is on a path of self-destruction. If you can overlook the misogyny and the toxic masculinity in a relationship, Kabir is actually a man hopelessly in love. Shahid plays him, like he is Kabir, in every sense of it, body and soul. And that’s the mark of a great actor.
That was the list of the best actors (male) in Hindi cinema for the year 2019. Please do let us know your likes, dislikes in the comment section.