No matter how small the roles may be, we always pine for our heroines in a movie. Many times people go to the theatres just to watch their favourite actresses displaying their glamour and style. Though most regional industries still deny actresses their meaty roles and expect the men to do everything, Bollywood (and even the Malayalam industry) has shown significant progress against this dismal norm. In many films, our female actors are almost equally important as men (or even more) and 2017 did see a lot of such films and performances which won our hearts.
Honourable Mentions: –
Saba Qamar – Hindi Medium
Bhumi Pednekar – Toilet: Ek Prem Katha
Alia Bhatt – Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Bhumi Pednekar – Shubh Mangal Saavdhan
Parineeti Chopra – Meri Pyaari Bindu
Aahana Kumra – Lipstick Under My Burkha
Vidya Balan – Begum Jaan
10. Swara Bhaskar – Anaarkali Of Aarah
Swara Bhaskar was the entire thing that I liked about Anaarkali Of Aarah. With a not-so-properly crafted screenplay and a disappointing directional work, it was Swara who could manifest the film’s powerful plotline and beauty. She was strong, weak, badass and soft and probably everything a normal human being could be and should be at times. Though the film couldn’t really make the impact it was expected to make, Swara’s performance easily managed to touch the hearts of the viewers evincing why she is one of the most reliable actresses in present day Bollywood.
9. Shweta Tripathy – Haraamkhor
For a girl in her early 30s, it wasn’t a cinch to portray a 14-year-old. Not only did Tripathy amuse us with her performance but also managed to outshine an actor like Nawazuddin Siddiqui convincingly which in itself is a great achievement. She captured the innocence and playfulness of her character perfectly and even showcased its conflicts and pain immaculately. With only a handful of films to her credit (that includes the critically acclaimed Masaan), Tripathy’s act in Haraamkhor is definitely her best but we hope it’s not the end of the road.
8. Meher Vij – Secret Superstar
Enduring pain is not necessarily the sign of weakness and that’s what Meher Vij taught us with her brilliant rendition of an Indian woman who is entangled between her daughter’s dreams and her husband’s patriarchal obnoxity. The pain and helplessness she showcased in the shoes of her character were not only heart-rendering as a visual but also enlightening philosophically. She is one of the strongest contenders for the Best Supporting Actress awards in the upcoming season and with her portrayal, I won’t be surprised if she actually won them.
7. Taapsee Pannu – Naam Shabana
With agents accomplishing impossible missions at every possible location on earth and battling villains whom no other agency could catch but your own, it’s not surprising that Naam Shabana was clichéd, over-the-top and too mainstream. The only thing that made the not-so-real premise of the film believable (to a certain extent) was Pannu’s incredible performance, both emotionally and physically. Holding her emotions and expressing them with an insightful understanding, she not only added strength to her act but enough maturity too. With her performance in this flick, she sent a message, loud and clear that she wasn’t just stopping after Pink. There’s more to come and we expect the better ones.
6. Konkona Sen Sharma – Lipstick Under My Burkha
First, the critical success of her directorial debut A Death In The Gunj, followed by the critical and commercial triumph of Lipstick Under My Burkha, 2017 was undoubtedly one of the best years in Sharma’s career irrespective of how most us view it. Portraying a woman who’s dealing with her not-so-happy married life, she was simply magnificent. The subtleties of her performance amazed the viewers as she refrained from going overboard as her character was expected to. Although a win is not very likely, Sharma might bag a few nominations for this sterling rendition.
5. Seema Pahwa – Shubh Mangal Saavdhan
She may not have been the lead of the film and the writers may not have expected the audience to divert their attention from the protagonists, but Pahwa’s hilarious act ensured that she was more than just noticed in this adult-comedy. Her chemistry with her onscreen daughter (played by Bhumi Pednekar) was awesome and so was her comic timing which was bang on. The best thing about her rendition was her blatant effortlessness and the unexpected charm she emanated in the shoes of her character making her the most memorable thing in the entire feature.
4. Parvathy – Qarib Qarib Singlle
Parvathy is a celebrated and acclaimed actress down south in the Malayalam film industry and stepping into Bollywood was surely pressurizing for her given the huge amount of expectations that were levied onto her. The fact that she was acting alongside Irrfan Khan made things even tougher. Most other actors, both male and female, have succumbed to such situations in the past but Parvathy not only survived it but shined in it. Even perfect would be an understatement to describe her performance and charm in the film! It’s probably one of the best acting debuts that we have seen in recent times and I hope we get to see her more in Bollywood.
3. Vidya Balan – Tumhari Sulu
The only thing that irks me about Vidya Balan as a critic is that she gives you no room to criticise her. While that is a positive thing and watching her act is entertaining, I just feel that I fall short of adjectives to describe her. The best thing about Balan is the genuineness that she exhibits in her acts and the fact that acting comes naturally to her. Not only was she scintillating as the titular character in Tumhari Sulu but was symbolic of the quintessential working women in our country. Her portrayal was accurate and so profound that people could readily associate themselves with her emotions and actions. Balan is one of the strongest candidates for the Best Actress awards this year and probably has the maximum chances of bagging them all.
2. Zaira Wasim – Secret Superstar
True to the title of the movie, Wasim is indeed a superstar in secrecy. She captured the naivety, innocence and immaturity of her character superbly and faultlessly. The perfection with which she could emote and deliver her dialogues while maintaining a proper body language was astonishing given her age and experience. She definitely is way more powerful than most mainstream female actresses and has a bright future in our film industry.
1. Ratna Pathak Shah – Lipstick Under My Burkha
Being bold is not necessarily about shedding your clothes or engaging in sex scenes. Even if it was, Ratna Pathak Shah changed that very definition with her outstanding act in Lipstick Under My Burkha. Personating an aged woman who revisits her sexual libido after meeting a young man, Shah vividly captured the loneliness and helplessness of the older section of the society the societal stereotypes they have to face in our country. What she accomplished in this role was something even the best actresses wouldn’t have dared to do and her poignant portrayal is something which people of all ages can connect to in spite of its call for a matured understanding. Hats off to this veteran thespian and bows to her acting acumen!
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