The Best Bollywood Actresses Of 2014
It's been a phenomenal year for the ladies. 2014 has brought about a wave of change whereby filmmakers are making projects which revolve around the actress and the actress only. Gone are the days when films had to run on the steam of a top bracket actor. in 2014 Girl Power was in.
This year saw a slew of bravura performances – so much so that narrowing down this list to just five worthy contenders became something of an impossible task. As a result, we had to bite the bullet and expand our shortlist to ten performances that stood out and deserve some kind of recognition at the upcoming award ceremonies.
So without much ado, we bring you the ten female performances (in alphabetical order) that towered head and shoulders above the rest this year:
ALIA BHATT – HIGHWAY, 2 STATES, HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA
Perhaps the most consistent performer both critically and at the box office was this young lass, a Karan Johar protege, who had a string of successes in roles that were worlds apart from one another. Be it her gutsy go getter Ananya in 2 States, the boozy livewire Kavya in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, and above all, her traumatised Veera in Imtiaz Ali's underrated Highway, Alia proved that she was no flash in the pan and had well and truly arrived. With all the best projects and top stars dying to work with her, Alia sure as hell is on the right track. Of all the actresses in this list it's perhaps Alia who's upcoming films we're most excited about! And why not? She's proven herself. And how!
ANUSHKA SHARMA – PK
Throughout the year, Sharma was more in the news for her link ups with cricketers and a botched up lip job. So much so that we very nearly forgot, that is until we saw PK, that the girl can act too. Aditya Chopra's protege confidently shared the frame with Aamir Khan in Rajkumar Hirani's little gem of a film PK, in a performance that was nearly on par with Khan's stellar turn in the film and equally as important. It was a spirited, heartwarming character, that she pulled off with aplomb and undoubtedly one of her best. In 2015, the actress looks like she has more winners up her sleeve with Bombay Velvet, Dil Dhadakne Do and the like. Bring it on.
DEEPIKA PADUKONE – HAPPY NEW YEAR
It's not easy making audiences laugh. Do a bad job and you risk being torn apart. Deepika however, had no problem displaying impeccable comic timing in one of the surprisingly stand out performances this year. Her 'angrezi' obsessed bar dancer Mohini won hearts across the nation, not just because of its in your face sex appeal, but because her character had heart. And despite its inherent silliness, Deepika made sure she gave her character incredible likability and dimension, going on to prove why she is the go to person for most commercial roles these days.
JUHI CHAWLA – GULAAB GANG
A lot was expected from Soumik Sen's film revolving around an actual group of Indian women vigilantes and activists who dress in pink sarees, and fighting against the social injustice in the Bundelkhand region of Central India. It was the first time that ex-arch rivals Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla came together in one frame, and, naturally fans of both the actresses were psyched. Their hopes were dashed however, when the film proved to be something of a damp squib with poor characterisation and a shoddy screenplay. What didn't unnoticed however, was Juhi's bang on performance as a wily, vicious politician that received unanimous praise from all quarters, with the general consensus being that she was one of the few things worth watching in Sen's well intentioned, but severely flawed drama.
KANGANA RANAUT – QUEEN
The biggest surprise and perhaps one of the best performances this year came from Kangana as Rani in Vikas Bahl's coming of age Queen, the story about a 'behenji' kind of character who goes on a honeymoon across Europe alone – a journey that alters the course of her life forever. It was Kangana's best performance and one that proved just how underrated she is as an actress. She followed that up with another unconvential turn in Revolver Rani, but it was Queen that won hearts across the nation. To Kangana's credit, it was also one of the biggest successes of the year and one of the best performing female oriented films of all time. What was that about 2014 being about girl power?
MADHURI DIXIT – DEDH ISHQIYA
Juhi's contemporary got the chance to shine not in Gulaab Gang, bur rather this. Abhishek Chaubey's sequel to 2010's sleeper hit Ishqiya. Dedh Ishqiya was perhaps one of the better films this year, not only because of its quick witted plot, but because of its performances, especially Madhuri's as the bewitching and seductive widowed ‘begum’ with an agenda. It was a charming, nuanced and graceful performance and a bold choice, especially given that it hinted at a lesbian romance between Madhuri's character Begum Para and her assistant, Muniya played with equal aplomb by Huma Qureshi. The film didn't do much at the box office but will no doubt be deemed a cult classic and remembered in the years to come.
PRIYANKA CHOPRA – MARY KOM
Priyanka had made some questionable career choices of late. Except for Barfi!, none of her other films had really tapped into her potential, that is until Omung Kumar controversially, cast her in a biopic of Olympic medallist Mary Kom. There was unanimous uproar and many felt that PC would be unable to do justice to the character. But the talented actress took the challenge head on and silenced them all, coming up with an astoundingly gritty performance – one that will inevitably go down as her best. It's just a shame that in parts the film failed to do her justice, but all that was forgotten when it became yet another female oriented success in a year filled with trite remakes and commercial crap.
RANI MUKERJI – MARDAANI
With Pradeep Sarkar's dark and edgy Mardaani, Rani Mukerji proved that there's not much that she can't do. In the film, Rani plays a no nonsense, fearless cop working in a Mumbai Crime Branch unit, who's life turns upside down when she takes on a mysterious case in which a teenage girl is kidnapped by the child trafficking mafia and smuggled outside the city. The actress lost nearly 13kg for the part, and her hard work for the film paid off. Both her performance and the film was lauded by critics and proved to be successful commercially too, going on to prove, that you can't keep a good thing down for long.
SHRADDHA KAPOOR – HAIDER
A lot was expected from Shraddha in Mohit Suri's Ek Villain, but it was her sensitive, dainty, heartbreaking and naive turn as Arshia in Vishal Bhardwaj's Hamlet adaptation, Haider that managed to win hearts in the end. Her luminous eyes spoke volumes, conveying emotion that words might not have quite managed. It was a winning performance, and we suspect, just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Shraddha is capable of in the hands of a decent director, and one who can fully tap into her potential.
TABU – HAIDER
Tabu made a comeback of sorts this year. Firstly, with a forgettable ho hum part in Salman Khan's Jai Ho and then in Haider as Ghazala, an interpretation of Shakespeare's Gertrude in Hamlet which was potentially one of the most stellar and restrained performances of the year. It was an intricate and complex character that had to be left open to interpretation and judgment, and Tabu did an impressive job in capturing its essence – a performance which if entrusted to a less capable actress could have failed miserably.
So there you have it. The ladies that delivered the most notable performances this year and proved that you don't need a male star to earn the big bucks at the box office. The competition is undoubtedly going to be tough at the awards this year. Do you agree with our shortlist? Let us know below!