The Best Bollywood Actresses Of 2015
I love that films are evolving, and that women are taking centre stage. 2015 was as much about the women as it was about the men, and that's definitely a step in the right direction. Of the many interesting performances, these were the ones that struck a chord.
Did your favourite make the list?
ANUSHKA SHARMA (NH10)
Of Sharma’s three releases this year, her work in NH10 made the maximum noise and impact, not only because it was her first film as producer, but also because she nailed the part of Meera, a contemporary Delhi-ite who ends up on a road trip from hell when both she and her fiancee get abducted by a gang of violent goons. Gritty, harrowing and alarmingly true to life, Sharma’s turn as woman, who does a 360 degree turnaround and revolts against her abductors, was amazingly nuanced, subtle and on point, and gave an insight into talent that is yet to be tapped by filmmakers. More please.
BHUMI PEDNEKAR (DUM LAGA KE HAISHA)
Shedding all your greasepaint and making a debut as a plus size heroine is a gutsy move for which newcomer Pednekar deserves brownie points and more. As Sandhya, a small town girl on the heavier side, ridiculed by even her own husband, Pednekar sparkles in this charming little film never once becoming a grovelling mess while remaining firmly unapologetic about her weight. She's a strong, feisty, independent woman who refuses to take any BS, proving that real beauty lies within. Basically, the best kind.
DEEPIKA PADUKONE (PIKU, TAMASHA, BAJIRAO MASTANI)
It's getting pretty cumbersome featuring Padukone in these 'best of' lists every year. It's hard to think of any actress who's come as far from her debut in the way she has. Whether it's the doting daughter fixated with her fathers bowel movements in Piku, the hopelessly in love, yet utterly confused Tara in Tamasha, or to a lesser extent, the borderline obsessive Mastani in Bhansali's opulent Bajirao Mastani, Padukone seems to be getting better with each passing film, which is no mean feat considering she was regarded as just another tall, lissome outsider chancing her luck in an industry already bursting at the seams with PYTs wanting to make it big.
HARSHAALI MALHOTRA (BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN)
It must take a special kinda actress to nearly steal the film from the towering presence of Salman Khan, but Kabir Khan's gem of a discovery - a SEVEN year old girl, managed to do just that in a role which had way more gravitas, more substance and more depth than even Kareena Kapoor Khan, the film's lead heroine, who was more or less reduced to a glorified extra. As the mute Pakistani girl lost in a foreign land Malhotra's was hands down one of the most endearing performances of the year and her camaraderie with Salmans's impish Bajrangi, very rightly, struck box office gold.
PRIYANKA CHOPRA (DIL DHADAKNE DO, QUANTICO, BAJIRAO MASTANI)
"Heere mein heera ho toh usse kehte hain kohinoor... Rao ka naam lete hi Kashi Ke chehre pe aata hai noor..."
Make no mistake. Even though Deepika and Ranveer play the anguished, forlorn lovers with uninhibited aplomb it was actually Chopra who proved to be the 'noor' of the film. Feisty, gentle and dignified all at once, Bajirao Mastani is as much about Kashi as it is about the star crossed lovers – no mean feat when you're not even playing the titular character. It wasn't as though she was any less effective in Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do as fashionista extraordinaire Ayesha Mehra trapped in a loveless marriage, or as the hot headed Alex Parrish in her transition stateside with Quantico, it was just that our hearts wept the most for Kashi, where PC knocked it straight off the charts with her Maharashtrian sass and 'guroor'.
SHEFALI SHAH (DIL DHADAKNE DO)
Perhaps unfairly, Shah didn't get as much credit as her co stars did in Dil Dhakadne Do but the film was as much about her as it was about her sassy offspring. She made Neelam Mehra's cynicicism real and it was in the film's quieter, subtle moments when she catches her philandering husband's wayward ways, that your heart really goes out to her however grey her character may have been. Do these women exist? You bet your ass they do... Can we have more of Shefali please, it's a criminal waste of talent and seriously needs to be exploited.
Did we miss any? Do let us know in the comments below!