AC­TORS WHO WON OUR HEARTS...

…. And they weren’t the he­roes. Pre­sent­ing the fringe play­ers who were even bet­ter than the leads. 2018 wouldn’t have been the same with­out them

Masala! - - BOLLYWOOD FEATURE -

ARIF ZAKARIA IN RAAZI

As the Pak­istani fam­ily’s loyal Man Fri­day who sees through the new bahu’s hid­den agenda, Arif Zakaria brought a glo­ri­ous grav­i­tas and a snide wis­dom to his role. Ku­dos to the un­sung hero of an ac­claimed film, where Alia Bhatt sim­ply took over.

GAJRAJ RAO IN BAD­HAAI HO

As Ayush­mann Khur­rana’s shy self-made rail­way book­ing-clerk father in Bad­haai Ho who willy-nilly im­preg­nates his wife at an un­think­able age, Gajraj Rao brought so much em­pa­thy and warmth to his char­ac­ter, we never judge Rao’s char­ac­ter Kaushik. We are just happy he gets a chance to look lov­ingly at his wife at an age when he should not be think­ing of the birds and the bees. In a film teem­ing with as­sured per­for­mances, Rao stood tall. Later bloomer. But what a bloom!

JIM SARBH IN PAD­MAA­VAT

While the plot’s fo­cus was al­most en­tirely on Ran­veer Singh and Deepika Padukone, the un­ortho­dox Jim Sarbh as Al­laud­din Khilji’s vi­cious ruth­less trans­gen­der Man Fri­day blew the screen apart with his whiny sadism. It was the first time that main­stream Hindi cin­ema dared to show such a re­la­tion­ship. In that sense, this was a path­break­ing per­for­mance.

ASHUTOSH RANA IN MULK

The en­sem­ble cast in this dark tale of Is­lamic iso­la­tion shone brightly. None brighter than Rana who bit and chew into his role of the fun­da­men­tal­ist Hindu lawyer who spat venom at the Mus­lim com­mu­nity, with such ca­sual straight­for­ward­ness. Rana made the ab­surd sound chill­ingly authen­tic. What a guy!

ARUNODOY SINGH IN BLACK­MAIL

As Divya Dutta’s hen­pecked hus­band, Arunodoy was a rev­e­la­tion. He was like a pet­ri­fied tom­cat, afraid to face his neme­sis af­ter de­vour­ing on bowls of milk. His was a per­for­mance that wasn’t afraid to let it all hang out even if it made him look ex­trav­a­gantly id­i­otic.

APAR­SHAKTI KHUR­RANA IN STREE

Of course Ra­jkum­mar Rao as the naïve tai­lor stole the show. But Apar­shakti as his in­cred­u­lous best friend was a hoot. In fact Hindi cin­ema has a his­tory of bril­liant ac­tors steal­ing the show as the hero’s best friend. I only hope Apar­shakti doesn’t get type­cast as the side­kick. He de­serves much more!

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