This is a monthly series in which we highlight remarkable performances from the film and streaming universe. Since Film Companion looks wide, we decided to prepare this list by highlighting exceptional work, even if they didn’t have the proverbial spotlight on them.

Streaming platform: Netflix

When was the last time you saw menopause on screen? As the bank’s chief executive, Rani (Pooja Bhatt) has to deal with the betrayal, not only by a counselor who doesn’t believe in her, but also by his own body, which sends her off with its sudden heat waves. Bhat brings a nuanced, living reality into the role, always maintaining a dignified illusion of control, even though circumstances threaten to develop wildly beyond hers.

Rana Daggubati, Kaadan

In the theaters

In an inspiring role (which is misled by the writing), Rana Daggubati presents an energetic performance as an eco-activist in Kaadan. He models his body language on the elephants that Kaadan lives with and makes him look untouched. It’s an intense physical performance: he crashes walls, gets really angry and screams, runs to elephants, runs from elephants, swings trees and crosses ridiculous wooden bridges over flowing streams. In a movie set in the woods, sometimes he seems to be the only living thing.

Sumesh Moor, Kala

In the theaters

Our feelings for Sumesh Moor’s character Calla switches between fear, hatred, disgust, respect, love and finally admiration. He gets three words to speak in the film, but he conveys a number of emotions with nothing but physicality. When he fights, we feel the blows in the gut. When he smiles, the relief we feel is a sign of how consistent his presentation is. Partly human, partly monster, this human-to-nature battle was much more enjoyable because of his presence.

Shahana Goswami, Bombay Begums

Streaming platform: Netflix

Far from their oversize Suitable boy, the marriage of Shahana Goswami-Vivek Gomber in Bombay Begums is one of the few aspects of the series that has been given time to marinate and win an explosive showdown scene. Goswami surpasses the moment, but evidence of her portrayal as Fatima – an ambitious urban Muslim woman – lies in how the scene feels like an accumulation of her character’s long-standing and unreadable insecurity.

Shrikant Yadav, Sunday

Streaming platform: MUBI

As a middle-aged gay man who visits a salon to be “worked” by a barber he likes, the performance of veteran actor Marathi in Arun Fulara’s 10-minute short film based on Mubi is full of nuances and uncharacteristic tenderness. His impulse does not feel filthy or unclean; on the contrary, his small looks and sighs of consolation during this Sunday routine make an unshared and tragic love story in sight.

In the theaters

When we first meet the character of Sukant Goel in Sandeep aur pinky faraar– a bank employee in a small town – he looks timid, even a little scared, intimidated (and manipulated) by Sandeep of Parineeti Chopra. Repressed sexuality is played out here, and the way Goel unleashes this side of him in the last parts of the film is fascinating and scary.

Read also: Dibakar Banerjee on Censorship, Music Composition and Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar



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