High Notes… His Bhuvan will go down as one of his finest, in LAGAAN, a film that was dubbed by The Guardian as being “larger than life and outrageously enjoyable”. But the ‘Best Performance’ tag must also hover over his inspiring teacher act in TAARE ZAMEEN PAR, his anterograde amnesia-stricken revenge-seeking lover in GHAJINI, his delightful Rancho/ PhunsukhWangdu outing in 3 IDIOTS and the Bhojpuri-accented, belief-mocking humanoid alien in PK. When it comes to Aamir Khan, there never can be a shortage of highs.
Has been heard to say… “I only take those decisions which I feel are worth taking. I am not scared about walking on a new path or taking a risk. Because my motto is those who have truth and courage in their hearts, they always win.”
Could break new ground… His pro-woman wrestling biopic, DANGAL, will see him enact the real story of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat who encountered with different problems to train his daughters in the sport. Apart from a mind-boggling physical transformation, it’s the deeper journey that he invariably whisks audiences off on, that has all lining up at the advance booking counter.
High Notes… This pocket dynamo does breezy real easy but it’s her gritty, stark, soul-searing depictions that distinguish her from all that her pretty contemporaries are capable of. Her lonely teenage girl who develops Stockholm syndrome in Imtiaz Ali’s road movie HIGHWAY, shocked audiences as critics wondered at how brilliantly she nailed the subtle nuances of the complex role. Competing for top drawer would also be her more recent outing as the poverty-stricken drug-addict migrant in crime drama, UDTA PUNJAB. The manner in which she channeled her pain and yet found the strength to claw out of a terrible place, is heart-wrenching. Alia for the National award? We think so, too.
Has been heard to say… “I prefer not to see myself at the top, middle or the bottom. I don’t like to think that I am at the top because that will eventually come to you with you work or the way you deal with people. I will refresh and renew myself with each film.”
Could break new ground… Hearts skip a beat at the prospect of Alia dating four dishy men with contrasting personalities, whose perspectives on life eventually reflect in the film she is making. And there’s SRK playing her counsellor. And it’s Gauri Shinde’s next after her wonderful ENGLISH VINGLISH. Alia will shine!
Shah Rukh Khan
High Notes… The irresistible Raj set the benchmark for all loverboys in DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE, even as SRK went on to balance the sweet and the sentimental with killer – literally so! – acts as the antagonist in DARR and BAAZIGAR. He made an alcoholic loser utterly appealing in DEVDAS, broke new ground with his controlled, powerful outing as a tainted coach in CHAK DE! INDIA, and pushed the envelope with his Asperger syndrome hero in MY NAME IS KHAN. Easily as he slips into his usual charming acts, it’s probably his strong, sincere common man avatar in SWADES that will be remembered as his best.
Has been heard to say… “My actor friends keep telling me I’m the longest-running fluke they know… I tell everyone that there’s this myth I work for; there is this myth called Shah Rukh Khan and I am his employee. I have to live up to that. I’ll do it, I am an actor. But I can’t start believing in this myth.”
Could break new ground… ‘BaniyeKaDeemag, MiyanBhaiki Daring’ – this description leaves us salivating for SRK’s outing in crime thriller RAEES. There’s also Gauri Shinde’s DEAR ZINDAGI, Imtiaz Ali’s dream project THE RING and Aanand L Rai’s next in which he will play a dwarf. Clearly, big things in store for us from an artiste who prefers to let his work do the talking.
High Notes… Outspoken yes, but also original, this tempestuous powerhouse of talent has the industry gasping. It wasn’t always so… Brilliant portrayals of characters teetering on an emotional precipice in films like GANGSTER, WOH LAMHE, LIFE…IN A METRO and FASHION, followed by a brief dabble in horror and comedy and she witnessed a rebirth with that iconic paen to womanhood – QUEEN. Telling the story of the naïve Rani who embarks alone on what was to have been her honeymoon, her maturity as a performer had audiences rooting for her character’s every victory and transformation. Ranking alongside among her career’s best so far, are her dual roles in TANU WED MANU RETURNS. Critics swooned over the manner in which she fleshed out “a pair of distinct individuals with such energy and finesse that it becomes difficult at times to tell that it is the same actress playing the two roles”. They said it!
Has been heard to say… “Who remembers the last glamorous hot bod face? Everyone remembers Datto, the woman I played with buck teeth. Everybody remembers QUEEN. Our society loves raw character, we love raw women.”
Could break new ground… RANGOON, Vishal Bhardwaj’s period drama, which sees her play an actress from the 1940s, promises to entrance. Ranaut herself has dubbed it “a cinematic orgasm for people who love cinema”. And don’t forget Hansal Mehta’s biopic SIMRAN, in which she will essay an Indian-origin nurse who was dubbed the Bombshell Bandit after robberies in US.
High Notes… There probably will never be another actor of the calibre, longevity and range of Amitabh Bachchan. If he birthed the Angry Young Man persona, riding to superstardom on the heft of films like ZANJEER, DON, SHOLAY, DEEWAR, his later years have seen him bloom as a true maestro of his craft. In a career spanning 47 years, the pinnacles are aplenty. Yet if some must shine brighter, they would be his ferocious Vijay DinanathChauhan (AGNEEPATH), the Alzheimer’s-afflicted teacher DebrajSahai (BLACK), the senile yet passionate Shakespearean stage actor Harish Mishra (THE LAST LEAR), the Progeria-stricken child Auro (PAA), the eccentric hypochondriac father Bhashkor Banerjee (PIKU) and his most recent Deepak Sehgal, a bipolar lawyer (PINK). The last led veteran Rishi Kapoor to sum up the experience with… “That is why he is Amitabh Bachchan…the best”.
Has been heard to say… “I like to feel the butterflies in the stomach, I like to go home and have a restless night and wonder how I’m going to be able to accomplish this feat, get jittery.”
Could break new ground…SARKAR 3, AANKHEIN 2 and THUGS OF HINDUSTAN, a big-ticket YRF production that will see Bachchan and Aamir Khan collaborating onscreen for the first time. Who can be blamed for salivating?