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Sunday, December 10, 2023

10 Male Game-Changing Actors of Hindi Entertainment 2019

The landscape of Indian entertainment is changing regularly on a daily basis.

Before, there was a clear distinction between various platforms and mediums, but now, it seems like there are constant shifts between various styles of cinemas.

After the success of web-series like Sacred Games last year, we are seeing more mainstream actors showing interest in OTT contents.

Plus, more Bollywood actors are exploring different roles and projects.

Thus, the word ‘game-changing’ signifies how several actors in 2019 have stood out due to their performances, roles and dynamic choices.

Siddhant Chaturvedi

Siddhant Chaturvedi’s performance as MC Sher in Gully Boy, which is India’s official submission for the Oscars won several hearts.

Despite a supporting character, his powerful performance as the local underground rapper proved that the quantity of role is relevant… It’s the quality that counts.

Prior to this breakthrough, Chaturvedi was studying to become a charted accountant like his father but left it midway to pursue a career in acting.

But his aspirations of becoming an actor came at a price. For six years, he continuously faced rejections and low-phases.

For pocket money, he undertook a role in the Amazon Prime Original series Inside Edge and did a few advertisements here and there.

Speaking on his journey, Siddhant tells Filme Shilmy:

In my head, one thing was very clear: if I did something, it had to be good and must stand out, even it’s not the main lead.

“Initially, I aimed to be a Bollywood, but nothing ever goes as planned.

The mechanism of the industry is different and I was a boy with starry-eyes and big dreams.

But then when I saw how things worked, I realised that I have to slowly make my way up.”

It truly is ‘Apna Time Aayega’ for Siddhant as the 26-year-old has a promising future ahead of him with projects like Inside Edge Season 2!

Shahid Kapoor

Shahid Kapoor has come a long way since his Ishq Vishk days. He has matured and improved so much as an actor.

Despite emerging as one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of 2019, Kabir Singh, a Hindi remake of Telugu film Arjun Reddy received backlash, for glorifying misogyny and toxic masculinity.

Having said that though, Shahid puts his best foot forward as an actor as he delivers a fantastic performance. It’s also his biggest solo hit.

Whilst we’ve seen Shahid play negative/dark roles before, we had never seen him essay such a problematic character.

Given that Kabir is aggressive and a self-destructive man, who drowns his life away in alcohol/substance abuse, he is equally bright and talented.

Speaking about his character in a media interview, Kapoor says:

“It’s more challenging if you have an actor who has an existing body of work and then he needs to become this guy.

At this stage of my career to do a character like Kabir Singh was for me a risky choice.”

Ayushmann Khurrana

When it comes to good content, Ayushmannn Khurrana’s name comes to the forefront.

Since his debut in Vicky Donor, we always had an inkling that the actor/singer will always choose unconventional projects.

As such, these past few years have proved us right. So does he consciously search for such ventures?

“The subjects that I look out for are of intrigue, of a certain value, something novel or which has never been attempted in Indian cinema in the past.

By looking for such projects, it gives me the impetus to work with directors to crack a script which is content-heavy and entertaining at the same time.”

Since the triumphs of Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho in 2018, Ayushmann has been on a roll with choosing entertainers with socially relevant themes. 

In 2019, he played an array of characters such as a righteous cop fighting against casteism in Article 15,  female friendship caller in Dream Girl and a man who has lack of self-confidence premature balding in Bala.  

It’s been also a major year as he even won the  National Film Award for Best Actor.

Next year, he will also be seen alongside superstar Amitabh Bachchan in Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo

Plus, Khurrana is set to push the envelope further by playing a homosexual in Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan.

Akshay Kumar

Having emerged as the only Indian on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list for 2019, the megastar’s recent filmography is equally interesting.

Since 2017, the triumphs of Jolly LLB 2 and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, the Khiladi seems to fuse nationalistic/socially relevant movies with the medium of entertainment.

As such, this fusion has gone on to win the hearts of audiences, as well as garner moolah at the box-office.

From playing a man championing female sanitisation in Pad Man to an ornithologist striving to prevent avian population decline in 2.0, are testaments to the 52-year-old actors’ diverse film choices.

In 2019, we have seen Kumar in multiple projects, bringing out crucial moments from India’s history like Kesari and Mission Mangal.

At the same time, he maintained the quotient of ‘commercial, entertaining’ films like Housefull 4 and Good Newwz.

Next year, we will be seeing him in highly anticipated movies such as YRF’s magnum-opus Prithviraj and comedy-horror film Laxmmi Bomb, in addition to the cop-entertainer, Sooryavanshi.

Furthermore, he has also emerged as Bollywood’s first A-Lister to make a digital streaming debut.

Manoj Bajpayee

The recipient of National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards, method actor Manoj Bajpayee is a cherished artist in the Indian film industry.

Whether it’s playing a gangster in Satya, a serial killer in Aks or a homosexual professor in Aligarh, the 50-year-old actor has adapted each role in a seamless and organic manner.

This year, Bajpayee was also awarded the prestigious Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award for his contribution to art.

In fact, his game-changing move was making a digital debut with Raj and DK’s The Family Man, which streams on Amazon Prime Video.

It is the first-ever Indian show to be showcased at The Television Critics Association in Los Angeles and de-glamourises the lives of Indian espionages.

Manoj is magnificent in essaying both the ‘espionage’ and family man. He manages to switch between the two personalities with such ease and that’s what works best.

His success proves that being a ‘hero’ is beyond the paradigms of ‘commercial’ cinema. He can easily carry an entire project on his shoulders and drive it to success.

Vicky Kaushal

Don’t know about you, but Vicky’s ‘josh’ is definitely high!

Just four-years-old into the film industry, the 31-year-old actor has already won the National Film Award for ‘Best Actor’ trophy for Uri: The Surgical Strike.

Uri is dramatised account of the retaliation to the 2016 Uri attack. It follows Kaushal Major Vihaan Singh Shergill of the Indian Army, who plays a leading role in the events.

Political and national divisions aside, the film has been applauded for its alluring cinematography, rawly shot action scenes and sensitive depiction of patriotism.

The year before, Vicky impressed us with back-to-back movies like Love Per Square Foot, Raazi, Sanju, Lust Stories and Manmarziyaan, many of which were well received by the audience.

What determines his script and role choice? He says in a media interview:

“Whenever I read a script or hear the narration of a story, I always treat it from an audience’s point-of-view.

So, by the end of it [the script or narration], if I enjoyed it or felt affected by the story, I judge and take a call depending on that. I have to be an audience and need to know what I feel like one.

There’s this quest of not repeating yourself or exploring new territories so that there’s growth in me as an actor, it’s just about working with good filmmakers.”

Going forward, we can expect to see more such impactful and game-changing roles in future films such as biographical drama Sardar Udham Singh, historical magnum-opus Takht and horror Bhoot – Part One: The Haunted Ship. 

Emraan Hashmi

“I was pretty stoked to be working in a space that I always loved. Plus, I think Bard Of Blood will be a landmark role in my career,” the actor tells Filme Shilmy.

Emraan has been seen in various avatars and we’ve admired him for his performances in movies such as Gangster, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, Shanghai and Ek Thi Daayan, to name a few. 

However, Netflix’s Bard of Blood is his first endeavour at playing a spy for a series which is an adaptation of Bilal Siddiqui’s best-selling novel of the same name.

The year 2019 has been a game-changing one yet as not only did he make his digital debut, but also for his choice in differing roles.

We first saw him as a grey character in Why Cheat India, which he runs a business that allows education scams to flourish in the country.

Then in The Body, (from the trailer), we see a rather ambiguous character whose wife is murdered.

Looking at his list of forthcoming films, there are some interesting roles that could pose further challenges to his acting calibre… Especially in ventures like Chehre, Bombay Saga and Ezra.

Saif Ali Khan

Gone are the ‘Ole Ole’ days for Saif. Having initially done casanova and comical roles in movies like Yeh Dillagi, Main Khiladi Tu Anari and Kya Kehna, to name a few.

During the infant days of his career, he faced an array of failures and setbacks. But given his recent successful streak. Does this still impact him?

“I think sometimes I’m excited to try new ideas but they don’t always find resonance with the audience, that’s the most honest appraisal of the situation.

Commercial films like Race have more of a chance of succeeding with the audience than films like Kaalakaandi, but I’m still happy I did them”, he tells the media.

Despite rising to prominence with popular comedy ensembles like Dil Chahta Hai and Kal Ho Naa Ho, his depiction of dark characters in movies like Ek Hasina Thi, Being Cyrus and Omkara.

Reflecting back over the last four years or so, Saif has been more confident in exploring unconventional roles.

In fact, his game-changing step of doing a Netflix series like Sacred Games broke the ice for other ‘commercial’ Bollywood actors out there, encouraging them to venture into the digital space.

Plus, the popular show marked his first endeavour as a cop… A role which we never saw before.

The year 2019 has been quite special as he also essayed a Naga Sadhu, seeking vengeance in Navdeep Singh’s Laal Kaptaan. 

This is a role which not many Bollywood actors have explored and that too in the western style of a film, which was definitely a daring step.

With movies like Tanhaji, Jawaani Jaaneman, Dil Bechara and Bhoot Police in the pipeline, we are sure that the ‘Nawaab’ is set to push the envelope further.

Sushant Singh Rajput

“I would never go to a doctor who is unprepared, how can an actor be allowed to be unprepared? While actors are supposed to prepare, there is a way to improve.

I’m already an improved actor because I know how to prepare.

We actors understand that we can’t isolate ourselves to be really good. I could be the flavour of a few seasons but I’m not looking for that,” Sushant says in a media interview.

From Pavitra Rishta‘s Manav on Zee TV to the Pitthu in Kedarnath, Sushant Singh Rajput’s journey to stardom is no less than an inspiring underdog tale.

Since his debut in Kai Po Che! Rajput has always endeavoured to diverse roles… Whether it’s a historical character (Detective Byomkesh Bakshy), a legendary cricketer (MS Dhoni) or a warrior/banker (Raabta).

The year 2019 posed new challenges to Sushant as an actor. He impressed us as the dacoit with a conscious in Sonchiriya, in which he donned a never-seen-before Chambal persona.

Subsequently, in the super-hit Chhichhore, we saw Sushant as a college student as well as the aged, concerned father of an injured son.

Whilst both movies are distinguished from each other, the actor’s performance was equally impressive in both ventures… Proving Sushant’s true calibre as a performer.

He will next be seen in Dil Bechara – the Hindi adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars. Therefore, it will be interesting to see what he has to offer in this awaited movie!

Arjun Mathur

Undoubtedly, Arjun Mathur is a great actor who has left an impact in movies like Barah Anah, My Friend Pinto and I Am as well as mini-series such as Bring on the Night.

After years of working in the industry, we’ve seen him get the limelight he rightfully deserves after his performance in the multi-directed Amazon Prime series Made In Heaven.

In a show-stealing role, he plays a homosexual wedding planner living in India at a time where homosexuality was illegal.

Arjun gets the right tone of Karan’s character. He portrays a layered and somewhat lonely character with such gusto, authenticity and maturity.

It is progressive to see a homosexual role portrayed in an ordinary and non-stereotypical fashion. Plus, after his brilliant depiction, he could easily emerge as the leading actors on the digital space.

So, how has the success of this show impacted Mathur? He tells the media:

“I am still the same human being, I still take just as much time deciding on what I am going to do next. I am still as careful about what I take up.

It’s true that I get a lot more offers and there’s a lot more work coming my way but I take on very little of it.

To be honest, there is a lot of interest from filmmakers and a lot of appreciation from actors and the audience, and you know all of that is welcome. It’s just the usual stuff, nothing mindboggling.”

If there is a season 2 of Made In Heaven, it will be interesting to see what challenges his character goes through in the post section 377 India.

Of course, these are just 10 actors out of various others who have shone this year.

Other names also include Ranveer Singh, Rajesh Tailang, Pankaj Tripathi, Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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