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Sunday, December 10, 2023

10 Female 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 such as Made In Heaven, Delhi Crime in 2019, 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 professional choices – be it film, music or Television.

Hina Khan

Since her initial days as Akshara, the leading character in Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Hina has come a long way.

To break away from their ‘Bahu’ image is incredibly tough and emerging as first runner-ups in popular reality shows like Khatron Ke Khiladi, Bigg Boss, Khan has proved her mettle, grit and determination.

Khan is a formidable force of talent who has not only impressed us with her acting and singing prowess but also by her classy and optimistic attitude.

By portraying the legendary antagonist Komolika in Star Plus’ Kasautii Zindagii Kay, Khan has proven her versatility as an actor. Even in such a negative role, she encompassed her charisma.

This year was game-changing as it marked her Cannes Film Festival debut where she stunned us with her looks and styles, as well as appearing in the awaited music video ‘Raanjhanaa’ with Priyank Sharma, sung by Arijit Singh.

Furthermore, she has been working on an array of projects this year like Lines, Hacked, Wish List, The Country of the Blind and a web-series called Damaged 2. 

Taapsee Pannu

Having formerly worked in South-Indian cinema, Taapsee debuted in Bollywood with a comedy 6-years-ago, but since then she has pushed every boundary as an actor.

The word ‘status quo’ has never really existed in her dictionary and so we’ve always seen her essay formidable roles in movies like Pink, Baby and Naam Shabana. 

Last year was a testament to her diversity as she played characters of various calibres such as a lawyer in Mulk, a hockey player in Soorma and a love-struck woman of today in Manmarziyaan.

She has set the bar higher with back-to-back successful thrillers: Badla and Game Over in which she takes centre stage as an antagonist and as a layered character, respectively.

Plus, she brilliantly essays a sharp-shooter thrice her age in Saand Ki Aankh and a scientist in Mission Mangal. It has been an empowering year for Taapsee!

Mrunal Thakur

Post doing the successful TV series Kumkum Bhagya and after over 2,000 auditions, Mrunal Thakur got selected for the titular role in Tabrez Noorani’s powerful feature film, Love Sonia.

In her Hindi film debut, she plays an innocent girl who is forced into the vicious global sex trade. Such a role is extremely difficult to portray.

Her success story is no less than a fairy tale. After exploring a plethora of emotions, we saw Mrunal paired with big actors like Hrithik Roshan in Super 30 and John Abraham in Batla House. 

Subsequently, she’ll be seen in Karan Johar’s Netflix anthology segment Ghost Stories and recently bagged Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Toofan and Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey.

Thakur will also step into the pivotal role of ‘Sivagami’ in Netflix’s Baahubali prequel series Baahubali: Before The Beginning.

It can be said that Mrunal’s future is looking extremely bright!

Ashnoor Kaur

Some actors are just naturally talented and their calibre speaks more than their age. One such actor is Ashnoor Kaur, who has taken Indian television by storm.

Ashnoor started her career at the young age of 5, by playing the character of Prachi in the 2009 series Jhansi Ki Rani. 

Since then, she has appeared in several successful serials like Na Bole Na Tum Na Maine Kuch Kahaa, Bade Acche Lagte Hain, Mahabharat, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, before making her Bollywood appearances in movies such as Sanju and Manmarziyaan.

Kaur’s performance as Mini in Sony TV’s Patiala Babes has been a major milestone in her career. She essays a formidable, emotionally challenging character who becomes her single mother’s strength and supports her.

This year, after a shocking turn of events and the demise of step-father and mother, Mini tries to share a bond with her sister Arya, positioning herself as a single mother.

To portray such a mature and sensible role so convincingly, that too at a young age, is remarkable and applaud worthy.

Sonam Kapoor

Having received a National Film Award and appearing in Forbes India‘s Celebrity 100 list, Sonam Kapoor’s film journey has witnessed a tumultuous trajectory.

Furthermore, she supports raising awareness of breast cancer and LGBTQ+ rights. Known in the media for her outspoken personality, she is frequently credited as one of India’s most fashionable celebrities.

The actor’s film career has also witnessed a tumultuous trajectory, although some key projects include I Hate Luv Storys, RaanjhanaaBhaag Milkha Bhaag, Neerja, Pad Man and Veere Di Wedding.

This year, however, Sonam did what other contemporary Bollywood actresses wouldn’t even consider – and that is to play a lesbian in Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (ELKDTAL).

ELKDTAL broke stereotypes of Hindi love stories and is perhaps amongst the first ones to showcase the sensitivity of same-sex relationships on a commercial and mainstream space.

Sonam makes a sincere endeavour in portraying Sweety and definitely ranks amongst her best performances yet. Hats off to her for doing this!

Sobhita Dhulipala

The supremely talented actor who commands a solid screen presence. Being a trained classical dancer in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, she is educated in Commerce and Economics.

After representing India at Miss Earth 2013, Sobhita has smoothly transitioned into film.

She kickstarted acting with Anurag Kashyap’s thriller Raman Raghav 2.0, Telugu spy film Goodachari, Saif Ali Khan starrers Chef and Kaalakandi.

However, the Amazon Prime series Made In Heaven was a major game-changer, in which she plays a formidable wedding planner.

The series is set amidst today’s India as a potent blend of old and new where tradition jostles with modern aspirations against the backdrop of Big Fat Indian Weddings.

She pushed the envelope further by playing an intelligence officer in Netflix’s Bard of Blood and a deceased powerful businesswoman in The Body.

Shefali Shah

The projects multi-award-winning Shefali Shah looks out for does not come quickly, but when they do, she leaves a solid impact with her performances.

Whether it’s playing a headstrong woman who speaks against abuse in Monsoon Wedding, a fierce brothel owner in Lakshmi or an affluent yet subdued mother in Dil Dhadakne Do, Shah always portrays versatile and formidable roles.

Her role in DCP Vartika Chaturvedi in Netflix’s original series Delhi Crime shatters the stereotypical image of an Indian female cop (and cops as a whole), proving to be a major game-changer.

As such, Shah presents a humanised and empathetic perspective to Indian cops, which is a side many have not showcased in Hindi television or cinema.

It is an emotionally challenging role performed superlatively by an accomplished actor.

Rasika Dugal

Rasika Dugal is a celebrated name in Indian film and the digital space. In comparison to many other actors out there, she has never shied away from essaying realistic characters in films like Tahaan, Kshay, Qissa, Manto and most recently, Hamid.

However, acting prowess has not been limited to cinema. Even on gritty television shows like Powder and Kismat (backed by YRF), Dugal has made her presence felt in every venture.

The most amazing factor about the actor is that she has never bound herself to do one style of content and her fantastic body of work in 2019 is a testament to this.

Within a year, Dugal has explored an array of roles like a Kashmiri widow in Hamid, a woman who suffers from an adulterous husband in web-series Out Of Love, a subdued politician’s daughter in Amazon Prime’s Made In Heaven and a budding IPS Officer in Delhi Crime.

Next year, we will be seeing her as the protagonist’s sister in Mira Nair’s BBC Series, A Suitable Boy, so exciting 

Bhumi Pednekar

Who knew that working as an assistant casting director at Yash Raj Films would one day result in gaining the lead role in a feature movie? Well, that’s Bhumi Pednekar’s story.

Making her debut opposite Ayushman Khurrana as the plump Sandhya in Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Bhumi broke all stereotypes of what a mainstream Hindi film actress should look like to carry a ‘hit film’.

Since then, she has appeared in several films which consist of social stigmas. For instance, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha tackles open defecation and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan on erectile dysfunction

Interestingly her performance in Netflix’s Lust Stories exhibits her as a maid who has an affair with her employer… This also tackles a ‘taboo’ relationship.  This year, she once again brings ‘hush-hush’ subjects to the commercial space.

In totality, she has played a tahkurain saving a rape survivor in Sonchiriya, a real-life elderly sharpshooter (thrice times Bhumi’s actual age) in Saand Ki Aankh, Bala on premature balding and embracing one’s complexion and a wife who becomes a subject of adultery in Pati Patni Aur Woh.

Pednekar continues to prove that she can mould into any role with ease and grace.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Emerging as Miss World 2000, one of India’s highest-paid and most popular celebrities, Chopra has received numerous awards and bestowed with prestigious titles like the Padma Shri.

Having impressed us with diverse performances in films like Aitraaz, 7 Khoon Maaf, Barfi, Mary Kom and Bajirao Mastani, she became the first South Asian to headline an American network drama series. PC is proudly representing us on a global stage.

Even as a producer, Priyanka has strived to present differing narratives in various regional languages with her production house – Purple Pebble Pictures.

This year, PC played the most of mature role in her career in The Sky Is Pink – in which she essays Aditi Chaudhary, a character inspired by the real-life person, whose daughter suffers from Pulmonary fibrosis.

A role which is vivacious, rooted, realistic and emotionally challenged, this marks a new milestone in Priyanka’s career.

Of course, these are just 10 Hindi Game-Changing Female Actors out of several others who have shone this year.

Other names also include Kiara Advani, Richa Chadha, Shraddha Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Madhuri Dixit, Kalki Koechlin, Radhika Madan, Rani Mukerji, Anupriya Goenka and Vidya Balan.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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