As women broaden their horizons and move away from clichéd leading lady prototypes, Hindi cinema is all the richer for it.
2020 was no milestone in movies but between a short stint on silver screen and streaming platforms, quite a few performances stood out.
In a year when telling a story as cinematically as possible has found a conspicuous voice in OTT, Sukanya Verma's pick of 10 favourite female performances cannot be limited to film alone.
Tillotama Shome, Sir
Nothing is more gratifying than watching an artist lose her identity in a role and come alive in an all-new skin.
Tillotama Shome's realised, internalised portrayal of a maid whose ambitions and desires find a way to evolve beyond her reality is a masterclass in flawless instinct.
Konkona Sen Sharma, Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare
It's a complex character of a woman in an unhappy marriage juggling a dreary job and forbidden attraction for a young delivery boy.
Defined by suppressed desires, bungled up beliefs, clueless impulses, it's a rather erratic emotional graph to follow.
But the ever-so-superlative Konkona is quick on the uptake as she endeavours to find a breakthrough between fighting unrest and feigning calm.
Sushmita Sen, Aarya
When Sushmita Sen means business, the screen -- small or silver -- just shuts up and watches in awe.
A breath-taking combination of iron fist in velvet glove, her commanding presence and striking vulnerability hit all the right buttons as she slips in the avatar of the avenging angel.
Taapsee Pannu, Thappad
Taapsee Pannu is standing up against a form of abuse that is perceived as a minor offence by a big chunk of society in Thappad.
The entire movie hinges on her disquiet in showing how disturbing that mind-set is, which the actress conveys superbly in a deeply affecting performance.
Bhumi Pednekar, Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare
Few actors can win your sympathy playing characters prone to making foolish mistakes and not learning from them. And while there's absolutely nothing new about Bhumi Pednekar burning her fingers to learn some hard truths, there's much art in her artless ways.
Ila Arun, Raat Akeli Hai, Chhalaang, Ghoomketu
Ila Arun played quite a few outspoken, emotionally charged, instantly delightful small town women in movies of varying degree this year.
Armed in repartee, spunk and authenticity -- whether reprimanding her 40-something son, negotiating with a co-worker or squabbling with her siblings, the lady is simply a treat to watch.
Tabu, A Suitable Boy
The more you watch Tabu, the more you fall in love with her.
That exciting, seductive appeal dipped in poetic enigma and a dash of cunning makes her irresistible in Mira Nair's adaption of Vikram Seth's novel.
Tripti Dimri, Bulbul
Anvita Dutt's Bulbbul draws you in her intrigue filled gothic romance whose red rage grows into an evocative battle cry for empowerment. But the source of all its raw wrath and stunning radiance is Tripti Dimri -- the woman is a goddess.
Janhvi Kapoor, Ghost Stories, Gunjan Saxena-The Kargil Girl
Janhvi Kapoor has an attractive diligence about her.
To underestimate what she's capable of only helps her emerge as the surprise package every single time. If her restraint and feeling introduce us to Gunjan Saxena -- the dreamer, her mesmerising lack of inhibition in an otherwise middling segment of Ghost Stories is eye catching.
Deepika Padukone, Chhappaak
Playing real life survivors is always a tricky space, especially when actors tend to bask in reflected glory.
But Deepika Padukone does well to keep such suspicions at bay.
Reiterating my review, 'Deepika puts herself out there like never before both in physicality and inwardness. Her devastating transformation is akin to watching a wounded bird in agony. As she slowly but surely takes a flight towards purpose, Deepika gains in heft and heart.