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Breakthrough Performances Of 2020

The year that was mostly spent in adjusting to the new normal, it was hard not having to go out and socialize. But the entertainment industry had taken care of our boredom quite well. With a lot of content available across all platforms, some performances left a mark. Read on to know the best performances of 2020.

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2020 has been the year of OTT and webspace, and with the availability of numerous platforms, creators have got a lot more liberty to portray the newer ideas. It is great to see the evolution of the Indian creators as they break the conventional sense of Hindi Cinema and flow swiftly into the webspace. The content spans across all genres and caters a little something to everyone.

It is also very refreshing to see the new faces deliver some hard-hitting performances. But that does not leave the ‘Bollywood’ actors behind, they have up their game too. It looks very promising as these celebrated actors try hard to be convincing as they play characters that are layered yet the stories are simple. They are exploring growing out of larger than life cinema and stepping into a lot more realistic world. 

With most of 2020 spent at home, the viewers were kept fairly entertained with all the content the OTT platforms had to offer. Some of them were path-breaking and some lacked a little something. But all in all, the year saw some tea groundbreaking performances across all genres.

Here are some of the most acclaimed performances (in no particular order) from movies and web shows/series that came out in 2020:

1. Tripti Dimri, Bulbul

Picture credit: shethepeople.tv

Set in the backdrop of 1880’s Bengal presidency, Bulbul is a drama, horror and mystery. Directed by Anvita Dutt, the movie cast includes Avinash Tiwary, Paola Dam and Rahul Bose but Tripti Dimri outshines everybody. Apart from the film being critically acclaimed, the actress has also received a lot of appreciation and praise. 

2. Radhika Apte, Raat Akeli Hai 

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breakthrough performance
Picture credit: indianexpress.com

With a star-studded cast including Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi, Aditya Srivastava and Tigmanshu Dhulia, Radhika Apte- the Netflix girl has stood out phenomenally. This crime thriller drama film, Raat Akeli Hai, directed by Honey Trehan is a delight to watch. With a tightly-knit and beautifully executed story, Radhika Apte shines brightly with her role of a small-town girl struggling to survive through her trauma. With not so many dialogues, she still manages to capture the audience.

3. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raat Akeli Hai and Serious Men

Picture credit: newindianexpress.com

This satirical, comedy-drama film is directed by Sudhir Mishra. Based on the book of the same name by Manu Joseph, the film captures the story of a man from an underprivileged background who sees his genius son as the investment of his life. He capitalizes his son’s fame to lead a life of he always wanted. Nawazuddin Siddiqui delivers the character down to the T. With his name being attached to the film, it came as no surprise that the performance would be so hard-hitting. 

4. Taapsee Pannu, Thappad

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This Anubhav Sinha drama film follows a rather simple story. The story of women from different walks and classes of the society struggling in their ways. From a maid to a celebrated lawyer, from a housewife to a widow they have their fair shares of struggle being the women of the society. Amrita (Taapsee Pannu) is a very doting housewife but she won’t stand any injustice against herself. Taapsee Pannu is bound to make the audience mirror her emotions and all that her character goes through. It is another feather in her cap.

5. Pankaj Tripathi, Ludo and Gunjan Saxena

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The moment this name is included in the cast, one can be sure that the film would leave a mark. Pankaj Tripathi has yet again left everyone speechless by his phenomenal performances. Both as a doting father in Gunjan Saxena and as a gangster in Ludo, he is sure to gather a lot of applause.

6. Deepak Dobriyal, Angrezi Medium

Picture credit: hindustantimes.com

Gopi Ghasiteram aka Deepak Dobriyal will leave you cracking up with his innocent yet very realistic portrayal. His dialogue delivery is something to look forward. With a name as big as Late Irrfan Khan, it’s hard not to be overshadowed by his flawless performance but Deepak Dobriyal still manages to get himself noticed and praised.

7. Vikrant Massey, Cargo

Picture credit: indianexpress.com

This science-fiction film with a mythical angle is a very refreshing thought. Directed by Arati Yadav the film delivers amazing performances by Shweta Tripathi Sharma and Vikrant Massey, the main leads. Playing the character of a demon, Prahasta, Vikrant Massey makes it so much more believable.

8. Harshvardhan Rane, Taish

After being praised for his beautiful performance in ‘Sanam Teri Kasam (2016)’ Harshvardhan Rane is all set to gather himself another round of praise and applause. In this drama film by Bejoy Nambiar, Harshvardhan Rane’s role is a grey character and his performance is sure to leave you in awe of his craft.

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9. Abhishek Bachchan, Ludo

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This star-studded movie by Anurag Basu has performances one better than the other. But the one that would leave a mark on your heart is that of Abhishek Bachchan. His character Bittu is a gangster with a heart. A deadly combination to begin with. His chemistry with Mini (Inayat Verma) is totally adorable and unforeseen. 

10. Rajkumar Rao, Ludo

Picture credit: topleadindia.com

Rajkumar Rao never fails to impress. One after the other he has been delivering performances that find a place in the hall of fame for great performances. Aalu Kumar is a hopeless romantic but what captures the most is his love for Mithun and how he has moulded himself to appear, talk, walk and act like his idol. 

11. Pratik Gandhi, Scam 1992

Picture credit: filmcompanion.in

It was not just the theme song that is stuck with people after watching Scam 1992. Pratik Gandhi is a real talent that the SonyLiv series as exposed. Playing the character of Harshad Mehta, he has made it hard for people to not recall his face when they hear the name. He has truly lived the character.

12. Divyendu Sharma, Mirzapur 2

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Munna Bhaiya is a name everyone knows of. With Mirzapur’s gigantic fan base and the what seemed like an eternal wait for the release of its second season, a lot was on stake. But Divyendu Sharma has left no stone unturned. His portrayal of all the layers of such an intense character has made the audience applaud him the loudest.

13. Rasika Dugal, Mirzapur 2

Picture credit: indianexpress.com

Beena Tripathi is a character that doesn’t speak much but makes her presence felt. She is the woman who gets done everything she wants no matter what ways it might take. Rasika Dugal has played the character with such ease it almost looked effortless. 

14. Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Mirzapur 2

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The grandfather who is stuck on a wheelchair is not naturally the first name you would think of when it comes to breakthrough performances, but Kulbhushan Kharbanda will leave you contemplating. Fewer dialogues but a very intimidating presence has made him one o& the most pivotal characters of the series. 

15. Sushmita Sen, Aarya

Picture credit: indianexpress.com

With Aarya being her comeback, Sushmita Sen has picked up a very grey character that allows her to explore her craft to the fullest. This single mother turned gangster is a very realistic portrayal of a woman caught in the crime world. With such a performance she has broken down all stereotypes of beauty pageant winners venturing into cinema.

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16. Kay Kay Menon, Special Ops

Picture credit: indianexpress.com

In his long career spanning over almost 25 years, this is yet another of his great performances. Whether he is a side character or a lead like in Special Ops, Kay Kay Menon manages to grasp the attention of the audience. Playing Himmat Singh an officer of Research and Analysis Wing, he has just the right amount of mystery, intimidation and seriousness.

17. Jaideep Ahlawat, Palatal Lok

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Hathiram is not a Bollywood cop who is all righteous and macho. He is a very real character with his share of vulnerabilities which Jaideep Ahlawat has done complete justice to. It is a delight to watch him on screen.

18. Abhishek Banerjee, Pataal Lok

Picture credit: imdb.com

With minimal dialogues, Hathoda Tyagi has delivered what a lot of actors cannot with dialogues. His presence can be felt across the screen and his range of emotions is portrayed amazingly. 

19. Naseeruddin Shah, Bandish Bandits

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It is impossible for a series/film to not deliver some amazing performances whenever this name is included in the cast. Playing the chars of Pandit Radhemohan Rathod (Radhe’s grandfather) Nasruddin Shah captures the audience merely by his presence. The strict grandfather who wouldn’t accept anything less than perfection when it comes to music, the role is not the most important in the series but his phenomenal portrayal makes it standout.

20. Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, A Simple Murder

Picture credit: indianexpress.com

Caught in the case of mistaken identity Manish (Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub) has a lot going in his life. But with his effortless dialogue delivery simple portrayal, the viewers feel for the character. It is purely his genius as to how he does it all and makes it look so easy.

21. Jitender Kumar, Panchayat 

Picture credit: m.tribuneindia.com

Jitu bhaiya from Kota Factory is now a panchayat secretary in a remote village of Uttar Pradesh. This TFV series is very relatable to watch as it captures the experiences of an urban engineering graduate struggling in a village for a low salary job.

22. Arshad Warsi, Asur

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Usually playing unidimensional sidekick or best friend kind of roles,  Arshad Warsi has nailed the character of Dhananjay Rajput a forensic expert with a lot of layers. It is a delight to watch him explore and be more than just an addition to the cast.

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23. Gulshan Devaivah, Afsos

Picture credit: hindustantimes.com

This dark comedy series created by Anirban Dasgupta and Dibya Chaterjee brings with itself a touch of newness. And with some great performances, the series is worth the time it takes. Gulshan Devaivah plays the protagonist in the series who is a huge failure in his life and wants nothing more than ending his life but naturally fails at it too. What comes as a surprise is how Gulshan Devaivah makes this dark theme believable and humorous.

24. Amit Sadh, Breathe into the shadows

Picture credit: indianexpress.com

Despite Abhishek Bachchan and Nithya Menon being a part of the cast, Amit Sadh (playing Kabir Sawant) has emerged as one of the strongest characters in the series. This being the second season, he has managed to carry forward the legacy and developed quite a character arc.

25. Shefali Shah, Delhi Crime

Picture credit: telegraphindia.com

Emmy award-winning crime drama series directed by Richie Mehta is set in the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi gang rape. DCP Vartika Chaturvedi is all set and ready to find the culprits responsible for the assault and death of the victim. With Shefali Shah’s realistic portrayal of the DCP, it is almost impossible to tell that it is her first time playing a cop. 

26. Yasra Rizvi, Churails

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Picture credit: canindia.com

This thriller drama is full of masala as the Churails are all set to expose the city’s unfaithful, elite husbands. Jugnu Chaudhry (Yasra Rizvi) is a wedding planner but her badass character that takes nobody’s orders makes her the audience’s favourite. 

27. Barun Sobti, Halahal

Picture credit: indianexpress.com

TV actors are often thought of the lesser ones but breaking all barriers, Barun Sobti has delivered one of his finest performances in this Eros Now film. Playing the role of a Delhi based police officer, he has held onto the character really strong.

So, that was the list guys, let us know which of these were your favourite in the comments section below.

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