Nimisha Sajayan to Anna Ben, meet Malayalam cinema's ace performers in 2019
By delivering two remarkably impressive and distinct performances this year, one in Kumbalangi Nights and the other in Helen, Anna Ben takes the credit for the most number of winning female performances. In Kumbalangi Nights, Anna shared some of the film’s best moments with Fahadh Faasil and Shane Nigam while in Helen, she had to take on a more challenging role, of a woman trapped in a refrigeration unit.
Though she was only seen in two films this year, Parvathy once again proved why she is one of the best in the business, by playing an acid attack survivor in Uyare and a doctor working hard to deal with a debilitating epidemic in Virus
Devastatingly complex and perplexing at once, Nimisha Sajayan’s role in Chola had very few lines, and yet managed to strike an impression. This is a film filled with actors who didn’t care about how they looked to the outside world, and Nimisha’s role is certainly one that not many would have dared to take on.
By giving brilliant performances in four films this year—Finals, Vikruthi, Android Kunjappan, and Driving Licence —Suraj Venjaramoodu once again cemented his status as one of the most reliable actors of this generation. The actor’s ability to handle both comic and serious roles with equal ease is a testament to his versatility.
As Saji in Kumbalangi Nights, Soubin delivered arguably his most layered performance to date. It’s a character that alternated between serious and funny, and sometimes made us laugh and cry in the same scene. Also notable is Soubin’s role in Vikruthi, which complements Suraj Venjaramoodu’s role beautifully.
Rajisha Vijayan’s Diya in Vidhu Vincent’s Stand Up is another brave performance of this year. The actor’s hugely affecting performance gave the film a much-needed boost in its second half and improved it to a large degree. It’s undoubtedly Rajisha’s finest performance so far.
Like Fahadh in Kumbalangi Nights, Shane Nigam also played a character that represents flaws inherent in some men. It goes without saying that Shane’s performance in Ishq is one of his most riveting to date.
Asif Ali’s remarkable range was on full display in the films, Uyare and Kettyolaanu Ente Malaka. In the former, the actor essayed one of the most despicable characters ever put to film. Every time his character, Govind, appeared on screen, he made us uncomfortable. Also impressive was his performance as a man ignorant about female sexuality in Kettyolaanu Ente Malaka.
A re-invention of sorts can be found in the characterisation of the main hero in Unda. As sub-inspector Mani, Mammootty owns the film in what can be regarded as one of his all-time best performances — where Mammootty the actor was more visible than Mammootty the star.
Though there was nothing fresh about his role in Lucifer, the blockbuster gave Mohanlal fans a treat, in the form of a character that delightedly evoked some of the actor’s best ‘mass’ films, from Irupathaam Noottaandu to Olympian Anthony Adam.
Joju George struck gold this year by getting an opportunity to star in the legendary Joshiy’s comeback film Porinju Mariam Jose. His Kaattaalan Porinju is a typical Joshiy character—full of bottled-up rage, but at the same time sympathetic. The actor followed it up an incredibly creepy turn in Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Chola.
Not much needs to be said about one of Fahadh Faasil’s most celebrated performances. In Kumbalangi Nights, he represented everything that is wrong with most Malayali men. Shammi is the sort of character you avoid when you see him coming from a mile away. It’s a deliciously wicked performance.
Shine Tom Chacko
In Ishq, Shine Tom Chacko finally got a character that did justice to the actor in him. As the menacing Alvin, Shine is truly a revelation, especially in the second half, where he also displayed a talent for dark humour.
In Driving Licence, Prithviraj played a superstar with a persona not too different from his real-life one, and you could argue that playing a character like that would be a cakewalk for the actor. But something like that takes some effort too, which needs to be acknowledged. After seeing the results, one can’t imagine anyone else in that role.
To see Nivin Pauly finally stepping out his comfort zone in Moothon was such a gladdening sight. It’s undoubtedly the finest performance of his career. In the film, we got to see Nivin becoming two different people in two different periods. It’s a spectacle that makes you forget that it’s the same actor who was in Premam or Love Action Drama.
Sudhi Koppa gave two notable performances this year —Sathyam Paranjha Vishwasikkuvo and Porinju Mariam Jose.
Another consistently good actor, Saiju Kurup managed to do well in all the films he has appeared in. But his comical and endearing character in Driving Licence deserves the most number of applauses.
Vinay Forrt, Chinnu Chandni (Thamaasha)
Rosshan Andrrews (Prathi Poovankozhi)
Roshan Mathew ( Moothon)