This is a monthly series where we highlight standout performances from the film and streaming universe. Since Film Companion watches widely, we decided to curate this list, foregrounding exceptional work, even if they did not have the proverbial spotlight on them.
Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli – Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum
Streaming Platform: SonyLIV
Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli gets very few lines in her short in the anthology Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum. But she gets us to feel her character’s claustrophobia through the absolutely mundane. In one shot, you see years of anger finally breaking through her defense mechanisms as she sits on one corner of a dump-yard of broken dreams. It’s like she’s playing a supporting role in a film that’s about her. But when she gets her moment, even if it’s short lived, we feel elated, like a war has been won or as though a World Cup has been lifted.
Shine Tom Chacko in Kurup
Shine Tom Chacko’s reckless Charlie in Kurup makes the eponymous fugitive look like a cute Golden Retriever. Such is the intensity of a performance that uses ‘drunk’ as a license for pure evil. Viewed closely, you notice how he’s found the right balance between a grounded performance and an over-the-top explosion that’s almost nostalgic of 80’s villainy. He’s at his powers in a long take where he’s expected to be sly, nice, forceful, erratic, angry and violent in the course of a minute.
Debashish Mondal – Mandaar
Streaming on: Hoichoi
The most able strongman of Geilpur is crippled by one problem: his erectile dysfunction. With his stubble, buzz cut, and ripped body, Debashish Mondal’s titular character moves like a Doberman, speaks in a low drone and follows his master’s orders with the efficiency of a machine – if betrayed by a pair of soulful eyes. The character goes the full arc – from slave to slayer – in this Macbeth adaptation, and Mondal’s performance has more depth than he lets on.
Loknath Dey – Mandaar
Streaming on: Hoichoi
Anirban Bhattacharya’s first work as a director is a gallery of memorable performances, and it’s hard to single out any one (or two) but Loknath Dey’s deliciously sleazy local neta Modon Haldar makes you want to hand him over the crown. As the wily minister to the ‘king’ of Geilpur Dablu bhai, he brings a broad, slapstick appeal that feels authentic, and the lilt that he sometimes switches to in his dialogue delivery has its own pleasures.