Best Performances Of March 2022

From Vidya Balan in Jalsa to Bobby Deol in Love Hostel, here is a list of exceptional performances this month, across streaming and theatrical releases
Best Performances Of March 2022

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.

Streaming Platform: Zee5

The scene stealer of Love Hostel – and this comes both as a surprise and no surprise at all – is Bobby Deol's Dagar. The unkempt beard, facial scar and dead eyes set him apart as a movie assassin: a hired trigger but also a monster looking for his own sense of release. All the stone-faced killing aside, towards the end Deol delivers the kind of aged, damaged and tortured moment that I expected him to give in Class of '83. His voice cracks just the right amount, and in that one scene, he justifies the numbing anatomy of someone like Dagar – something that an entire film failed to do for Bob Biswas. It's also inspired casting, with Raman managing to contrast the brooding Jatt-ness in the actor with the chaos his character causes. The result is a career best for Deol, all menace and minimalism as the warden of saffron righteousness.

Navya Nair – Oruthee

In the much-loved actor's comeback film, she chose a character that represents hundreds of women we see on a daily basis. But she gives even this everywoman a personality of her own and a distinct voice as she goes about the most mundane everyday routine. So when she's pushed to the wall during a crisis, it's never heroism that she's pursuing. Mixed with fear and a kind of reckless desperation, she chases down a robber with the might of a woman who has no one to look to. Through her, we see the faces of women who do not have the luxury to break down and cry. And in that scene where she bursts out in an emotion that's part relief, part exhaustion, we remember the actress who used to make us cry at will through her performance in films like Nandanam.

Vidya BalanJalsa

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Vidya Balan plays Maya – the upper-class celebrity anchor thrown into moral chaos – with a mix of instinct and understanding. The toll of guilt is twofold on her face; it's rooted in not just what she's done but also how she's handled the nurturing of a son with special needs – through surrogates like her own mother and her cook. By not silencing the reporter from her own company on her trail, you sense that Maya is subconsciously hoping to punish herself by getting caught. Balan's depiction of emotional continuity – where one moment is never detached from the next, where her soul is rotting with every decision – is exemplary in this film.

Surya Kasibhatla – Jalsa

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Most films often sacrifice the authenticity of differently-abled and special needs characters at the altar of art and performance. But Jalsa is a rare film where a child with cerebral palsy is performed by a child with cerebral palsy. Surya Kasibhatla delivers a spirited and moving turn as the son – as both a weakness and a strength – of a powerful single mother. The sight of his face when his mother unloads on him and blames him for her predicament and compromised morality is heartbreaking – the moment of a film in which everyone is battling to be a little more seen in a space that's too busy to understand empathy.

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