Screen Crushes That Made 2020 Better

Fictional characters who made us smile, swoon and get through a bleak time
Screen Crushes That Made 2020 Better

With nothing but time on our hands, and new films and shows dropping with alarming frequency, we were bound to fall in love virtually. Here are our 16 crushes of the year, the fictional characters who made us smile, swoon and get through a bleak time a little more lighthearted than we were before:

Maara (Suriya) from Soorarai Pottru

Maara is handsome and resolutely stubborn in his ambition to build a low-cost airline but he's also vulnerable – we see him cry and rage at the world in his frustration. But most of all, Maara is secure enough to celebrate his wife's success and lean on her when he is doing badly financially. What more can you want in a man?– Anupama Chopra

Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) from The Trial of the Chicago 7

Abbie Hoffman was perhaps the star of the Chicago 7 trials and as played by Sacha Baron Cohen, he combines fierce intellect with a laid-back cool that is superbly sexy.  Especially in the key scene when he asks the lawyer interrogating him to give him a minute because he has 'never been on trial for his thoughts before.' Just wow! – Anupama Chopra

Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) from The Queen's Gambit

I've always had a problem making eye-contact with the people I speak to – just shy-introvert things I guess. Anya Taylor-Joy is a remarkable actress in many ways, but the one thing that truly defined her performance as 'female' chess prodigy Beth Harmon in The Queen's Gambit was her unbroken gaze. She has the largest on-screen eyes I've seen – reminiscent of the unique paintings of Tim Burton's Big Eyes – which almost made it seem like she was burning a hole into not just her opponents but the viewers on the other side of the camera too. I found looking away and blushing more than once, but at times I continued looking at the screen, convinced that maybe she was going to teach me the art of seeing the soul. – Rahul Desai

Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) from The Crown Season 4

It's an easy one, yes, but I felt infatuated with Emma Corrin as Princess Diana mostly because Diana herself was one of my first "non-Indian" crushes as a pre-teen in a small city. Corrin doesn't look or sound much like her, but she really evokes a vulnerability that reminded me of how sick I felt while watching Diana's coffin roll through the streets of London in 1997. I never got to see Diana in her 20s; I had only heard of the fairytale wedding and seen photos of her trips. In some ways Corrin's volatile beauty took me back to the time, and Diana's soft-but-sure charm as a young mother – and as an independent, fierce lover – felt all the more compelling in the face of an institution that had all but disowned her. – Rahul Desai

Kabir (Danesh Razvi) from A Suitable Boy

Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy had Kabir whose only "unsuitable" quality was his Muslim-ness. He was charming, intelligent, well-built, and it's the sort of character that is easy to fall in love with. In fact, many would argue, it was necessary to fall in love with him, only to experience the heartbreak more painfully. When the trailer for Mira Nair's adaptation dropped, the thirsty shadows of Twitter exploded with gifs of Danesh Razvi playing Kabir slow-mo staring into the camera in his white cricket gear. Never has cricket been this sexy, and never will I forgive Seth for not making him The Suitable Boy. But that does mean he is available for the rest of us, noh? – Prathyush Parasuraman

Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti) from The Haunting of Bly Manor

Call it a stroke of typecasting, if you will. In all the three Netflix shows that Victoria Pedretti has starred in (The Haunting of Hill House, You, The Haunting of Bly Manor), she has played a bumbling woman. While she's afraid of what's coming after her in The Haunting series, she's actually the one that grows to become the hunter in You. She carries sorrow and pain flamboyantly – when you see her in that state, you probably just want to hold her and tell her it's going to be okay. – Karthik Keramalu

Bommi (Aparna Balamurali) from Soorarai Pottru

It's kind of rare to watch a female protagonist eat unashamedly on-screen. Women are usually captured in the kitchen, toiling and flicking away sweat from their brows. But Bommi feels real. She doesn't believe in being a passive and voiceless member of the family. She runs a bakery successfully (which isn't an easy task) and even helps her husband see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's purely a give-and-take relationship that she's interested in. She's a dream girl, but not a manic pixie. – Karthik Keramalu

Bulbbul (Tripti Dimri) from Bulbbul

I guess it's kind of 'wrong' to announce a crush on a film character who is shown as a victim of patriarchy and objectification by men, but it's hard not to succumb to Dimri's charms as Bulbbul, who has a killer combination of open-faced innocence and a bewitching smile. It also happens so that she is totally comfortable sharing a beedi at night in the rajbari courtyard, dressed in rich banarasi sari and heavy jewellery, which she carries off stunningly. In other words, if she was my brother's wife, I would've still fallen for her. – Sankhayan Ghosh

Sucheta Dalal (Shreya Dhanwantary) from Scam 1992

I studied commerce in college and I absolutely hated it. Finance jargon is lost on me and even with all the simplification done by Scam 1992, I was the dumbest guy in the room watching it. In a completely different kind of time-travel however, I may consider continuing with commerce, become a finance journalist instead of film, if I am promised that one afternoon in the eighties, I'll bump into Shreya Dhanwanthary as Sucheta Dalal on the stairs of Bombay Stock Exchange, go on to work on a project, do all-nighters, write a sensational book together, and cough, cough, maybe even get hitched. – Sankhayan Ghosh

Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) from Emily in Paris

I think Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) from Emily in Paris was especially crafted for the pandemic – to add some much-needed beauty to this godawful year. What's there not to like about the hot French neighbour who is kind, lets you use his shower, cooks you fluffy omelettes and looks like a dream? He doesn't have too many layers to his character, which just adds to his perfection. He's also kind of cheating on his beautiful girlfriend, but let's just ignore that for now and focus on the good. – Mohini Chaudhuri

Nikitha (Kalyani Priyadarshan) from Varane Avshyamundu

Varane…is not Kalyani Priyadarshan's first film but it's perhaps the first to show us her true range as an actor. She anchors a character that could have easily become a series of cliches with nuance and subtlety. But beyond the heft in her performance, she's a delight to watch on screen, especially when the scene is funny. Her voice is one of the reasons for this. When she speaks, and when we listen, she sounds like a friend, but you quickly want her to become something more. Yes she is pretty and yes, she's smart. But she also comes across like loads of silly, pointless, laugh-till-you-cry fun. – Vishal Menon

Owen Sharma (Rahul Kohli) from The Haunting of Bly Manor

Owen (Rahul Kohli) drops the kind of ridiculous puns that make you want to hide your face behind your hands and has facial hair based on pornstaches from the 80s. I don't know how he makes this combination so appealing, but it probably has something to do with being a warm, comforting presence in a show about haunted people living in a haunted house. It says a lot that his fellow occupant's favourite memory, one she spends the most time revisiting, is their first meeting. She says she loved him from the start and if you've watched the show, you no doubt felt the same. – Gayle Sequeira

Ted Mullens (Dustin Wallace Milligan) from Schitt's Creek

Ted, the vet in Schitt's Creek, Alexis' on and off love interest, brought a certain sense of warmth to the screen. If you're feeling down in the dumps and looking for a pick-me-up, he's the kind of realistic dream boyfriend you should definitely stumble upon. – Vinisha Tauro

Aarfa (Kriti Kharbanda) from Taish

Amongst a sea of testosterone-fuelled hot-headed men in Bejoy Nambiar's Taish, Aarfa (Kriti Kharbanda) was the moral centre, fighting rage and revenge with compassion and empathy. Aarfa is smart, charming and far too good for the men she's surrounded by. She wants nothing more than a simple, peaceful life away from the chaos around her, and you want nothing more than to be able to give her that. – Suchin Mehrotra

Neil (Robert Pattinson) from Tenet

Did Robert Pattinson develop his style through image management or is he naturally gifted? His charm and desirability are the kinds that are gender agnostic. The way he moves his nimble fingers so deftly, his intense glances at John David Washington — he's the powerhouse of charisma in Tenet. And darn it, does he make this look so effortless! – Ruhaan Shah

Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) from The Boys

A supe that can turn someone's head into a blood-filled volcano? Count me in. But a supe that's an activist, AOC-like politician, and a volcano conjurer? I need a couple of minutes to gather my breath then. There's something wickedly seductive about Victoria Neuman's twisted splendour — you are afraid that she'll burst your head like a bubble but nevertheless find some masochistic pleasure in her presence. – Ruhaan Shah

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