In one of her interviews, Tillotama Shome said, "I think Koko is just a wonderful example of someone who can manage both mainstream and independent cinema; she has a persona which is so charming and I think she is one of the few people who is blessed with the kind of grace you cannot refuse, whether it is independent or commercial cinema." I concur with Shome, Konkona Sensharma lights up every frame she is in. She is the true epitome of the quality over quantity axiom. The actor has given some brilliant performances in her long-spanning career. As my favourite, here are the top 5 roles that I have loved her in, some of which are unfortunately tremendously underrated. I hope to highlight her immense contribution to Indian cinema.
Through the lens of a naive yet arduous reporter Madhavi (Konkona Sensharma), we slowly witness the ugly side of the glamour industry unravel. Showing the dishevelled side of politics, fashion and B- town had become Madhur Bhandarkar's trademark in the early 2000s and to cast Konkona was a phenomenal creative decision. The film delves into casting couch, infidelity, sniggering voyeurs, shallow two-faced celebrities and shady politics. 'Kitne Ajeeb Rishte Hain Yahan Pe' by Lata Mangeshkar captures the essence of the fickle, frivolous and frail relationships in showbiz. Even after 17 years of its release, the movie remains relevant.
A thriller written and directed by Konkona Sensharma, it is set in the town of McCluskieganj during the winter of 1979. What starts as an uneventful family holiday takes a twist when the guests start playing with spirits. But to classify it as a thriller or a horror would be reductive in nature. This film is full of metaphors, visual storytelling and many subtexts. The film revolves around the protagonist Shutu, who is a victim of a household where toxic masculinity prevails. He is sensitive, vulnerable and one of the most beautiful characters played by Vikrant Massey. While watching him get bullied, I remembered one of the lines from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: "Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless?" He is castigated by his family and almost used as a servant. Shutu wrenched my heart out; it is hard to not feel for him. The ensemble cast of Vikrant Massey, Tillotama Shome, Ranvir Shorey, Jim Sarah, Om Puri and Tanuja make it a gripping watch.
A seemingly light-hearted film, Luck By Chance actually unfolds the grime behind the glamour of Bollywood. Yet another film about films that I thoroughly enjoyed after Rangeela. Konkona Sen Sharma, who stars as a struggling actress, finds herself being indecently propositioned by an unscrupulous film producer. The process is disturbing to watch and sets the tone well. The film follows Farhan Akhtar and Konkona Sensharma, both playing newbie actors — starry-eyed and willing to do whatever it takes to realise their dreams. Both compromise on their principles to get ahead, but while one is successful, the other is not and this disparity ultimately takes a toll on their relationship. The world of showbiz is a tricky one: friends backstab you, lovers turn into strangers in a night and you are only as good as your last hit.
Rishi Kapoor seems to be having a ball while playing Romi Rolly, an old-school film producer and Dimple Kapadia nails the role of a veteran. We also get fleeting cameos of many superstars playing themselves in the film. Konkona once again proves she is an ideal choice for poignant, layered characters: there are many scenes where she communicates everything through her eyes. A significant debut by director Zoya Akhtar that should not be missed.
A spoilt brat Siddharth Mehra (Ranbir Kapoor), who is barely managing to pass and is ludicrously aimless, meets Aisha (Konkana Sen Sharma), a slightly older woman who has moved to Mumbai to pursue journalism and lead a self-sufficient way of life. They form a curious bond which later sparks into romance. We see ourselves in Sid and Aisha, which makes the film relatable and invokes nostalgia for college days. While it's Ranbir whose character embarks on the journey of self-discovery, for me, it's Aisha who steals the show with her earnestness. She espouses feminism without even realising it, by being independent and not caring for societal norms and perceptions. It's a refreshing and memorable performance.
Omkara, Vishal Bhardwaj's adaptation of Othello, is based in the Indian heartland of Uttar Pradesh — a setting in which Othello was impossible to imagine before. But in Bhardwaj's hands, everything is magic and nothing seems outlandish. The mammoth cast delivers stellar performances in this saga of deceit, jealousy and suspicion and leaves an indelible impact. Konkona appears in brief moments but leaves a mesmerising effect, complementing Kareena Kapoor, Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan. The film is entertainment at its finest.
Some of Konkona's recent brilliant performances include Geeli Pucchi from the anthology Ajeeb Dastaans, Lipstick Under My Burkha and Dolly Kitty aur Woh Chamakte Sitaare.