Best Performances Of June 2021, Film Companion
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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.

Samantha Akkineni, The Family Man 2

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Thanks to a not-inconspicuous brownface, Samantha’s role as the new baddy of Family Man had become controversial even before the series aired. But the actress’ performance – feral, agile, wounded, like a wound-up wild cat – eventually transcended the distracting make-up of her Sri Lankan Tamil rebel character. Her body language was on point, lending a strange sort of possessed humanity to what might otherwise have been a cookie-cutter action villain.

Ahad Raza Mir, Dhoop Ki Deewar

Streaming Platform: Zee5

The show itself, at least so far, has an understated quality, with an acoustic lightness in the background score that leaks into its narrative pacing. Ahad Raza Mir plays Vishal Malhotra who loses his father in a military standoff, and after throwing invective at the Pakistani counterpart, Sara Sher Ali who also lost her father, a Pakistani army man, in the same battle, begins to feel warm affection for her. Raza Mir runs with the understated quality of the show, giving us both the anger and realization of the futility of anger. A lot of his scenes have long stretches of silence in which he musters meaning and feeling through his eyes.

Sharib Hashmi, The Family Man 2

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Hashmi has been around for so long that it’s easy to take him for granted, even as the “hero ka dost” character in one of India’s most celebrated web shows. But JK Talpade earns his screen time in the second season – his banter with his Chennai counterpart is levity-central for the series, his polite buffoonery with a new female cop is amusing and his friendship with protagonist Sri acquires new and moving significance. The hospital scene between the two towards the end makes for one of the most memorable moments across both seasons.

Also Read: Sharib Hashmi On How The Cast of Stree Helped Him Land The Role Of JK In The Family Man

Vijay Raaz, Sherni

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

We’ve grown so accustomed to Raaz effortlessly playing the comical or unsparing villain that an unfussy, straightforward performance – as an honest zoologist in a jungle of human predators – adopts the invisible sheen of Sachin Tendulkar entirely cutting out flashy offside play for his Sydney double century. The actor steals the scenes by refusing to steal them. His “naam mein kya rakha hai?” quip against the backdrop of Gandhi and Kalam portraits will stay embedded in artistic memory.

Also Read: Why Actor Vijay Raaz Wants To Be A Mystery

Ashok Kumar Peringode – Richter Scale 7.6

Streaming Platform: Roots Video, Koode.in and firstshows.com

Richter Scale 7.6 is almost entirely contained within a ramshackle hut with two actors in the frame – one of them is Ashok Kumar Peringode who plays the father Ramankunju.  He was once a folk dancer but now Ramankunju spends his days chained to a bed because his son believes him to be mentally unstable.  Yet there is no bitterness or rage in him.  The character has a few flamboyant moments but Ashok doesn’t hit a false note.  He plays him with grace and compassion, which makes this story even more haunting.

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