This is a monthly series where we highlight standout performances from the 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.
Abhay Bethiganti in Pitta Kathalu
Streaming Platform: Netflix
Ram Chander from Tharun Bhasker’s short Ramula in the Netflix anthology Pitta Kathalu is one of the most wonderfully written idiots of Indian cinema. He tries to feel up his girlfriend, Ramula (Saanve Megghana), in a movie theatre, and when she slaps him and orders him to fetch some popcorn, he obeys meekly. Normally, such a scene would come across as creepy. Here, you almost (not really, but almost) feel for the guy. And a large part of that is due to Abhay Bethiganti’s amazing performance.
Ahsaas Channa in Girls Hostel 2.0
Streaming Platform: SonyLIV
There is a very TVF-esque endearing quality to Channa’s performance as Richa, the sweet, sincere, but not entirely central character. She is frank about her doing dentistry because she landed 3 points below the medical cut-off. In the first season there is a leap of confidence, and in the second there is a leap of caregiving. Channa handles this confidence and caregiving like your friend would, without announcing itself in her body language or speech. Her will-he-wont-he see-saw is the only love track, and is all the more endearing given her gauche patience.
Mohanlal in Drishyam 2: The Resumption
Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime
In his reprisal of Georgekutty in Drishyam 2, superstar Mohanlal imbues the character with grace, gravitas and charisma. He does a superb job of keeping us suitably confused about what we should feel about Georgekutty – be scared of his criminal bent of mind or admire him for protecting his wife and kids.
Shruthi Hariharan in Vadham
Streaming Platform: MX Player
In Vadham, Sruthi Hariharan plays a pulpy and generic Tamil film cop investigating a murder in a routine police procedural. But, she brings a surprising wonkiness to a typical ‘mass’ character and saves it from becoming yet another misguided caricature of women at work.