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.
Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video
In a film filled with a dozen lovely characters, Kondal Rao’s Goparaju Rama stands on its own with some of the film’s best moments. Take for instance the scene early on when he asks his wife to massage his feet. At that point, siding with the film’s protagonist Raghava (Anand Deverakonda), we see him merely as the strict patriarch who finds no worth in his son. But slowly, the tough exterior makes way for the man he really is. Later, in the scene when his wife convinces him to part with his chit fund to help Raghava start his business, we see how he really is. He’s massaging her feet now and it’s not even a big deal. Kondal Rao agrees with his wife, but only partly. His annoyance is hilarious when he stops massaging mid-way. He’s a good guy but he’s also an familiar kind of selfish. All that conveyed through one scene.
Rajkummar Rao, Ludo
Streaming Platform: Netflix
In Ludo, Rajkummar Rao reinstates the art of the ham as Alok Gupta, a lovelorn hustler and lifelong Mithun-da fan. He brims with nervous energy, turning a cartoonish loser into a genuinely affecting man-child who is only capable of de-stressing through his Disco-Dancer-ish limbs. As opposed to most Bollywood-obsessed fanboys who break into dance when joyous, Rao’s “Alu” spontaneous moves are a form of self-therapy. In the process, he redefines the role of the romantic martyr: accidentally comical, deliberately daring.
Streaming Platform: SonyLIV
The show itself is a bit of hot mess, but Sushant Singh lights up the (small) screen as a poetry-obsessed hitman who speaks with Ghalib-ish elegance. We usually imagine Vijay Raaz or Pankaj Tripathi in such quirky-dark roles, but Singh’s inherent moustache-twirling machismo is so at odds with the character’s lyrical eccentricity that it’s a hoot.
Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime
Playing the outspoken and honest Bommi- a village girl who knows exactly what she wants from life-Aparna Balamurali gets great scenes and a really loveable character, which she really owns, even in the emotional scenes. It is this prideful demeanour that makes the Maaran-Bommi scenes between her and Suriya, the best thing about Soorarai Pottru.
Streaming Platform: ALTBalaji/Zee5
Playing the loveable, honest, persistent and loyal lover and son, he becomes embroiled in a series of murders. While the plot becomes claustrophobic with conspiracies and thick-set ridiculousness that borders on the caricature and the histrionic, Divyenndu keeps his naturalist charm intact, looking neither uncomfortable nor striking, blending in perfectly- he doesn’t look silly when he hams and doesn’t look out of place when he acts. It’s a coup!
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