The Best Performances On Streaming In June 2020

From Farrukh Jaffar in Gulabo Sitabo to Mansi Multani in Kadakh, here is a list of exceptional performances this month across OTT platforms
The Best Performances On Streaming In June 2020

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. 

Farrukh Jaffar, Gulabo Sitabo

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime

As the 95-year-old Begum to superstar Amitabh Bachchan's scene-stealing Mirza, Farrukh Jaffar's role is deceptively complex – thanks to a film that only reveals its cards in the last ten minutes. As a result, she plays Begum as a fire-breathing crowd-pleaser on the outside but also as a character that exudes profound meaning when she's off the screen. The actress readily handles the burden of becoming the hidden meat of the film, while the two men and their squabbles become red herrings in a narrative that humanises both the oldness of love and the love of oldness. 

Santosh Juvekar, Bhonsle

Streaming Platform: SonyLIV

As Vilas, the wannabe mascot of Marathi pride opposite Manoj Bajpayee's jaded Bhonsle, Santosh Juvekar is terrific – part unhinged Taxi Driver (he actually plays a cab driver too) and part tragic Joker. Vilas wants to be a rabble-rousing orator and a person of consequence for his community, especially given his worthless day job, and Juvekar does a wonderful job of infusing this restless sociopath with the kind of ticks that threaten an explosion. His body language is ripe with delusion: he silently practices grand gestures and speeches even in his daily routines, while his expectations drift into a stratosphere above his bleak reality. Juvekar is both the hero and villain of his own film, even in someone else's film. 

Sikandar Kher, Aarya

Streaming Platform: Disney+Hotstar

As the steadfast, stoic family fixer in Aarya, Sikandar Kher delivered his most impressive performance yet and stood out amongst a sparkling ensemble. Armed with a piercing gaze, Kher's performance lay in his silences through which he was able to convey a lifetime of love, resentment and pain. After a series of forgettable roles, the actor has well and truly arrived and I look forward to whatever he does next.

Vikas Kumar, Aarya

Streaming Platform: Disney+Hotstar

He was quietly outstanding as the CRPF soldier who a child befriends after dialling the number 786 in Hamid, but gets more visibility and depth as ACP Khan – the good officer trying not to be the villain of the female protagonist's journey – in the Sushmita Sen-starring Aarya. Kumar is at once desperate, haunted and dignified as the cop on Aarya's trail. His understated personality acquires great context when, in a fleeting but lovely little scene, ACP Khan is revealed to be gay. Even though it's only a footnote in a busy series, Kumar's performance is underlined by what his character doesn't choose to be defined by, both religiously and sexually. 

Ankita Majhi, Nirontor 

Streaming Platform: Zee5

As the clinically depressed wife of Prosenjit Chatterjee's Biplab who has undergone two miscarriages and is unlikely to conceive again, Ankita Majhi's Jonaki casts a pall of gloom over Nirontor. A prisoner in a housecoat in her own home, Majhi imbues her with a distinct character and personality, unreasonable in her mood swings, but deserving of our empathy. In a film with strong performances, the actor enters the picture midway and nearly walks away with it.

Mansi Multani, Kadakh 

Streaming Platform: SonyLIV

She comes home to a stranger's dead body; her husband (Ranvir Shorey) claims he walked in and shot himself. They are hosting a Diwali party in a few hours, and there's no time for fact checking. Multani alternates between measured anxiety and restrained cordiality; she isn't the over-enthusiastic host, she glares at Kalki Koechlin, a guest who breaks her vase without chastising her, making her displeasure known but not articulated. She cuts the perfect figure of naturalism in a film that flirts with the bizarre. 

Sunny Pawar, Chippa

Streaming Platform: Netflix

Pawar's charms have made headlines when he stood with Dev Patel at LION's premiers and red carpets Wrapped in a tuxedo there, here, he is back on the streets of Calcutta, orphaned, smart but idealistic, leaving the footpath-home for the great adventures across the cityscape as it pours. He adopts a puppy, Pippa. The charms are multiplied, the awws combust into affection, and you just want to hold him, making sure he grows up in a safer, kinder, lovelier world.

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