Year Ender 2021: Kangana Ranaut, Sushmita Sen to Vidya Balan, Top 10 female performers of the year
Another spectacular year for the world of the Hindi entertainment industry has come to a glorious end and as we bid adieu to 2021, it's time to see what touched our hearts in web shows and films. The year 2021 saw many Bollywood actresses shine in films and web shows and it wouldn't be wrong to call it the year of female performers. From films like Thalaivii to shows like Aarya 2, each of them were owned by the leading ladies who didn't just nail their performances but also made a place in the hearts of the audiences. So, as we step closer to New Year 2022, here are Pinkvilla's Top 10 female performers of the year 2021.
Kangana Ranaut (Thalaivii)
The 4-time National Film Award Winner, Kangana Ranaut once again showed the world that when she commits to a role, she goes all the way to own it and this is exactly what happened in Thalaivii. Kangana slipped effortlessly into the skin of one of the most formidable and dynamic female politicians, Late J Jayalalithaa, and managed to tug at the hearts of the audience. Her act in the film brought to life the powerful woman leader of India who, just like Kangana, was fierce, kind and brave.
Vidya Balan (Sherni)
A female actor par excellence, Vidya Balan needs no introduction. Vidya has essayed the role of an independent and opinionated woman in various films but this year in Sherni, she took on the role of forest officer who was trying to make her way through a male-dominated profession in a subtle and underrated way. Even her silence on screen at times in Sherni, spoke volumes to the audience about how she's trying to understand the ways of the jungle. Through her internalized performance, Vidya managed to counter patriarchy in a resilient way and for it, credit also goes to her skill and also to screenwriting.
Sushmita Sen (Aarya 2)
A web show left a huge impact on the audience in 2020 and it continued to do so with its second season in 2021 as well, all thanks to Sushmita Sen. Yes, we're talking about Aarya 2. While in Aarya we saw Sushmita take on an uncharted path with a bit of hesitation, in the second season, we really get to see her embody the strength of a mother like never before. Sushmita managed to channel her inner actor and became almost one with Aarya in the second season. Bringing her gravitas, a strong demeanour and a kind side to Aarya's personality, Sushmita emerges as the winner in terms of her impeccable performance.
Shefali Shah (Ankahi)
The year 2021 saw many anthologies release and one of them was Ajeeb Daastaans on Netflix. In that, Ankahi was the one that stood out from the rest and credit for it goes to Shefali Shah. Shefali, as Natasha, manages to capture your attention from the very first frame. As a mother to a child going deaf and a husband who is distant & refusing to learn sign language, Shefali brings the right amount of strength and depth to the character of Natasha. As she bumps into a deaf photographer, we see Shefali bring a new charm to the character. With her expressive eyes and facial expressions, Shefali manages to convey to the viewers even the deepest and complex of emotions. She certainly showed her range as a performer and proved that when the right talent meets the right script, sparks fly!
Sanya Malhotra (Pagglait)
Another female performer who managed to leave an impact with her performance in Pagglait this year is Sanya Malhotra. In a tale of death and misery, Sanya as Sandhya manages to bring calm and subtleness with her restrained yet terrific act. We see her go through different stages of grief of losing her husband in a way that manages to hit all the right notes. Despite the title of the film being 'Pagglait', Sanya brings calmness and maturity to Sandhya's portrayal as opposed to expected chaos and craziness. Her ability to display a range of emotions with a great sense of responsibility is what leaves you rooting for her.
Kriti Sanon (Mimi)
Till now, in Kriti's filmography, we hadn't seen her shoulder a film completely. But 2021, brought this treat for her fans as she took on the role of Mimi, a surrogate mother in Laxman Utekar's film. Kriti as Mimi is full of ambition and fire but when circumstances change, we see her transform. Kriti manages to display a gamut of emotions impeccably through the course of the film. From an aspiring actress to a mother of a young boy, Kriti nails each of the phases of Mimi's life like it was always a part of her. Her perfectly balanced facial expressions add to her performance as a mother. But the scenes where Kriti really shines are where she is quietly observing how her world is falling apart yet coming together in a drastic fashion. In the end, Kriti proves her mettle as a strong performer and shows us that she's arrived!
Samantha (The Family Man 2)
The web series, The Family Man season 2 introduced a talented performer to the entire country and it is none other than Samantha. Before this, The Family Man series was only associated with Manoj Bajpayee. But, after season 2, Samantha managed to make it her own as well. As Raji, Samantha is able to bring the strength of a rebel on screen and is a worthy opponent for TASC and Srikant. Raji's dedication to her mission to avenge her people is perfectly captured by Samantha and she leaves you on the edge of your seat. Samantha as Raji lets her eyes do all the talking and what the viewers can feel in every scene is her deep hurt and pain. She's the wounded lioness who is a fiery opponent for Srikant till the end.
Taapsee Pannu (Rashmi Rocket)
Trust Taapsee Pannu to bring to life characters that are relatable yet somewhat standing out from the character and she'll never leave you disappointed. In 2021, Taapsee managed to win hearts with her brilliant portrayal of an athlete struggling with Hyperandrogenism in Rashmi Rocket. With her remarkable act as an athlete whose life undergoes a massive uproar after a gender test, Taapsee manages to win hearts. Capturing emotions like rage, confusion, hurt and disappointment, Taapsee manages to leave an indelible imprint on your heart. But, we also see her embody the strength to fight and never give up and that is what stays with viewers till the end, all thanks to Taapsee.
Konkona Sensharma (Geeli Pucchi)
2021 was in a way a year that reminded us that Hindi cinema has gems and one of them happens to be Konkona Sensharma. Her acts in Geeli Pucchi from Ajeeb Daastaans is a highlight of 2021. In Geeli Pucchi, Konkona as Bharti Mandal, an unconventional woman who is in a male-dominated profession of an assembly line worker, manages to leave you highly impressed. Her spectacular act as Bharti shows us her range as a performer. One can hardly take their eyes off when Konkona is trying to silently showcase how she's been wronged by the ways of the world but is not afraid to be different.
Vaani Kapoor (Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui)
Finally, another top performer who surprised everyone with her brave intent of playing a transgender character on screen is Vaani Kapoor. As Maanvi in Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, Vaani manages to own the audience from the very first frame when she enters. Capturing the insecurities of a trans woman, Vaani manages to connect with the audience through her eyes and nuanced act. The hold she shows in confrontational scenes showcases how Vaani has grown as a performer over the years. The fact that she courageous took on a challenging act without turning it into a caricature is what stood out in her performance.