2018 was a fulfilling year in terms of performances especially from the female actors, who delivered a varied range of exemplary roles. Here’s a list of Top 10 Performances (Female) of 2018:

Note: Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Gali Guleiyan/In The Shadows, Rajkummar Rao-starrer Omertà and Shashank Arora-Shwetha Tripathi’s Zoo were considered last year.


“Surekha Sikri as the grumpy Mother is a fireball.” | “Zoya Hussain as a (symbolical) mute female protagonist is totally arresting.”

10. Sanya Malhotra (as Champa) & Radhika Madan (as Genda) – PATAAKHA

“Radhika Madan and Sanya Malhotra are not only firecrackers but a steal dynamite – delivering a rousing fierce performance. Being unique yet individualistic nuances soaked by Radhika and Sanya bring the characters a vicious liveliness. Both are epitome of an erupting volcano; igniting magical joy of performance.”

09. Anushka Sharma as Rukhsana – PARI

“No Bollywood star has explored horror genre and Anushka Sharma just gets its right and raises the toast. She has delivered a multitude of emotions to her chilling role which ranges from barbaric, romantic to empathetic and even gruesomely pathetic. We’ve always seen her in glamorous roles which were of a poignant beauty but here she completely de-glamourizes herself to a severe extent that I immediately watched her “Aadha Ishq” from “Band Baaja Baraat” (2010) for a retrieval.”

08. Bhumi Pednekar as Sudha – LUST STORIES (Zoya Akhtar)

“Layers slowly peel off, and fabulous Bhumi Pednekar as housemaid gets the nuances right – and stands proudly during her confrontation with one of her own kind.”

07. Tabu as Simi – ANDHADHUN

“Tabu is like an old wine; the more old, the more relishing and exquisite it tastes. As Simi, her chameleon-like change brings kick in an already edge-of-the-seat entertainer.”

06. Shefali Shah as Tara – ONCE AGAIN

“Shefali Shah complements the camera which evokes fleeting range of emotions from the character Tara; her chemistry ignites through eyes. She proves her versatility, yet an under-utilised powerhouse of talent.”

05. Mrunal Thakur as Sonia – LOVE SONIA

“Love Sonia prominently works on the honest intentions and a stellar cast – especially the solid Mrunal Thakur whose innocence makes us sympathise.”

04. Neena Gupta as Priyamvada Kaushik – BADHAAI HO

“Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta are the real souls of Badhaai Ho, who share meatier characters and screen time at-par Ayushmann. Neena Gupta embodies the repercussions of an unplanned pregnancy through her tender pitch-perfect performance.”

03. Radhika Apte as Kalindi – LUST STORIES (Anurag Kashyap)

“Anurag Kashyap breaks the fourth wall by documenting possessiveness with the help of Radhika Apte, who delivers a stunning performance as sharp and funny. She’s an open book who shares her confused thoughts through mingling sentences and broken phrases, ending on a vulnerable note.”

02. Gitanjali Rao as Prof. Vidya Iyer – OCTOBER

“Shoojit Sircar extracts best out of every character is evident when a supporting character of Shiuli’s mother leaves a remarkable impression. Gitanjali Rao’s character as anguished mother stays long after October ends on a poetic note, her body language engulfs grief and adds authenticity through elegant nuances in a measured performance.”

01. Tapsee Pannu as Rumi Bagga – MANMARZIYAAN

“Tapsee Pannu is unapologetically terrific, though it takes sometime for her to reckon the character arc and obviously overshadows Abhishek Bachchan. As Rumi, her oscillation between the duality, maturity and complexity of the relationships is handled resiliently.”

And the male actors took up challenging roles; the joy of film watching added vehemently through engaging performances. Here’s a highly debatable list of Top 10 Performances (Male) of 2018:

SPECIAL MENTION: Gajraj Rao as Jeetender Kaushik – BADHAAI HO

Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta are the real souls of Badhaai Ho, who share meatier characters and screen time at-par Ayushmann. Gajraj Rao syncs with Neena Gupta with a controlled performance bringing in comic timing as well as matured understanding.”

10. Abhimanyu Dassani as Surya – MARD KO DARD NAHI HOTA

“Abhimanyu Dassani debuts with an indigenous character, slips into Surya’s character with utter determination without a hinderance. Provided with amazing action sequences, Abhimanyu’s confidence in delivering martial arts is naive and lives up like a comic book character.”

09. Avinash Tiwary as Qais – LAILA MAJNU

“Avinash Tiwary as Qais lingers on the shades of Imtiaz’s characters, Jordan from Rockstar and Ved from Tamasha. Avinash Tiwary gets better with intensity as the film grooves on doomed romance. His chemistry with Tripti Dimri is somewhat electrifying, there’s even an almost “Agar Tum Saath Ho” scene which triggers the connect in the second half.”

08. Rohit Kokate – JAOON KAHAN BATA AE DIL

“Rohit Kokate, who also featured in Aadish Keluskar’s first feature delivers a nasty performance uplifted by immaculate body language. His cynical ability to perform long seamless takes adds creditable coverage to it being a definitive director’s medium in truest sense.”

07. Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji – PADMAAVAT

“It’s a Ranveer Singh film, his electric and terrifying performance after a certain point frightened the wannabe critic within me. Loud mannerisms peaks interest in a doomed historical magnum opus.”

06. Sohum Shah as Vinayak – TUMBBAD

“Sohum Shah plays Vinayak, who soaks within incessant rains wrenching into a cold-blooded opportunist. His eyes speak volumes of need and greed, especially in partially lit frames where director Rahi Anil Barve is on-the-edge of introspection (the establishment) of an anti-hero. His arresting performance is equally matched by Mohd Samad (Mintu from Haraamkhor), who is despised upon an emotional guilt.”

05. Ayushmann Khurrana as Akash – ANDHADHUN
“Ayushmann Khurrana’s post-interval scene is an astounding evidence of a phenomenal performance. With every performance, he keeps getting it right and better – as he bluffs into character sleeves.”

04. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Saadat Hasan Manto – MANTO

“Nawazuddin Siddiqui in his most compelling role delivers a raging as well as empathetic performance. While deeply internalising the character, he shatters into pieces –  and uncompromisingly endures the anguish.”


“Vicky Kaushal is the performer of 2018. In the early two releases, he delivered an earnest performance in Love Per Square Foot as a middle-class struggler and a measured performance in Raazi as Iqbal Syed; followed by a witless character in Lust Stories. In Sanju, Vicky Kaushal wins it – his versatile performance is a tear-jerker, the sheer conviction in dressing as Kamli is a major takeaway. In Manmarziyaan, he masters the skin of DJ Vicky Sandzz, and his vulnerability post-rejection transforms into a superlative performance.”

02. Varun Dhawan as Dan – OCTOBER

“Where is Dan? He resides deep inside Varun Dhawan, who has reinvented himself in a restrained performance with complexities and innate child-like behaviour, his finest performance till date (debatable with Badlapur).”

01. Vineet Kumar Singh as Shravan Kumar Singh – MUKKABAAZ

“Vineet Kumar Singh packs a powerful performance with his rigorous acting skills and never dims the screen. He makes Shravan real with authentic physicality that’ll put glossy actors on the run; he earns a knockout performance upon his vulnerability and agility.”

That’s a performance wrap for 2018.

Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.


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