In our third piece of the year-end round-up series, Surendhar MK looks back at the ’10 Best Performances of 2016′ that were memorable, held our attention and earned our respect.
10. Radharavi – Manithan
Manithan was a film replete with powerful performances. With an adorable nonchalance, Radharavi enacted the role of Justice Dhanapal with uncommon élan in the initial stages of the film and with supreme verve when the story approached the climax. The countless exhibitions of grandstanding from Prakash Raj (who played a lawyer) and how a thespian like Radharavi could steal the thunder in a single scene is a lesson for every aspiring actor.
9. Guru Somasundaram – Joker
Raju Murugan’s political satire Joker was steered by Guru Somasundaram’s stellar performance as Mannar Mannan. He made audiences invest in his role deeply with razor-sharp dialogues and entertaining idiosyncrasies. From being a terrific supporting actor in films like Aaranya Kaandam, Jigarthanda and Pandianaadu to shouldering a unanimously appreciated film in Joker, Guru Somasundaram has come a long way. The most underrated actor of the year.
8. Anjali – Iraivi
Anjali, well known for her memorable performances in Engeyum Eppothum, Kattradhu Tamizh and Angadi Theru, produced her most affecting performance in her role as Ponni in Iraivi. As a conventional housewife who is trapped by marital shortcomings and comes to terms with the repercussions of infidelity, Anjali came up with a subtly, delicate performance of her career and exhibited great composure with consummate ease.
7. Vijay Sethupathi – Sethupathi, Iraivi, Dharma Durai
It’s hard to overlook Vijay Sethupathi in 2016. He was there in the big screen every time you frequented your nearby theatre. Despite a bagful of releases in 2016, Vijay Sethupathi stood out for his lovely, winning performances in Sethupathi, Iraivi and Dharma Durai. As Inspector Sethupathi, he delivered the year’s most heroic performance in the most restrained manner. As vulnerable Michael, he, along with Pooja Devariya, brought taboo conversations to the forefront in Iraivi and made it look simple. He proved his versatility as an actor in Dharmadurai where he played the titular role. Overall, it was a satisfying year for Vijay Sethupathi fans. And, he has lined-up a bevy of interesting films in 2017 including Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s untitled flick and KV Anand’s Kavan.
6. RK Suresh – Thaarai Thappattai, Marudhu
RK Suresh is one of the best badass finds unearthed by director Bala this year. RK Suresh as Karuppaiyya churned out a sterling debut performance in Thaarai Thappattai, making him one of the most loathed Bala villains ever. He followed it up beautifully with director Muthaiah’s Marudhu where he played the role of Rolex Pandian with aplomb and proved that he’s not a one-hit wonder.
5. Suriya – 24
Suriya reiterated his willingness to be part of ambitious projects by acting in 24, one of the best sci-fi thrillers in Tamil cinema. He floored everyone with his role as Aathreya and it will be certainly remembered as one of his best. His wicked smile as the villainous Aathreya sent shivers down our spine and his charming chemistry with Samantha as ‘Mani’ was loved by all.
4. SJ Suryah – Iraivi
SJ Suryah, who had hitherto performed one-dimensional roles in his directorial projects, left everyone in awe with his power-packed portrayal of the character Arul. What a revelation. And post Iraivi’s success, he, fittingly, bagged Selvaraghavan’s Nenjam Marappathillai, which hits screens in the first quarter of 2017.
3. Samuthirakani – Visaaranai
The ever-dependable Samuthirakani who played the role of a conscientious police officer mired in a cobweb of political and bureaucratic corruption delivered one of the most affecting performances of 2016. As an upright man who is trapped between right and wrong, Samuthirakani made us invest in ‘Muthuvel’ and sympathize with his struggle of thoughts.
2. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar – Thaarai Thappattai
Varalaxmi Sarathkumar staged a once in a lifetime performance with her dazzlingly uninhibited portrayal of a crass, loud-mouthed and randy dancer in Thaarai Thappattai. She revitalized the character of Sooravali with infectious energy and booming laughter. Don’t’ think there’s any competent contemporary actress who could challenge her.
1. Ritika Singh – Irudhi Suttru
Ritika Singh as Madhi is the most knock-out performance delivered by a debutant lead actress this year. Her delightful expressions, nonchalance and ravishing screen presence unanimously won hearts. Memes of her performance bombarded social media days after the film’s release. At a time when even established actresses struggle to render perfect lip-sync, she surprised everyone with her flawless lip-sync in the film.
Sasikumar (Thaarai Thappattai, Kidaari), Vela Ramamoorthy (Kidaari), Lakshmi Ramakrishnan (Ammani)
Written by Surendhar MK