It’s official. Sonam Kapoor will be honoured with the 'Best Actress' award for her portrayal of Pan Am flight attendant Neerja Bhanot in Ram Madhavi’s acclaimed biopic Neerja that released earlier this year.
According to a report by Deccan Chronicle, she will be presented with the award at the 11th Asian Vision Movie Awards to take place at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Dubai on 18 November.
The Asian Age reports that she also won the honour at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne in August this year.
These two awards have gotten us thinking. Is Sonam going be awarded with a clean sweep this year for her protrayal in Neerja? and is there is no other formidable contender for the Best Actress awards this year?
Well, there are.
The first contender that comes to one’s mind is Alia Bhatt. Though her performance felt like a breeze in Shakun Batra's Kapoor & Sons and she still has Gauri Shinde's Dear Zindagi to be released, it was Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab with which she stole the show.
She played an unnamed character, a hockey player who gets abducted and finds herself addicted to hard drugs after her abductors sedate her repeatedly. She portrayed the physical exhaustion, helplessness and the unshaken optimism that the character demanded, and absolutely nailed it.
In the first episode of Koffee with Karan Season 5, Bhatt said on record that though she loved Kapoor’s performance in Neerja, she will be disappointed if Kapoor bags all the awards.
Among other contenders is Anushka Sharma, who performed exceedingly well in both her films Ali Abbas Zafar's Sultan and Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
She played a Haryanavi wrestler in the former but it was in the latter where she was appreciated across all quarters. Portraying the complex character of Alizeh could have been challenging for any other actor, but Sharma stood out.
Another praiseworthy contender would be Tapsee Pannu for Aniruddha Roy Chaudhary's Pink. She played a Delhi girl accused of attempt to murder while she was just trying to defend herself from sexual molestation.
A woman of few words, Pannu got all the nuances right as she spoke volumes with her facial expressions.
Though she was criticising for assuming a shrill voice, and sporadic screaming can pass off as "good acting", Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s depiction of Dalbir Kaur in Omung Kumar’s Sarbjit did bring all the frustration and despair associated with the real-life character to the forefront.
Among the lesser-noticed yet critically acclaimed roles were those of Swara Bhaskar in Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari's Nil Battey Sannata and Radhika Apte in Pawan Kriplani's psychological thriller Phobia. Given the increasing diffusion of commercial and parallel cinema, we hope that these two performances make it to the popular `Best Actress’ category.
The winners of the last two years, Deepika Padukone and Kangana Ranaut, did not have any releases this year so they are out of the running. However, Vidya Balan, who was dubbed the 'Fourth Khan’ after the release of her 2012 thriller Kahani, is all set to return to the silver screen with its sequel. Going by the trailer, she seems to be the dark horse and might steal all the awards with her performance in Sujoy Ghosh's Kahani 2.
My money is on her. And yours?