This year compared to a fantastic last year, the search for a great performance from a leading male actor turned out to be disappointing. And the list below is what most readers agreed upon.
Mohanlal (Oppam): 2016 belonged to Mohanlal. And it surprisingly started with a Telugu film Vismayam, that was also simultaneously dubbed in Malayalam. Though by no means a spectacular role, considering his career graph, it was enough to please his die-hard fans after a disappointing last year. He followed it up with a subtle but powerful act in yet another Telugu film, Janatha Garage. Then came Oppam and Mohanlal’s resounding portrayal of a blind man was the highpoint of the film. And finally came Puli Murugan and the juggernaut never stopped.
“As Jayaraman, Mohanlal returns to one of his core strengths as a performer – his celebrated ability to strip performances of affected, intrusive method. The actor stays clear of those research-propped mannerisms; he does not act out the character’s impediment and is still, convincing as the sharp, yet vulnerable protagonist. The police interrogation scenes which involve lengthy physical torture work primarily because Mohanlal, 56, matches the sheer physical demands of the scenes.”—excerpts from RK’s review that appeared in Full Picture.
Fahadh Faasil (Maheshinte Prathikaram): After a disastrous 2015, Fahadh made a powerful comeback in Dileesh Pothan’s directorial debut. Placed in the backdrop of Idukki, he essayed Mahesh, who is also the owner of a small photo studio. Despite suffering two major setbacks in his life, he picks up the pieces and faces the challenges without trepidation. Fahadh lends a touching vulnerability to Mahesh—be it those moments when his heart is badly broken or his humiliation at being browbeaten at the hands of a stranger right in the middle of his village.
Dulquer Salmaan (Kammatipaadam): After a dream run last year, DQ continued his stately run at the box office with ease. Though he has had only two releases this year, along with a star cameo, he has managed to impress us with his choice of roles. That way Kammatipaadam and Kali—where he played diametrically opposite characters and equally challenging ones - are testimony to the actor’s inspiring growth as an actor. True, he was outshined by his co-actors Vinayakam and Manikandan in Kammatipaadam, but despite that his Krishnan was a revelation. Yes, he did look out of place at times in the setting but DQ still stood his ground, using his charisma and charm subtly but effectively. Very understated.
Five lead actors (Ozhivudivasathe Kali): It's difficult to just name one actor in this category since all of them shared the space. That also means it's unfair to bracket them in "supporting roles". So we will name all the five lead actors – Nistar Ahamed, Arun Nayar, Pradeep Kumar, Baiju Netto and Girish Nair. They are all terrific and it will be interesting to see what Malayalam cinema has to offer such fine talents as they move on from this smashing first break.
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Fullpicture is an exclusive, comprehensive, online English magazine on Malayalam cinema, put together by a team of experienced journalists who share a passion for everything about Malayalam cinema. The idea is to put out well-written and well-researched features, exclusive interviews,...