This year has been one of the best for new directions and new faces - both on and off camera. From rugged to raw, charismatic to calming, real to dramatic, subtle to exuberant… the fresh faces have perfected the art of being naturally evocative on screen. Here are our top picks for the year 2017.
1)NimishaSajayan (ThondimuthalumDriksakshiyum): She played the middle-class Sreeja, who braves family opposition to marry Prasad from another caste. Her fury at the thief for stealing the thaali chain, the way she gets upset at Prasad when he rebukes her for being careless about the chain and the seamless way in which she enters into the being of a village girl who thinks chastity is a big deal; it all makes Mumbai-based Nimisha Sajayan one of the greatest finds of this year. With her bushy, unkempt unibrow and direct stare, what a smouldering debut that was.
2)Sarath Kumar (AngamalyDiaries): Unsmiling, blunt and intimidating despite his scrawny build, Appani Ravi unleashes terror in his region. Newcomer Sharath is pitch perfect as this local don who wedges pigs with a straight face, hates being taken for a ride and just as easily shakes hands with his opponents.
3) & 4) Amal Shah and Govind V Pai (Parava): They werethe surprise packages in Parava—the adolescent boys who lovingly take care of their pigeons and their little crushes and heartbreaks. Such natural performers.
5) P Sivadas (Thondimuthalum…): In a film with a fine line-up of supporting actors who are also newcomers, it’s hard to overlook this bulky, soft-spoken cop in civilian clothes who keeps giving voluntary suggestions to all and sundry. P Sivadas brings irrepressible humour to the proceedings without much effort. Definitely an actor to look forward to.
6)Sibi Thomas (Thondimuthalum…): Yet another find of the film, this real-life cop looks like he has been in front of the camera all his life. His interrogation of the thief, his reaction after being reproached by his senior and his attempt to solve a dispute, this man is pure gold.
7) Wamiqa Gabbi (Godha): As the feisty Punjabi wrestler Aditi Singh, she shone in a film steeped in truisms. Not only was she extremely convincing at her game, Wamiqa was as good in the emotional bits.
8) Kunal Kapoor (Veeram): It’s no mean task totake up a role that has been previously played to perfection by Mammootty in Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha. But Kunal aces the challenge with a controlled act. Not only does he look the part in a perfectly sculpted body, he also brings out the turmoil, anguish and guilt of Chanduchekavor with finesse.
9) Antony Varghese (AngamalyDiaries): In a film studded with newcomers, Antony Varghese makes a confident debut as Pepe, the hero of the film. The film trails his coming-of-age journey from a booze and pork loving lad to a responsible adult. Antony, who also carries the film forward with his voiceover in a heavily accented Angamaly slang, is an interesting blend of impishness and naivety. Definitely one for the future.
10) Anna Rajan (AngamalyDiaries): Lichi is a go-getter—the gentle charmer, who knows how to get her way. When she meets Pepe, he is already dating the girl of his dreams. After Pepe’s break-up, Lichi makes her move, unhurriedly and when the time seems ripe, she brings out her aggressive streak to win him over. Nursing student Anna Rajan is incredibly raw and natural in her debut and leaves a lasting impression.
11) Krishna (Rakshadikari Baiju): Sreekala is thisspunky village belle who openly makes a play at the boy she fancies. Full marks to the actor who essayed the role—she was so adorably uninhibited.
12) Aishwarya Rajesh (JomonteSuvisheshangal): She already had a dozen Tamil films on her resume when she made her entry into Malayalam. As a Tamil speaking pragmatic middle-class girl, Aishwarya exudes warmth on screen. A thorough natural, she was also the only bright spot in the communist propaganda film, Sakhavu.
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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,...