Best Performances by Male Actors in Hindi Films of 2019 – Ranked


Even though 2019 wasn’t particularly a very strong year for Hindi Films, the reason it turned out good in terms of performances because there were wholesome ensemble films right from Gully Boy to Article 15 to Sonchiriya that had brilliant performances stacked on top of each other. Some films also provided ample scope for very young actors to shine like stars. And then there were films where seasoned actors took a backseat for younger talent to lead the show, but there was still enough and more in them to still be recognized as the best acts of the year. In fact there was so much to choose from that instead of top 10, the decision was to recognize the Top 15 Performances by Male Actors in Hindi Films of 2019.

As we list down the Best, we did not differentiate between Leading and Supporting acts. We also considered the films that released on Digital directly along with theatrically released films. These performances are only considering the full length features, the Series and Shorts will have to be considered separately.


Honorable Mentions: Manoj Pahwa and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub (Article 15), Manoj Bajpayee (Sonchiriya), Pankaj Tripathi (Yours Truly),  Hrithik Roshan (War), Om Kanojiya (Mere Pyaare Prime Minister)


Top 15 Performances by Male Actors in Hindi Films of 2019

15. Gulshan Devaiah as Karate Mani / Jimmy (Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota)

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Though I was not fully convinced by the writing of the two tracks belonging to Gulshan Devaiah in Mard lko Dard Nahi Hota, but clearly the actor was a lot of fun! It is his easy going personality and command over the craft that was reflected in almost every scene that he was it, even when some scenes stretched beyond the balance of creating the perfect magic. Devaiah by himself was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. (Available on Netflix)


14. Vipin Sharma as Anup (Gone Kesh)


Gone Kesh is possibly the most original story of the repeating theme of hair loss this year, and Vipin Sharma is wonderful as the helpless but supportive father of a young aspiring dancer who is losing all her hair to alopesia. The entire family is going through this journey of inflicted societal shame, and Sharma plays the wonderful balancing act of a father who would still go to any extent to comfort his daughter and be the wind beneath her wings. (Available on Prime Video)


13. Vijay Raaz as Aftab Ahmed (Gully Boy)

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In a film like Gully Boy that was consistently well acted, Vijay Raaz left his solid mark as the insecured and obsessive father who wants to control everything he can because his circumstances in life control him in every other way. His ego and his frustration showed through his raw emotions and Raaz did not miss a beat. Beyond Gully Boy, Raaz also made his presence felt in Photograph and Dream Girl in smaller roles. (Gully Boy Available on Prime Video)


12. Rajkummar Rao as Keshav (Judgementall Hai Kya)


In Judgementall Hi Kya, Rajkummar Rao doesn’t get a fully fleshed out character, and definitely deserved more meat to his part. But he makes more than full use of what he gets, and adds some delectable layering to his character sketch. When he gets his scope, he flows like a river outshining everyone and you only notice him on screen. He demanded a longer screen time, and a better back story. He has also possibly not looked this good on screen for very long now. It is a delicious full bodied performance through and through. (Available on Zee5)


11. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Rafi (Photograph)


Through Photograph, Ritesh Batra wants to freeze a perfect poetic frame around the world of Miloni, and the terrific artist that Nawazuddin Siddiqui is ensures that he never overpowers the tenderness of Miloni. It is a brilliantly nuanced performance from Nawaz and one can see that through the smiling eyes of Rafi whenever he is with Miloni, who has otherwise long forgotten to smile in the daily grinds of life. Rafi sells dreams of moments frozen in time and Miloni suddenly becomes the metaphor for the non-existent luxuries in his life. Only Nawaz could have made the understated longing and charm of Rafi so touch and feel real. I so wish that the other directors also explore this tender side of Nawaz as delicately as Batra has done twice in a row now. (Available on Prime Video)


10. Talha Arshad Reshi as Hamid (Hamid)

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Talha Arshad Reshi as Hamid is a goofball of innocence. He is a troubled child growing up in the Kashmir valley where his father has gone missing for more than a year now, where there are enough disruptive forces instigating young kids to the roads of violence and where Hamid’s inherent basic goodness still makes him a strong believer of love and overall goodwill. He strongly believes that he can create a direct channel with God and get his father back to his childhood and his grieving mother. It is a complex character and the young artist loads it with the perfect balance of exuberance, restraint, angst and innocence as needed. More power to Hamid and Talha Arshad Reshi! (Available on Netflix)


09. Siddhant Chaturverdi as MC Sher (Gully Boy)

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Siddhant Chaturvedi made a sensational film debut playing MC Sher in Gully Boy. He becomes Murad’s mentor, partner and one amazing friend, instigating the hidden performer in a reclusive poet for the very first time. He channels the tentativeness of Murad into focus, determination and attitude. He is the pro in that world of hip-hop and hence its but natural that he will dominate the screen space between him and Murad – kudos to Siddhant’s hold over his craft, his confidence and his silky smooth understanding with Ranveer about who underplays which scene and by how much. There is a lot more to come from Siddhant in the movies to come. (Available on Prime Video)


08. Mahesh Manjrekar as Ajoba – grandpa (Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota)

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Mahesh Manjrekar in Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota plays the guardian angel cum grandfather to Surya who suffers from the rare congenital disease where he does not feel any physical pain. Manjrekar is at his understated best in the film and embodies Ajoba with a lot of sensitivity, affection and the most endearing father figure shaping up Surya’s life. In a film that uniformly tends to be spunky, fun and challenging the stereotypes, Manjrekar brings in the much need balancing act of calmness and that soothing effect stays on. (Available on Netflix)


07. Kumud Mishra as Kisan Jatav (Article 15)

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Article 15 is a terrific film at the script level, at the execution level and at the performance level. Everyone of the ensemble is well cast and gives a performance that will be remembered for a very long time. But the real show stealer  in the stellar support cast is Kumud Mishra as the low born constable Kisan Jatav with the terrific performance of the man who says a lot when he doesn’t say much. This was the lesser of the showy roles, and it only takes the talent of a seasoned performer like Mishra to make it human and endearing at so many levels. (Available on Netflix)


06. Sushant Singh Rajput as Lakhan Singh (Sonchiriya)


Sonchiriya as a film was loaded with ammunition to be such a scorching commentary on a decaying society infested with abhoring gender, class and caste issues at the times of emergency. Even if the film had its own sets of screenplay and execution issues, it scored very high on the performances from each of the central characters. Sushant Singh Rajput made full use of the golden opportunity he had as Lakhan, and was able to completely camouflage himself into his grounded character by shedding his starry aura fully and feel lived in to those terrains for years. It has to be one of his best performances to date. (Available on Zee5)


05. Ayushmann Khurrana as Ayan Ranjan (Article 15)


Gifted with the terrific sense of script choices, and with a skill to interpret his characters with an uncanny sense of deep compassion, Ayushmann Khurrana makes Ayan deeply sensitive and sincere in his approach. His assertion doesn’t need aggression, he communicates so much with his simmering eyes and brooding silence, and he doesn’t need to lose himself even when the system around him is abrasive and crumbling apart. This has to be one of Khurrana’s most matured performances to date and will be long remembered for a new kind of cop he gifts to the world of hindi cinema, clearly standing apart from the broad strokes of an Akshay Kumar or Ajay Devgan like officer, and wonderfully channelizes his restrained simmering intensity to etch a self reflecting and internally facing human soul more than a super cop. (Available on Netflix)


04. Vijay Verma as Moeen Arif (Gully Boy)

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Vijay Verma plays Moeen in Gully Boy and is absolutely terrific as the local goon whose moral spine isn’t as upright as that of Murad, who gets young kids to sell narcotics, but he stands by Murad through thick and thin as his best friend. Moeen is a reflection of what Murad could have easily become in his circumstances, and deep within he yearns to be what Murad eventually achieves. Verma’s is a performance that dominates every inch of the screen he is on, and it is no wonder then that the filmmaker reserved the hero’s entry in the opening scene for him, and he completely aces it. (Available on Prime Video)


03. Ranvir Shorey as Vakil Singh (Sonchiriya)

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Casting was completely on point for Sonchiriya even when the script was uneven in quite a few places and some arcs were not fully done justice to. But that was not the case for Ranvir Shorey and his Vakil Singh, which was a fully realized performance and dominated every single frame that he was on. It was a complex character playing the situational leader of a band of morally faulted men, all seeking the elusive golden bird of redemption, but Shorey is at his finest with a perfectly measured performance. It only feels sad that we see so little of such a gifted artist on screen who has so much to offer. (Available on Zee5)


02. Farhan Akhtar as Niren Chaudhary (The Sky Is Pink)

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Farhan Akhtar’s Nirn is an extremely matured and restrained husband and father, who doesn’t wear his masculinity up on his sleeve in spite of his conservative upbringing. He is happy to be the silent navigator of the family and yet ensure that he is giving in everything he has to keep Aisha and every hope around her afloat. He and his introverted self have their own way of dealing with grief, his vulnerability shows through his honesty. Niren is equally strong in silently working his butt off to arrange for the prohibitive medical expenditures for his child and let Aditi be the primary caregiver, as he is earnest sans any ego about not thinking twice to ask for charitable help towards the same cause. His easygoing charm works as much wonder on Aditi and Aisha, as it does its magic on us. Farhan Akhtar is the clear show stealer as Niren with a brilliantly sensitive restrained act, he speaks a whole lot through his poised eyes tugging deep at the heart strings, and his Niren is most likely going to age beautifully into his career best performance to date. (Available on Netflix)


01. Ranveer Singh as Murad Ahmed (Gully Boy)

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Gully Boy is the most definitive performance of Ranveer Singh’s career to date and he becomes Murad and Murad becomes him in every frame, every glance and every breath. Murad is the most ordinary of people, who has lived all his life remaining under the shades of a chaotic family, more assertive friends and a far more aggressive long term girl friend. His presence is so inconsequential to him and to the world that he is not even in focus when he is first introduced to us. He is stumped by MC Sher when he is first introduced to the later’s confidence in a college event, and the awe shows in his eyes. In fact, Ranveer speaks a thousand words through Murad’s eyes with a simmering unspoken intensity. We have never ever seen this Ranveer on screen before, his Murad is diametrically opposite to the ultra-flamboyant Ranveer that we know off-screen, and it possibly takes a master craftsman like Zoya to reign in all his exuberance and channelize it to internalized emotions of volcanic might to deliver a masterclass performance.  (Available on Prime Video)



So that was the Third Vantage Point Selection of the Best Performances by Male Actors in Hindi Films of the year. Best performances by Female Actors was already looked at separately and can be referred to here. We will look at other categories next, Best Hindi Films may be skipped given how few films really cut the mark and we won’t be able to collate even 10 good films (given there has been no access to many films that are getting appreciated on the festival circuit).  Meanwhile please do share your thoughts on your favorite performances by male actors this year.

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Copyright ©2019 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

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