Fahadh Faasil is the name that resonates pan India now as the Best Lead Actor working in Indian cinema today, and that coming from a place where Fahadh has still not worked in a single Hindi film (the language of films which has had the most pan India acceptance to date) makes it extra sweet. It is however not so suprising since the Malayalam film industry now makes the best cinema in the country for a while, and its realistic, lived in, matter of fact world perfectly complements the natural, understated and layered performance competency of Fahadh Faasil. The actor excels in non physical communication since he has the best expressive eyes in the country today, and wonderfully uses them and his charming persona to infuse all his characters with shades of grey, quirk, and natural believability with an effortless conviction, never coming across as trying too hard or ‘act’.
All of this did not start off so smoothly though. In his first innings as an actor in early 2000s, Fahadh literally struggled inspite of him being launched by his well established filmmaker father. None of his earlier films stood out and Fahadh realised early that he needs to invest time and effort to sharpen his craft if he indeed desires to make a mark in the industry. The turning point came around 2011 with Chaappa Kurishu, which literally can be considered as the new advent of Fahadh Faasil to the new wave Malayalam cinema. There was no looking back after that, and over the last decade Fahadh Faasil has built up an enviable filmography with too many memorable films and performances. Thanks to the OTT platforms, today most of it is accessible for the pan India audience to consume and admire, and one can only wish that some of his other acclaimed performances like Diamond Necklace or Amen are soon available on one of these platforms with subtitles as well, so that we are not missing out on any of the good cinema of Fahadh.
We will now look at the 15 Best Performances of Fahadh Faasil from his solid filmography. The best way to understand why these films made it to the list at their respective positions is to watch / rewatch the films and enjoy them in their glory. As always, this ranked list is highly subjective in nature and based on personal preferences and hence the justifications would also be very personal and are best avoided. Your list and their ranked order could be very different, but it would be wonderful to know what that is, and especially get recommendations on any other film of the great actor that deserves a viewing and inclusion here. Looking forward to the same, so that we can all collectively relish on the good cinema delivered by a phenomenon called Fahadh Faasil.
Honorable Mentions: Varathan (2018), Oru Indian Pranayakadha (2013), C U Soon (2020)
15. Iyobinte Pusthakam (2014) | Dir – Amal Neerad | Available on – Disney Hotstar Premium
Iyobinte Pusthakam plays out like a dark visual poetry on screen, and Fahadh’s character Aloshy as the youngest son of Iyob becomes one of the primary vehicles to add to the gritty darkness as the face of revolt. This film is one of the many instances of Fahadh Faasil’s career where he leaves a strong footprint while working with a strong ensemble cast and not being the central character of the film.
14. Take Off (2017) | Dir – Mahesh Narayanan | Available on – Disney Hotstar Premium
Take Off can primarily be called Parvathy’s film and the multiple awards and accolades she rightfully got for the film supports that. Fahadh Faasil’s Manoj was more of a supporting role to Parvathy’s Sameera and Kunchacko Boban’s Shaheed, but even in his relatively limited presence, Fahadh makes his presence felt and memorable to add to the overall strength of Take Off.
13. Super Deluxe (2019) | Dir – Thiagarajan Kumararaja | Available on – Netflix
The only Tamil film in the list, Super Deluxe is yet another instance of a very strong ensemble film with a smart hyperlinked storyline, where the meatier roles went to Vijay Sethupathi, Ashwanth Ashokkumar or Ramya Krishnan. But Fahadh Faasil as Mugil anchors one of the important tracks of the film and excels as the husband torn between saving a wife from a crime and despising her for cheating on him. Mugil was a delicious layered character and Fahadh was the best bet to play that with such smoothness.
12. Annayum Rasoolum (2013) | Dir – Rajeev Ravi | Available on – Disney Hotstar Premium
Annayum Rasoolum is an emotional saga of star crossed romance between a muslim man Rasool and a christian girl Anna, both coming from conservative backgrounds, and though the film’s narrative had its own sets of issues, it primarily works because of how good the central performances were by both Fahadh Faasil and Andrea Jeremiah. As the tonality of the film changes, Fahadh’s Rasool seamlessly transitions himself to the same and gives us a character worth remembering.
11. Bangalore Days (2014) | Dir – Anjali Menon | Available on – Disney Hotstar Premium
Bangalore Days is a film that focuses on the ups and downs of the lives of three cousins who have moved to Bangalore and Fahadh Faasil is not one of them. In fact, he plays Das, the brooding husband to Nazariya Nazim’s Divya, who had a flamboyant past but who has gotten quieter now after he lost his girlfriend and is now married to a person he does not love. Even with a limited presence, Fahadh brings out the stark contrast in the characters of his own past and present with a charming ease, and gels seamlessly in the overall ecosystem to make Bangalore Days such an enjoyable film.
10. Trance (2020) | Dir – Anwar Rasheed | Available on – Amazon Prime Video
Trance as a film takes itself way too seriously trying to deliver a heavy message and loses its grip on the narrative trying to give it a loud psychedelic treatment. But Fahadh Faasil as Viju Prasad / Pastor Joshua Carlton is tailor made for the role that needed a very strong performer who could smoothly transition from a desperate ordinary man to the larger than life godman who would trick every single person coming his way. Infact, had the film matched up to Fahadh Faasil’s performance in it, the overall impact of the performance as well could have been much higher. It will still go down as one of the strongest performances of Fahadh in a film.
09. 22 Female Kottayam (2012) | Dir – Aashiq Abu | Available on – Jio Cinemas & MX Player
22 Female Kottayam is one of the more difficult films to watch on this list, so dark it gets as the film proceeds. And blame it on Fahadh Faasil’s Cyril and his ugly manipulative and disgusting character that makes this rape and revenge thriller such an engaging watch. The versatility of the great actor is in ample display here, and sometimes it can be just amazing how someone with such innocent eyes can play pure evil nonchalantly without blinking an eye.
08. Maheshinte Prathikaaram (2016) | Dir – Dileesh Pothan | Available on – Amazon Prime Video
Maheshinte Prathikaaram is the first collaboration between Fahadh Faasil and Dileesh Pothan and is a landmark film to mark the beginning of a great team collaboration. This is also the most commercial of the three films that this duo have done together so far. As the central character, Fahadh Faasil completely carries the film on his shoulders and sets a benchmark that will be then replicated in his other films, as well as other remakes of the same film.
07. Artist (2013) | Dir – Shyamaprasad | Available on – Amazon Prime Video
Artist is a beautiful romance about two gifted arts students, who decide to make a life together while being driven by their individual ambitions. A terrific adaptation of ‘Dreams in Prussian Blue’, Artist works on multiple levels of an engaging drama anchored by two brilliant performances by Ann Augustine and Fahadh Faasil. It takes an actor of Fahadh’s competence to so smoothly bring out the compulsive ambition, the helpless frustration, the ruthless ego and a hidden central soft core at the same time, and make Artist a must watch.
06. North 24 Kaatham (2013) | Dir – Anil Radhakrishnan Menon | Available on – Disney Hotstar Premium
Fahadh Faasil’s Harikrishnan who suffers from the obsessive compulsive personality disorder, and is out on an adventurous journey due to some unwanted turn of events is possibly the most intriguing character on this list that needed a lot of quirk, eccentricity and yet steady consistency at the same time; and Fahadh plays that with elan. A road movie with the coming of age template becomes so memorable because how good Fahadh and his costars Nedumudi Venu and Swathi Reddy are, and together they take us on a ride loaded with smiles, anxieties and overall goodness and help us grow along with Hari in the process.
05. Njan Prakashan (2018) | Dir – Sathyan Anthikad | Available on – Netflix
A highly enjoyable satirical comedy, Njan Prakashan has Fahadh Faasil as the ambitious cunning man who would go to any extent to achieve his ultimate dream to travel overseas and settle there successfully. It is tricky to play a man with a non existent moral spine and yet make him endearing and charming as he works his way into our hearts. The transition of Prakash to a sensitive man trying to bring smiles and hopes into the lives of people around him is also beautifully played out. The overall charm of the central performance makes the film an ideal candidate for an anytime repeat watch in any mood.
04. Kumbalangi Nights (2019) | Dir – Madhu C Narayanan | Available on – Amazon Prime Video
Kumbalangi Nights is goosebumps inducing visceral poetry on screen. Primarily focussing on the story of a dysfunctional family of four brothers who are all unique and starkly different from each other, the film boasts of multiple brilliant performance especially from Soubin Shahir, Shane Nigam, Anna Ben, and of course Fahadh Faasil. Playing the antagonist Shammi in the film, Fahadh’s no inhibition piercing performance makes him as wicked and menacing as one can imagine and to an extent even takes some of the adulation away from the exemplary Soubin Shahir in the film, which does feel unfair at times. But one cannot really blame Fahadh as well as he is so deliciously wicked and brilliant in the film and leaves Shammi strongly etched in our memories for a long long time.
03. Joji (2021) | Dir – Dileesh Pothan | Available on – Amazon Prime Video
Dileesh Pothan’s third collaboration with Fahadh Faasil plays out like an intensely subtle and starkingly dark lyrical ballad on screen. Inspired by Macbeth, Fahadh Faasil is at the top of his game in the titular character, and for sure delivers one of the best performances of his career. The man is a magician who can pull off a range of such diverse emotions in the same scene without saying a word and without resorting to any overtly physical expressions, and Joji can be a benchmark reference for the same. Supported by a terrific technical team and strong ensemble performances, Joji the film and the central character played by Fahadh deserves all kinds of special shoutouts.
02. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum (2017) | Dir – Dileesh Pothan | Available on – Disney Hotstar Premium
This much awarded 2nd film collaboration between Dileesh Pothan and Fahadh Faasil has to be one of the best written dark comedies of the recent times. Unlike most other films on this list, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum isn’t plot heavy but works its magic because of its brilliant and subtle contextual writing about the proceedings of a non-descript chaotic police station, and an outstanding Fahadh Faasil playing the role of a thief who has stolen the gold chain from a newly married couple. Films that do not have the crutches of heavy handed drama are the most difficult to pull through, and kudos to the team at play here that extracts so much of quirky brilliance out of nothing through sheer smart writing and such an immersive character play, especially by Fahadh Faasil.
01. Malik (2021) | Dir – Mahesh Narayanan | Available on – Amazon Prime Video
Malik is super grand in its ambition and realizes the same through its meticulous execution of the larger than life saga of love, friendship, kindness, betrayal, hatred, religion, politics and everything in between. In spite of the familiar tropes, Malik shines as a film because of its spectacular craft, compelling story telling and gorgeous performances all around. Fahadh Faasil absolutely shines in the central performance, and Malik is possibly his immortal Nayakan that gives him the opportunity to play multiple characters with a dynamic range of emotional maturity, character shades and depth in the same film over various life stages, and Fahadh Faasil nails down every single bit of it with flawless precision. His portrayal especially of the aging Suleiman is beyond brilliant and gives Malik all the edge to become the finest performance Fahadh has ever delivered in his dazzling career. For a world that is so cacophonic and angry as Malik, Fahadh Faasil’s restrained minimalism does wonders to ground Suleiman and humanize him to be the soul of the film. Hats off!
So those were the 15 Best Performances of Fahadh Faasil, and it is almost certain that this list will find new entries coming in from the upcoming filmography of this tremendous actor over the next several years. It may hence make sense to revisit this on an annual basis to see which new films make their way into his best films displacing some of the already great performances.
But till that time, let us enjoy the cinema of Fahadh Faasil, a phrase that has somewhat become synonymous with good cinema! To Fahadh Faasil!!
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