Lima Das to Parvathy: 6 Actors Overlooked By the National Awards

Some impactful female actors who did not get their due at the 67th National Awards this year.

Indian Cinema
4 min read
Lima Das in <i>Aamis</i> and Parvathy in <i>Uyare</i>.

The winners of the 67th National Awards were announced recently and like every year there has been a furore of snubs this year too. While a host of awards went to deserving artistes, I would like to bring to light some brilliant performances by female actors that were overlooked by the jury for the main honour. Some of them were award-winners at international film festivals too. When I say this, I mean to say performances that race past that of Kangana Ranaut’s in Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi by miles specifically. (I thought she did justice to playing Jaya in Panga, a film I did not really enjoy).

However, if the jury could jointly award Manoj Bajpayee (Bhonsle) and Dhanush (Asuran), there seems to be no reason why any of the evocative portrayals by these female actors could not qualify for an award alongside Kangana.

Usha Jadhav in Mai Ghat - Crime No 103/2015 (Marathi)

Usha Jadhav in a still from <i>Mai Ghat</i>.
Usha Jadhav in a still from Mai Ghat.

When it comes to Best Actor (Female) for the year 2019, there was this one name that topped my list since the day I caught hold of the film at the International Film Festival Kerala. Usha Jadhav, who also won Silver Peacock for Best Actor (female) at IFFI, Goa, undoubtedly gave a resilient and heartbreaking performance as a mother who fought all odds to serve justice to her son who succumbed to custodial torture.

Kani Kusruti in Biriyaani (Malayalam)

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Kani Kusruti in a still from Biryani.</p></div>

Kani Kusruti in a still from Biryani.

Kani Kusruti’s performance as Khadeeja, who breaks the shackles of religion and a regressive society that weighs her freedom down, earned her the Kerala State Award for Best Actress (2019) and also at Moscow International Film Festival. The film got a special mention but what I don’t understand is how a performance this nuanced and thematically deep missed the eyes of the jury?

B Jayasree in Mookajjiya Kanasugalu (Kannada)

B Jayasree in <i>Mookajjiya Kanasugalu</i>
B Jayasree in Mookajjiya Kanasugalu

B Jayasree has immortalised the role of Mookkaji, a legendary character with sixth sense in Shivarama Karanth’s novel that goes by the same name. Despite all the complexities and pressure that goes behind movie adaptations, not to mention a novel this mystical, multi-layered and complicated, an iconic character is now identified with B Jayasree’s face. For a National award jury to miss out on this performance (if it did) is quite sad.

Nimisha Sajayan in Chola (Malayalam)

Nimisha Sajayan in <i>Chola</i>.
Nimisha Sajayan in Chola.

One of the most shocking movie experiences I’ve ever had in the year 2019. My thesaurus would fall short if I set out to praise Nimisha’s performance as Janaki. An eerie and disturbingly real portrayal of a school girl who goes through hell and back. A performance that deserves to be seen by every movie-buff out there I would say.

Parvathy in Uyare (Malayalam)

Parvathy in <i>Uyare</i>.
Parvathy in Uyare.

Uyare was not only an inspiring film centred around acid attack. It was also one of those rarest Indian films that actually dealt with toxic relationships. While we have movies that normalise male aggression in relationships, here we have Pallavi, a synonym of resilience fighting every force to make her perpetrator (her boyfriend) pay for his crime. A performance of this magnitude and impact deserved to be acknowledged is all I’ll say.

Lima Das in Aamis (Assamese)

Lima Das and Arghadeep Baruah in a still from <i>Aamis</i>.
Lima Das and Arghadeep Baruah in a still from Aamis.
(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

Aamis has to be one of the most unusual and unexpected triumphs of Indian Cinema in 2019 and Nirmali was a knock out performance from Lima Das. Both the performance and the film were left un-recognised by the jury.

Besides the above performances, Manju Warrier in Asuran, Tillotama Shome in Sir and Sanya Malhotra in Photograph too deserved accolades over Kangana Ranaut’s in Manikarnika. Most of them being equally or more impactful than her performance in Panga. This is merely by considering some exceptional performances from Indian cinema’s theatrical releases. Artistes across different industries do look forward to the National Awards every year and a recognition of this magnitude is definitely a pat on their back for the good. All said and done, if you haven’t checked out these stellar performances yet, I suggest you do it now. Let every good piece of cinema travel far and wide.

(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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