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When first half of the year is dominated by actors like Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, and Amitabh Bachchan, it is expected that they would deliver in each of their films. This is what one saw in 2008 as well, which hasn't really seen great box office returns but has been a witness to some decent performances. We look forward to far more eventful second half of the year though!
[In alphabetical order]
Akshay Kumar [Tashan]
'Maa, Picture To Achchi Thi Par Main Flop Ho Gaya' - So were the famous opening words of Akshay Kumar at the recently held IIFA, where he was spoofing the box office failure of Tashan. Of course he was kidding when he said so because in reality it was just the opposite. Akshay Kumar was the best part about this Yash Raj Film for which gigabytes have already been spent on its countless weaknesses. It is to the credit of Akshay Kumar though that he still lighted up the proceedings whenever he appeared on the frame. Have a full fledged 'Ramleela' that takes on from where his 'Ravan' act left and we won't really mind a sequel to Tashan.
Amitabh Bachchan [Sarkar Raj, Bhoothnath]
After Cheeni Kum in 2007, Amitabh Bachchan was again seen playing a pivotal role in Bhoothnath. Though Sarkar Raj didn't quite have him roaring the way he did in the prequel, the pre-climax and the climax sequences reinforced the fact that Big B's presence in a project can never be discounted. He may have been getting some nasty reviews for his performances in a section of media while the other may not be really happy with him getting into an angry old man mould with his Blogs, but who really minds that? Getting to sink his teeth into something unconventional with Bhoothnath while also making sure that third in the series of Sarkar Raj may just have a lot more of him, Amitabh Bachchan continues to make a statement.
Bipasha Basu [Race]
One still doesn't know whether Bipasha Basu was indeed in love with Saif Ali Khan when both walked away into sunset in the climax of Race. Such was the beauty of the role that she enacted so very well that one continues to be intrigued about this lady who got together elements of Ajnabee as well as Jism and bluffed the audience from the first till the last frame of the film. Carry on with stylish roles like these lady; we would love to see much more of you in the coming years!
Devgans [U Me Aur Hum]
After going through their share of conventional love stories with Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha and Raju Chacha, Ajay and Kajol Devgan had to do something really path breaking with their prestigious U Me Aur Hum. First half of the film was hardly path breaking but Devgans caught the bull by its horns the moment they got into a dramatic mould. With a complex subject revolving around Alzheimer's disease, the film could have fallen flat had the performances been any weaker but Devgans made sure that they give it all to a film which was a complete in-house product.
Emraan Hashmi [Jannat]
Emraan Hashmi's top performance would always stay on to be Awarapan but 5 years down the line when his successful films would be listed; Jannat would be remembered more. This year's biggest hit if one considers the ROI (Return on Investment) factor, Jannat also owes its success to the fact that Hashmi played to the gallery and gave his audience what they expect out of him. He used his mischievous streak to the maximum and didn't mind playing the bad-good young man yet again!
Hrithik Roshan [Jodhaa Akbar]
From sheer effort perspective, Hrithik would lead the charge for giving his all to make sure that his 'Akbar' act looked convincing enough on the big screen. It is quite a difficult task to leave behind an image created by a Krrish or a Dhoom 2 but Hrithik still managed to achieve that and the results were seen. Hrithik worked hard on his diction, body language and presentation and succeeded well. Second half of the year could see numerous good performances coming in but Hrithik would still find himself as one of the Top-5 contenders for the Best Actor.
Rahul Bose [Shaurya]
If Hrithik made a big impression in a big film like Jodhaa Akbar, Rahul Bose too achieved something similar in one of the smallest films of the year so far! Rahul has been a consistent performer ever since the days of Thakshak and though a notable act by him is a given for each of his films, Shaurya was special. Not just did the film feature him as a central protagonist, it also allowed him to demonstrate various facets of his personality. The film not only turned out to be a 'choti si success story' but also further increased the fan base of Rahul Bose.
Rajeev Khandelwal [Aamir]
In a year, which has seen some inconsequential, debuts so far (with only Sikandar Kher coming close), Rajeev Khandelwal has made everyone stand up and take notice of his bravura performance in Aamir. And to think of it, this by no means was a conventional 'hero' debut since Rajeev was shown as a man on the run for the entire length of the film who ultimately turns into a victim of circumstances. One just hopes now that Rajeev continues to make good choices and instead of being slotted as a 'thinking actor', he gets to play a variety of characters in films to come!
Ranvir Shorey [Mithya]
Talking about 'thinking men' and enacting the role of a 'fall guy', Ranvir Shorey was just perfect in Mithya. Yet again, he played a character who was a victim of circumstances and got embroiled in a series of events which ultimately led to his downfall. If at all an actor has come close to getting Charlie Chaplinsque comic-tragedy on screen in Bollywood, it has been Ranvir with Mithya. He is a man for all seasons, an ingredient for all recipes and an actor who can be handed over any part!
Riteish Deshmukh [De Taali]
Everyone loves Riteish. And there would hardly be anyone who could dislike his performance. Or to put it differently, there is hardly a reason why anyone would love to hate him! He is a man who can be trusted to give a good performance every time and the same happened very recently with De Taali too. Consistently delivering successful films year after year and upping his popularity quotient with every release of his, Riteish has been quietly forming an alternative market for himself.