Ranvir Shorey: Last year, the truly moving scene came from a comedy, Khosla ka Ghosla, it comes when Khosla sa'ab is put behind bars and Ranvir Shorey's 'Bunty' Khosla weeps saying "yeh sab meri galti hai", and asks his younger brother to go to US, away from all this trouble. Aaja Nachle has no good scenes but one, which comes from Shourie. Its a dialogue less scene where Ranvir Shorey's Mohan Sharma weeps (with a big red heart in background) when he learns that his bride has ran away from marriage. What Shorey does in that scene is to elevate Mohan from a poor guy to a poor guy in love. Similarly, he plays a just-married Gujju with required sensitivity, in Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd whose wife runs off during honeymoon. In No Smoking, Ranvir Shorey's squint eyed Abbas is also a performance to watch for. Here again, his performance brings two aspects to Abbas - the unwilling cunningness required for survival and how people yield to it, and the frustration and helplessness of being in a situation beyond ones control. Also it is to director's credit that Abbas doesn’t just become a background character serving the main plot but a valuable addition to it.
Lara Dutta: I know I have soft corner for Lara Dutta and what ever she does, and I think she is a very good actress in mainstream Bollywood (In the star studded "Dewaanagi Dewaanagi" song from Om Shanti Om, she was only next to Tabu). In Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, she plays a French Hotel Manager and British-Indian Prostitute with the same verve and energy. Her performance surely adds to the guilty pleasure of the film.
Amisha Patel: It looks like Amisha Patel was born to play this. Although the character Pinky in Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, is of a dumb girl who has this romanticized view of marriage and love but she plays it so naturally and uniformly that her dumbness does not irritate, but becomes a part of her charm.
Sonya Jehan: Playing Ratanbala in Khoya Khoya Chand, a Bollywood star of 50s, was all about screen presence, few precise gestures and good diction, and Sonya Jehan gets it all correct. In a year when everybody is singing praises of Deepika Padukone (and to a extend she deserves it), Sonya Jehan's classic act went unnoticed.
Ayesha Takia: Like Amisha Patel's, Ayesha Takia's casting as the dumb and big bosomed secretary of John Abraham in No Smoking is a wonder of casting and concept. But her dumbness is not her natural trait, but a made up thing, may be to please her boss, or it is an image that her boss want her to be like. To her credit, she does not miss a single step. Every move is a delicious treat in itself and a wonderful parody of all the fantasy secretaries of the world.
Tisca Chopra: Tisca Chopra's Maya Awasthi (Ishaan's mother in Taare Zameen Par) is one of most heartfelt performances of the year. Her portrayal of Ishaan's mother has care for the child, worrying about the child and attachment to the child - the things inherent in mothers, alongside a feeling that she is not able to understand her son. Tisca Chopra's performance never cries for attention. There was a scene where she watches video tapes of Ishaan from his childhood, I just hope that segment was constructed as a series of memories she had of him. I am sure that would have been more powerful than the taped ones.
Mithun Chakraborty: Mithun Chakraborty’s performance as an idealistic communist in Guru is one of the few times in Hindi films when a Bengali or an oldman or a communist are not stereotyped. It brings back the memories of some of his better performances, especially the marvellous Shibnath from Tahader Katha.
Pankaj Kapur: It can't be said that Pankaj Kapur’s performance is undervalued per se, but it is surely undervalued in comparison to what people say about Abhishek's performance in Guru or Shahrukh Khan in Chak de India (for note, SRK is better than Abhishek, and Abhisek is much better in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom than Guru). At a time when we see simplistic performances in so called adult films, Pankaj Kapur gives a multi-layered and deeply-felt performance in a so called children’s film. The last scene where he tries to dance in a marriage procession is again an example of art, i.e. beauty plus pity.