Bollywood this year was experimental and content driven. While Rajkummar Rao and Irrfan Khan delivered great films, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar flaunted their superstar aura.
It was not just the superstars who laid their stake on the box office throne in 2017, but also some new faces and performers who found a comfortable place – actors who have so far remained under the shadows of the Khans and Kapoors. To begin with, 2017 will go down in the history for being the year of the talented Rajkummar Rao. The actor had five releases, one special appearance and a blockbuster web-series. In short, he kept arriving on our screens almost every month, in one way or the other. We also had Irrfan Khan ruling our hearts. Keeping these two aside, there were even Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Varun Dhawan.
Here is a list of best actors of 2017, who did some great work, and ensured the audience has a good time at the theaters.
1. Rajkummar Rao
The list has to start with him. We, as fans, have seen the rise and rise of Rajkummar. He has just arrived, and he is here to stay. Rajkummar began 2017 with a power packed performance in Trapped. Then the 33-year-old actor left us shocked playing a 324-year-old man in Raabta. We agree that he was the most memorable part about this otherwise unsuccessful film. He followed it with one of the best characters of 2017 – Pritam Vidrohi in Bareilly Ki Barfi. His Behen Hogi Teri and Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana showed him in a romantic avatar. His Newton is India’s official entry to the Oscars this year. And he finished 2017 convincingly playing Subhash Chandra Bose in Ekta Kapoor’s web-series Bose: Dead/Alive. Do we already see him walking away with all the top honours at the various upcoming awards?
2. Irrfan Khan
The way he sold sarees at a Chandi Chowk market in the opening sequence of Hindi Medium proved why we call him one of the best in Bollywood. Irrfan is like an old wine, getting better with age. At 50, he gave two of the most delectable films this year – Hindi Medium and Qarib Qarib Singlle. Though both movies had their own problems, but that didn’t stop Irrfan from delivering what we call a natural performance. He prefers playing characters who might just cross your path at any juncture of life!
3. Varun Dhawan
Call him the money machine of Bollywood. Just 9 films down and none of Varun’s films have tasted a financial loss. In fact, his last few projects were all Rs 100 crore plus. His two releases this year – Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Judwaa 2 crossed Rs 200 crore each. Varun got the characters perfectly in both the films. He is one actor from the current lot who does everything right. He acts, yes he really does! He also dances well and does comedy. And he even leaves the audience happy. Hopes are only rising by the day from Varun Dhawan and we are sure he will live up to all that.
4. Akshay Kumar
Not just Akshay’s film is called Gold, whatever he touches actually turns gold! Like a disciplined man, he does his work well, arrives at the theaters with well timed films throughout the year and sweeps through the ticketing windows and the hearts of the audience. Akshay’s recent switch to only doing content driven cinema is only getting him all the love. And his two films this year – Jolly LLB 2 and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha were well crafted. While the former was a satire on India’s judiciary, the later was based on PM Modi’s flagship Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. And both became films to reckon with. Hope are already soaring with his next – PadMan.
5. Ayushmann Khurrana
He has become the most lovable boy-next-door. Nobody plays the small town guy better than Ayushmann. And he proved that not once, but twice in his films Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Savdhan this year. Though his Meri Pyaari Bindu tanked, but his performance was appreciated there too. 2017 was a fruitful year for this actor-singer and we are only looking for better stuff next year.
6. Ajay Devgn
He proved why he is an actor of all seasons. After a heist period action thriller Baadshaho, he hopped onto his favourite comedy franchise with Golmaal Again. While Ajay was one of the most memorable part of the otherwise mediocre Baadshaho, he rose to the occasion with the latter. Rs 300 crore and still counting, Golmaal Again is not just the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2017, but also one of the best horror comedies seen in recent times.
7. Salman Khan
He doesn’t need to try hard. His sheer presence in a film is enough to push it beyond Rs 200 crore or even more. Salman mostly prefers to give one film a year. But 2017 was different and his two movies were also as different as chalk and cheese. While the first one – Tubelight had him play a boy who is slow, Tiger Zinda Hai brought him back to flexing muscles, romancing his favorite onscreen and off-screen lady – Katrina Kaif, and do action à la Rambo. Tubelight might have been a disappointment but his massive fan base was in awe of his innocent and honest performance. As Tiger, his roar can already be heard at the box office!
8. Shah Rukh Khan
SRK gave us the first official hit of 2017 with crime action film Raees. Playing bootlegger Raees Alam, King Khan delivered a convincing performance after a long time. He tried to follow it up with his next film Jab Harry Met Sejal but this time it fell miserably. His little signature moments in this Imtiaz Ali film were the only relief. However, as they say it is impossible to wither away the Baadshah, so no list of best actors is complete without his mention.
9. Hrithik Roshan
Alongside SRK, even Hrithik opened 2017 decently well. His Kaabil was more performance based than his typical dance and good looks. The actor’s blind act in this revenge drama surely faded the bad memories of his Mohenjo Daro from last year.
This list would’ve started with his name if Baahubali: The Conclusion was made in Bollywood. But despite it being dubbed in Hindi for this side of the audience, Prabhas cannot be left out this list either. Hence, a special mention to the Telugu actor who was a one man army as Amarendra Baahubali. Let’s just see it this way – Prabhas spoke Hindi (though the dubbed voice was of actor Sharad Kelkar) and we were more than happy to believe he was a part of Bollywood for once. After all he kept the flag of Mahishmati flying at the box office for months!
Which actor was your favourite in 2017? Let us know in the comments section below.