1. Aamir Khan (Ghajini)
Aamir Khan left it until the final throw of the dice this year before making his appearance. And what an appearance it was! Shaven-haired, tattooed and with a six-pack eighteen months in the making. The anticipation for Ghajini was so tense, you could slice it and sell it by the kilo. And when it did hit the screens, it hit the mark, leaving all previous versions of this tale thrashing in its wake. Asin was made a star and Jiah Khan finally achieved her life’s ambition and persuaded herself she’d finally made it to the big league — all on the strength of Aamir’s performance. Another big hit — another appearance in the Best Actor Top Ten. Aamir once said, “Film making is like fighting a war with leadership at the front.” Well, he’s done it again — fought a war and achieved victory! But even when he wasn’t on screen, Aamir was deeply involved in the year’s developments — lecturing the EU on climate change, talking to the press about the Mumbai attack, trying to reconcile the other two Khans as best he could. Aamir Khan — more than just an actor.
Finally, although he’s far too important to get mixed up in a top ten list, a special mention this year for Amitabh Bachchan. In a year that saw some sterling performances from the father figure of the industry, we found an Amitabh who could look wryly at himself and with great depth and pathos in The Last Lear, one of his finest dramatic performances of all time. He also provided the award-winning Jodhaa Akbar with the gravity it needed to set the scene through his narration and that he knew how to have fun in Bhootnath and God Tussi Great Ho. Finally, he reprised his penetrating role of the manipulative Sarkar in Sarkar Raj. In addition to this, he somehow managed to squeeze in a world tour with Unforgettable. The man’s not just an actor but an industry in himself.
So there we have it — BollySpice’s Top Ten Actors for 2008 plus one. The biggest problem facing us of course is that in a top ten, you can only have ten names — so no places this year for such fine performers as Irfan Khan, the two stars of Rock On!!, Farhan Akhtar and Arjun Rampal, (although Farhan popped up in the Top 10 Newcomers list) or Ajay Devgan who put in fine performances in Halla Bol and Golmaal Returns. Nor indeed for Anil Kapoor who stole the movie with his scenes in Slumdog Millionaire.
So Aamir sits at no. 1 — do you agree or disagree?