Top 10 Surprises of 2006

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While the spotlight is usually hogged by big-budget films or by big stars, once a movie releases all this is thrown up into the air because after that it all comes down to what’s good and what’s not. Sometimes you pop a flick into your DVD player or go see a movie because another one was sold out and actually end up pleasantly surprised. In this article BollySpice reviews the top 10 surprise performances of the year that left us with a smile on our face.

10. Aishwarya Rai in Umrao Jaan
From the minute JP Dutta announced the production of his version of Mirza Hadi Ruswa’s acclaimed novel Umrao Jaan, inevitable comparisons with Muzaffar Ali’s classic adaptation rose to the surface. Furthermore when Aishwarya Rai was signed to play the title role, she was slammed from all corners with allegations that she won’t be able to carry off the role as well as Rekha had in 1981. Even though JP Dutta insisted that his film was not a remake of Ali’s, detractors of Ash jumped up in joy and snatched any opportunity to slander Ash’s name. However once the movie was released there was a deafening silence coming from these very detractors, as the majority were stunned with Aishwarya’s brilliant and unique portrayal of Umrao. Aishwarya dove under the skin of the character and made it her own, leaving no room for comparison. Greeting audiences with a charming ‘salaam’, Aishwarya left one and all speechless.

9. Abhishek Bachchan in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
With a show-stopping cast including Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta and Amitabh Bachchan, it would have been easy for Abhishek to get lost in the crowd of KANK. However as it turned out, he ended up stealing the thunder from the rest of the reputable cast. Audiences loved him as Rishi and he garnered incredible feedback for his performance, and rightly so! Abhishek certainly has big shoes to fill, and with KANK it looks like he’s growing into them marvellously.

8. Esha Deol in Ankahee
As the daughter of legendary heroine Hema Malini, Esha has a tremendous weight to carry on her shoulders. After four years in the industry, a general consensus was beginning to develop—that Esha Deol simply cannot act. While she may be no Hema Malini, Esha certainly rose to the occasion with Vikram Bhatt’s Ankahee and arguably delivered the best performance of her career. Instead of working in a multi-starrer where she gets one line and a song, Esha was the lead character in Ankahee, playing a woman obsessively in love with a married man. Ankahee has definitely provided hope that there is still a future for Esha in Bollywood.

7. Mallika Sherawat in Pyaar Ke Side Effects
Mallika Sherawat is undoubtedly the Controversy Queen of Bollywood. Whether it’s through her films, appearances, or interviews; Madame Mallika sure knows how to make headlines. For the longest time Mallika had merely been playing a sex bomb in all her films, until PKSE where she was uniquely paired with Rahul Bose. For the first time Mallika showed real shades of talent and that she can actually do more than shake her assets in front of a camera. Best of all, she looks good in clothes! Seriously though, I could get used to Mallika in her new avatar. Let’s hope for better roles and more of the re-invented Mallika for 2007!

6. Saif Ali Khan in Omkara
It’s fair to say that Langda Tyagi was the best part in Vishal Bhardawaj’s Omkara. Saif Ali Khan has shattered his image of a chocolate hero which was created with movies like Hum Tum, Salaam Namaste, and Kal Ho Naa Ho. He literally immortalized the cunning, deceptive and unbelievably complex character of Langda Tyagi with exceptional mastery. Saif easily provided his career’s best performance and left everyone with their jaws fallen down to the ground. He left no stone unturned in giving Langda his best shot, and it was sure worth it. Each mannerism, whether it was his paan-stained teeth, wobbly limp or outrageous dancing, was spot on. Saif truly proved that he is one of the best in the industry today.

5. Ayesha Takia in Dor
We’re accustomed to seeing Ayesha in girl-next-door roles like Shaadi Se Pehle, Socha Na Tha and Home Delivery. In Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dor Ayesha suddenly deserted her comfort zone and emerged a winner in every sense. Not only has she left audiences bowled over with her astounding performance, but she is finally being seen as an actress rather than a mere prop. After Dor it’s going to be hard to watch Ayesha in any inconsequential roles because it’s obvious that she has major potential waiting to be tapped. Ayesha, all I can say is that you better continue to dor (run) to the finish line, ‘cause you’re almost there!

4. Kangana Ranaut in Gangster and Woh Lamhe
Even if he doesn’t require a lavish budget or big stars, Mahesh Bhatt is known for providing quality films. The Bhatt camp prefers to introduce fresh faces to Bollywood, the latest entrant into this camp being youthful Kangana Ranaut. In Gangster, Kangana played the central character of the movie and not once was it possible to believe that this was her first movie. She performed a complex character involving a gamut of emotions with unbelievable

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