1. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya has been all over the place this year, with four prominent releases that collectively showcase her versatility. She started off the year with Mani Ratnam's Raavan
(and the Tamil Raavanan
), which didn't quite live up to expectations, but won immense acclaim for Ash. Later in the year, she found box office success down South co-starring opposite Rajnikanth in Enthiran
. The dubbed Hindi version of the film, Robot
, didn't do as well. Action Replayy
didn't live up to box office expectations but Aishwarya was appreciated in a role that is uncharacteristic of her usual dramatic characters. However, her real standout performance of the year was in Guzaarish
, where she spoke volumes with her eyes and avoided filmy melodrama. With four strong performances, the downside is that all of Aishwarya's films underperformed at the box office.Next steps:
The fact that none of Aishwarya's films performed well at the box office this year despite strong performances is a testament to the fact that she needs to be more careful when choosing scripts. She's certainly showed off her versatility this year, but Aishwarya still needs to master the balance between critical and commercial success.
2. Vidya Balan
Seeing Vidya Balan come into her own puts a smile on your face. The fact that Vidya only had a single release in 2010, which was far from conventional, shows that she is secure and confident of her talent. In Ishqiya
, Vidya showed audiences that sexy doesn't have to be trashy. As Krishna, she was fiery, vulnerable and charming all at the same time, providing a unique edge to the character.Next steps:
We know that Vidya is very picky about her films, but we still wish we could see her on-screen more often. Nevertheless, we admire the fact that she only takes up roles that challenge her as an actress. Her choices are certainly paying off!
I don't think it's necessary to re-iterate the fact that Kajol's charisma on-screen surpasses any other actress on this list. This year saw her back in action with Shah Rukh Khan in My Name is Khan
and stepping into Susan Sarandon's shoes for the Hindi remake of Stepmom
(We Are Family
). She was an absolute delight to watch in MNIK
, proving yet again that she's an expert at tugging at heartstrings. Though her second film of the year was panned by critics and audiences alike, Kajol was appreciated for bringing sincerity to her role. Her year-end release, Toonpur Ka Superrhero
, was a bit of a let-down as Kajol was saddled with a boring role and average script.Next steps:
We know she can act, so we want to see Kajol do something a little different in her next film. Many of her recent roles (MNIK, We Are Family, U Me aur Hum
) have been variations of the same character and it's getting a bit repetitive. It's time for Kajol to re-invent herself.
4. Priyanka Chopra
After an outstanding 2009, Priyanka loses the number one spot this year after two releases, neither of which was universally accepted. While Pyaar Impossible
came and went in a blink, the much-hyped Anjaana Anjaani
failed to light the box office afire. A modest box office success, Priyanka still showed off her acting chops in an interesting role, and was called the best part of the film by many.Next steps:
Priyanka needs to take a step back and stop taking anything and everything that comes her way. Both her releases this year seemed like impulse decisions (especially PI) and were a let-down after show-stoppers like Kaminey
. Being a little choosy would go a long way for Piggy Chops.
5. Deepika Padukone
With five releases this year, Deepika has had her hands full. And while some have worked at the box office and others haven't, most of her films have showcased a large improvement from last year. She was great in Karthik Calling Karthik, Break Ke Baad
and Lafangey Parindey
(though still a bit shaky) but didn't have much to do in Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey
. In terms of box office, she had two flops, one disaster, an average flick and a super-hit. Clearly, it's been a mixed bag for Deepika this year, but we're happy to see her trying different types of roles. The best thing about Deepika is that from film to film, you can see a visible improvement, which is a good sign.Next steps:
Barring a few, all her roles this year have been fairly loud characters so we'd advise Deepika to try and explore the art of more subtle acting.
6. Kareena Kapoor
Easily the most popular actresses today, Kareena Kapoor has quite an average year and continues to ride on the critical and commercial success of her older films like Kurbaan, 3 Idiots
and Jab We Met
. We won't give much space to Milenge Milenge
, which is a forgivable blunder since it was a delayed release. While her We are Family
flopped and didn't garner her much praise, Golmaal 3
was one of the biggest hits of the year, cementing Kareena's status as one of the few actresses who can act and maintain box office power.Next steps:
I think it's time that Kareena reminded us why she's considered one of the top actresses today. Her work in 2010 wasn't bad, but wasn't great either, and we know that she has the ability to go above and beyond. She needs to be more selfish as an actor, and forget about doing blas roles for the sake of box office success.
7. Anushka Sharma
Two years after Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
, Anushka Sharma has come back with a vengeance, out to prove that Rab Ne wasn't a fluke. Though she stumbled in Badmaash Company
, her performance in Band Baaja Baaraat
was a complete breath of fresh air. Borrowing from our very own Roshni Mulchandani's statement in the BollySpice podcast, FilmiTalkies, what's so great about Anushka is that she is unlike any of the other recent debuts (read: plastic dolls who cannot act), on-screen, she's a complete natural, which is extremely refreshing.Next steps:
Now that Anushka's three-film deal with Yash Raj Films is over, it's time for her to branch out and work with people who may be able to tap her talent in different ways. She can definitely act, but needs to do something drastically different to prove that she's versatile.
8. Sonakshi Sinha
Easily the most outstanding female debut of the year, Sonakshi Sinha captured hearts with her demure Rajjo in Dabangg
. With little screen time, Sonakshi proved that an actress can make a confident debut without shedding her clothes, and we applaud her for this. Despite a conventional character and not a lot of room to display her acting prowess, her screen presence was undeniable, and we hope that she continues to surprise us.Next steps:
At a time when the industry is in dire need of actresses that can pull of traditional roles, we hope that Sonakshi Sinha can fill these shoes. Of course, we'd like to see her do something completely different from Dabangg
's Rajjo, but we hope she doesn't fall into the trap of being blinded by box office success and forgetting about the "act" in "actress".
9. Katrina Kaif
What can we say about Katrina Kaif? She's every critic's punching bag and the audience's sweetheart. We've got to get over the fact that her acting skills are minimal, because a large section of the audience clearly loves to see her on-screen. However, we have to commend her for a solid effort inRaajneeti
, which showed glimpses of an actress who, with some work, could pull off roles other than a bimbo. Speaking of bimbo's, Katrina was back to her usual self in Tees Maar Khan
, where she had nothing to do but sizzle in the item number 'Sheila Ki Jawaani'. As expected, the masses adored her and her fan following alone has nabbed the number nine spot on this list, down a few from last year.Next steps:
I think we're all growing hoarse repeating this, but we still want to see Katrina act. And I don't mean shedding make up and playing a serious character, but really acting and sinking her teeth into a difficult role. Wishful thinking? I hope not.
10. Konkona Sen Sharma and Sonam Kapoor (tie)
They couldn't be more diametrically different, but these two actresses have both done decent work this year, though neither has really been particularly mindblowing. Dependable as always, Koko was completely natural in Atithi Kab Jaoge
, but we know that she is capable of so much more. Sonam Kapoor, on the other hand, tried desperately to make her mark with big-budget releases like Aisha
and I Hate Luv Storys
. She was slammed by critics in both, but audiences seem to be warming up to her.Next steps:
Though we're extremely happy to hear that Konkona is expecting her first child, we hope that her pregnancy doesn't keep her away from the silver screen for too long. Let's be honest, Sonam is still a work in progress. We'd like to see her shy away from the big-budget bonanzas that always cast her as a superficial young girl and move on to something more challenging.
The following are actresses who didn&'t quite make the cut but still left a mark in 2010:
Neha Dhupia: In Phas Gaya Re Obama Neha has proven for the umpteenth time that she deserves better roles, which is why we are sad to repeatedly see her in ten-second roles like the one in Action Replayy.
Kangana Ranaut: We can tell that Kangana tried to distance herself from the disturbed characters she's known for, but other than in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai where she was pitch perfect, she seemed out of place in her other releases of the year.
The trio of Love, Sex Aur Dhokha: All three actresses (Shruti, Arya Bannerjee and Neha Chauhan) were fantastic. Any flaws in their performances could have taken away from the realistic feel of the film, but all three were absolutely perfect.
Minnisha Lamba: It was nice to see Minnisha do something different in Well Done Abba, where she played a village belle to perfection.
Priyamani: With two powerhouse performances in Raavan and Rakht Charitra 2, we're glad to welcome Priyamani to the Hindi film industry and hope to see her in more lengthy roles in the future.
Amrita Puri and Ira Dubey of Aisha - These two were part of a supporting cast that was the saving grace of Aisha. Ira's act as Aisha's fiery sidekick was universally appreciated while Amrita was easily the scene-stealer of the movie.