I’ve decided I get to make up my own rules for this category. It’s not an actress whose first movie was this year (although there are some of those), it could also be an actress who had been around for a while but finally got noticed this year. And as always, I will make my nominations just to get the ball rolling, but you can write in your own votes too.
Went from no one who’d been in a bunch of movies in a bunch of languages and never made a mark, to a sensation based on one hit song. Which rapidly turned into many more hit songs, and now a lead role in Varun Dhawan’s next film.
Arguably, her break out year could have been any of the past few years. But in 2018, she had the lead in a mainstream film, Pad Man, plus Sacred Games, plus her other Netflix series, plus Lust Stories, plus Andhadhun. She went from a cult favorite, to a household name, incremental step by incremental step.
Rakul Preet Singh
Again, around for a long time in non-Hindi cinema. But 2018 was the year she got her lead role in Aiyaary, plus signed the major films De De Pyaar De and Marjaavaan for next year.
Again, around for a very long time. But working in smaller films, and Luv Ranjan comedies that the young people like and no one else watches. It wasn’t until the unexpected success of Sonu Ki Titu Ke Sweety that the mainstream Hindi industry sat up and took notice. Now she is signed for Hansal Mehta’s next parallel cinema hit, and Ayushmann Khurrana’s next sleeper hit comedy.
Arguably, MS Dhoni was her breakthrough. Or, dating Tiger Shroff. But Bhaaghi 2 was the big box office hit she starred in, really starred, not sharing credit with another actress like in Dhoni. And now she is signed for Bharat.
She’s been around for ages, working in Telugu films, then had Pink, and my beloved Running Shaadi. But this year she had 3 major Hindi releases and one minor (Dil Junglee), plus a Telugu film. After Soorma, Mulk, and Manmarziyaan, she is definitely arrived in the Hindi industry, an actress to be considered for major roles.
Far more famous for her personal life than her films. But that doesn’t necessarily mean she isn’t breaking through, she already has another major film signed, and everyone certainly knows who she is.
Her Netflix series Little Things released, and she handily stole Karwaan from Dulquer Salmaan. After making youtube videos, working backstage for theater companies, and generally struggling, she has broken through to being a working actress.
Such an interesting year! Pataakha with Anurag Kashyap that was barely noticed, and Badhai Ho, the sleeper hit comedy. She made her mark as more than just the Dangal younger sister, and she made very good choices. A small good role in a very good film, and a large role in an unusual film with a powerful talented director. Next year she’s got a film with Nawazuddin directed by the Lunchbox director. Definitely making interesting choices.
Again, she’s been around for a long time. But her performance in Zero, rescuing Bharat, and being so much warmer and more open in her interviews has me (and others) looking at her in a whole new light. Plus she ducked most of the Thugs disaster, if anything came out of it with people saying “Poor Katrina, stuck in this terrible role in this terrible movie”.
Sara Ali Khan
Best for last! Or, maybe not, you can vote for whoever you want. Sara waited almost until the end, and then landed with a 1-2-3 bang! First a spectacular Koffee debut along with other similar interviews, then Kedarnath which showed her effervescent romance heroine abilities, and then Simmba, a hit movie showing how she can support the hero.
So, what do you think? Which actress had the biggest leap this year?