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BizAsia 2020 Reflections: 10 most memorable on-screen partnerships

It has to be said that 2020 has been the most unusual year for everyone, ever. With a global pandemic having put a hold on a lot of major projects this year, film makers had to get creative with how they would carry out their ideas with very limited resources. However, with the cinema’s being closed, and online streaming platforms being the only way audiences could watch the latest releases, moving-image story-tellers quickly became aware that this way of showing their work gave them a lot more room to show their creativity. Moving away from the typical romantic dramas, 2020 has also been one of the most outstanding years for conventional on-screen pairings. has picked out the 10 most interesting on-screen partnerships this year has brought. 

Deepika Padukone & Vikrant Massey – ‘Chhapaak’  
True story based films will always be a fan favourite for film-goers, and when Padukone revealed her first look as Malti – a girl who had been a victim of a horrendous acid attack – it intrigued the audiences even more. Though it was obvious from the trailer this wasn’t an out-and-out love story, Padukone and Vikrant Massey, who played Amol, were wonderful to watch. Seeing Malti being cared for and supported by Amol after her ordeal only made the audiences fall in love with him more than anything. Depicting the complexities of such a relationship, Padukone and Massey’s chemistry was heart-warming and sincere.

Ayushmann Khurrana & Jitendra Kumar – ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’
The Indian Film industry has come a long way when it comes to portraying the LGBTQ+ community. And though some may argue there is still a lot of awareness to be made within the industry, ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ definitely proves they are on the right track. Despite being a comedy, Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar as Kartik and Aman are just brilliant together. Complimenting each other’s comical timing as well as reflecting the true nature of what it’s like to be in a same-gendered relationship facing Indian culture, they instantly win the hearts of their audiences. Though some may argue against portraying such a relationship in a comedy as being far away from showing what it’s really like, both lead actors performed their roles sensitively, where their viewers were able to relate to them both regardless of the type of relationship they prefer.

Taapsee Pannu & Pavail Gulati – ‘Thappad’
‘Thappad’ was a film that had hit home hard for many. Challenging the way women are trained to endure everything for the sake of their marriage, it was evident director Anubhav Sinha wanted to make a statement, where Taapsee Pannu and Pavail Gulati were the perfect pairing. Being forced to show immense and intense emotion, both actors did a fantastic job in depicting an uncomfortable situation where it was difficult for the viewer to imagine what they would do in real life if they were in the same situation. The relationship between Amrita and Vikram was very complex, which Pannu and Gulati were able to pull off effortlessly. Together they made the perfect imperfect couple, and their perspectives were shown in a very interesting light.

Ayushmann Khurrana & Amitabh Bachchan – ‘Gulabo Sitabo’
When news of Amitabh Bachchan and Khurrana coming together on-screen became known, everyone would have known they were going to be in for a treat. Released on Amazon Prime, Juhi Chaturvedi scripted ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ brought these two wonderful actors together perfectly. Playing landlord and tenant Mirza and Baankey, Bachchan and Khurrana created magic and were simply a joy to watch. Their quick quips and witty arguments between each other gave their viewers a lot to laugh about and it was easy to see they worked as great co-stars to each other.

Sushant Singh Rajput & Sanjana Sanghi – ‘Dil Bechara’
The sudden passing of Sushant Singh Rajput only added to the eagerness for the release of his final film, ‘Dil Bechara’. Being the adaptation of the book ‘A Fault In Our Stars’ (2012) and the 2014 Hollywood film based on it, Singh Rajput and newcomer Sanjana Sanghi were a good pairing for a film of this nature. Singh Rajput was as charming as he always has been, which only intensified the bitter-sweetness of watching this film – especially as his character passes away. With the audience falling in love with Manny (Singh) in the same way that Kizie (Sanghi) does, it only made the pairing all the more endearing. Despite the film receiving criticism, there’s no doubt in saying the viewers still root for them as a couple as they go through a troubled and intense journey and one in which everyone wants both to live happily ever after together.

Shreya Chaudhry & Ritwik Bhowmik – ‘Bandish Bandits’
Though there were some excellent films to release on the online streaming world, 2020 was also the best time for series makers to release their projects. 8-10 episode shows quickly became just as big as the movies. The characters of Radhe (Ritwik Bhowmik) and Tamanna (Shreya Chaudhry) were a complete contrast to one another in Amazon Prime’s ‘Bandish Bandits’. So doing this project as a series worked perfectly for the audiences to understand and experience their relationship grow and develop. Watching this pair on screen as each episode went on was exciting and definitely kept the viewers quick to press the ‘next episode’ button as soon as an episode was complete. Chaudhry was feisty, confident and bold which became complimentary to Bhowmik’s calm, innocent and intuitive nature, which sparked fireworks every time they were together on-screen.

Janhvi Kapoor & Pankaj Tripathi – ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’
Another almost guaranteed hit idea is a film depicting a patriotic India. However, ‘Gunjan Saxena: the Kargil Girl’ was also one that represented the success of a woman in a man’s world, going against everything that was the norm and proving that women are just as capable as men. However, what made this film all the more heartfelt was the father-daughter relationship between the lead played by Janhvi Kapoor and her doting father Colonel Anup Saxena, played by Pankaj Tripathi. Despite her world telling her she can’t live her dream as an Indian Air Force pilot, it’s Gunjan’s father who gives her the courage and strength to fight against the norm and achieve her dream, Kapoor and Tripathi are wonderful as father and daughter and the viewer becomes totally invested in their relationship. The moments they share are very memorable.

Bhumi Pednekar & Konkona Sensharma – ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’
As films based on female relationships become more interesting, ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ has to be one of the most thought-provoking of this year. Here was another story told through the eyes of confident and bold women who wanted to break the barriers of social norms for women. Playing sisters Dolly and Kitty, Sensharma and Pednekar were as strong as each other, reflecting what real sisterhood looks like in a world that isn’t designed for them. Both a joy to watch, as the film went on, it was their time together audiences found themselves most excited to watch. Challenging relationships and ideologies that are different for men and women, Pednekar and Sensharma brought out a part of what feminism is really about.

Rajkummar Rao & Fatima Sana Shaikh – ‘Ludo’
Despite a number of great watches having been released on Netflix by the time Anurag Basu let the world experience ‘Ludo’, there was still huge anticipation with this ensemble cast. Already having the reputation of a great story-teller, Basu, yet again, did a fantastic job in piecing out his characters carefully. Rao and Shaikh who played Kabir and Aarushi worked fantastically. With the film being a whole series of comical moments that were meant to be serious, these are two actors who pulled their roles off perfectly. Portraying unrequited love, and the lengths one goes to in order to win the heart of his crush, could not have been done by any other pairing. They were funny, intriguing and exciting as an on-screen pair, making viewers only want to see more and more of them.

Prajakta Koli & Rohit Saraf – ‘Mismatched’
Another hit series to add to the list has to be Netflix’s ‘Mismatched’’ with Prajakta Koli and Rohit Saraf playing Dimple and Rishi. Though a simple story of boy-meets-girl, both actors are perfectly cast, where it’s difficult to imagine anyone else playing their roles. Koli and Saraf together are delightful, sparking joy with all those who watch them. With the series enabling them to develop their characters and their relationship, Koli and Saraf share a great on-screen presence, where they are both as good as each other and are effortless in portraying a relatable love story.

With 2020 being such a memorable year, it’s fair to say the world has a lot to thank for moving image makers. With interesting storylines, wonderful acting skills and thought-provoking subjects, it only adds to the excitement of what 2021 will bring.