Is it a coincidence or something more vital? This year our leading men are being showcased in roles that do them full justice.

Whatever the outcome at the boxoffice , the films released so far in 2024 have spawned some remarkably intense performers. Both Ajay Devgan and Kartik Aaryan have given their whole and soul to portraying real-life heroes in Maidaan and Chandu Champion.

Devgan as a football coach battling cancer and bigotry shunned any kind of maudlinism and excessive melodrama to give his most retrained performance since Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Hum….Dil De Chuke Sanam.

Kartik Aaryan pulled out all stops to play a sports champ who just won’t give up. From looking convincing in a wrestling akhaada to giving his all in the boxing ring, to imbuing the passion of a physically disabled swimmer…Kartik , like Devgan , deserves the National award for his skilful portrayal.

Madhavan was red hot evil in Shaitaan and what a wicked performance! This is one of the most compelling portrayals of villainy seen in recent times.

On the opposite end of the moral compass was Rajkumar Rao’s portrayal of the visually impaired stubborn entrepreneur in Srikanth. A breezy genial take on the underdog’s victory, the film proved Rao to be one of our most dependable actors.

Diljit Dosanjh as Amar Singh Chamkila was somewhat problematic in the early parts of the film.He seemed to be struggling to understand why Chamkila sang the way he did. But eventually he got a grip over the character and emerged with a persuasive if somewhat muddled character study.

And finally , Lakshya in Kill. Whatever the fate of the film, we cannot fault the actor for his precision, skill and intensity in doing his skills.Kill may have underperformed . But Lakshya is here to stay.

So many actors giving off their best in the first six months of 2024, can only mean one thing: we are never short of talent.