For Bollywood, 2022 was a flop year. Despite having big budgets and ensemble star casts, the movies kept falling flat at the box office for all the wrong reasons. The roaring rise of the South cinema and the controversial #boycottbollywood culture made the situation even worse for already struggling Bollywood. With Hindi movies crashing constantly at the box office, audience`s inclination for regional movies and OTT have increased incredibly over the last few years. Some of the highly anticipated movies such as, Akshay Kumar’s ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, Ranbir Kapoor’s ‘Shamshera’, Aamir Khan’s ‘Laal Singh Chadha’, Ranveer Singh’s ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’, John Abraham’s ‘Attack’, Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘Anek’ and recently released, ‘An Action Hero’ etc. are the prime examples of how even superstars couldn`t save Bollywood`s sinking ship. While the biggest stars of Bollywood failed to woo their audiences with their on-screen magic, we saw actors stealing the spotlight with their brilliant acting in the OTT space. From Jitendra Kumar in `Panchayat 2` to Shefali Shah in `Delhi Crime 2`, let`s take a look at the best breakthrough performers of 2022, who took the OTT space by storm. 

Jitendra Kumar

The season 2 of the popular social comedy web series, `Panchayat`, saw Jitendra Kumar reprising his role of a village secretary called Abhishek Tripathi, a young man from Delhi, who hates his government job and feels stuck between petty yet crucial issues of people of Phulera, a small village in UP. Alongside Kumar, the second instalment of the popular web series also features ace actors like Raghubir Yadav and Neena Gupta. Although the plot of the story is somewhat similar to the first part, it is the actors, especially Jitendra, who brings a sense of newness to the story with his stellar performance. His on-screen chemistry with other key characters, like Vikas and Prahlad Cha (Chacha) is truly amazing. Be it engaging in a verbal tussle with the `banrakas` — Brij Bhushan Dubey or exchanging shy smiles with Pradhan`s daughter, Rinki, Jitendra`s character syncs smoothly and transits perfectly with each passing scene. Abhishek`s low-key humour, his innocence, his simplicity, his aspirations and his frustrations, Jitendra has captured every aspect of the character brilliantly. In short, Kumar`s portrayal of Sachiv ji is relatable and heartwarming, to say the least.

Shefali Shah 

After winning hearts as DCP Vartika Chaturvedi in the 1st season of Delhi Crime in 2019, a fictionalised retelling of the brutal 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder case, Shefali Shah came back with the sophomore season of the crime drama in 2022 and just like season 1, she stole the show with her strong screen presence. The story of season 2 showcases how the national capital is terrorised by a series of gruesome killings of senior citizens in posh neighbourhoods and how DCP Vartika Chaturvedi springs into action to hunt down the criminals. The gritty tale which stars Rasika Dugal, Rajesh Tailang, Gopal Datt and Auraag Arora along with Shefali, features Tillotama Shome as the surprise factor who plays a ruthless antagonist in the series. The binge-worthy series which focuses on the underlying injustices and deep-rooted inequalities of the society, Shefali as a powerful yet vulnerable police officer shines in every frame. According to us, this cop character of Shefali Shah`s is one of the finest written and brilliantly acted female characters of Indian cinema. Full marks to `Madam Sir`! 

Jim Sarbh 

Jim Sarbh who is best known for Bollywood movies like `Neerja`, `Padmaavat`, `Sanju`, `Gangubai Kathiawadi` to name a few, bowled over the OTT audience with his flawless on-screen portrayal of Dr. Homi Jehnagir Bhabha in biographical period drama, `Rocket Boys`. The intriguing drama which chronicles the extraordinary journey of two Indian legendary physicists, Dr. Homi Jehngir Bhabha and Dr. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai and how they pioneered space research and paved the way for nuclear development in India. The `Paatal Lok` actor, Ishwak Singh has brilliantly essayed the character of Dr. Vikram Amnbalal Sarabhai. The story honours and celebrates every lesser-known victories, failures and the efforts of the legendary scientists that went behind in the making of India`s biggest scientific dreams a reality. This engaging biographical drama delves deeper into the lives of Dr. Bhabha and Sarabhai and it keeps the viewers hooked till the end, thanks to the class apart story-telling and brilliant performances of the actors. Jim as Dr. Bhabha is flawless and fabulous. Right from Dr. Bhabha`s mannerism to his accent, Jim`s portrayal of the legendary scientist looks believable and authentic. A must-watch series if you are a fan of Jim`s acting prowess. 

Also Read: South Newsmakers 2022: SS Rajamouli, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Kamal Haasan and others

Amit Sial 

The actor who became a popular face of the Indian digital space after appearing on the popular crime series, `Mirzapur` as IPS Ram Sharan Maurya, took the OTT space by storm with his portrayal of a badass `Baahubali` in season 1 and 2 of the crime drama, `Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega`. The story which revolves around how the group of young men in Jamtara, Bihar run a lucrative phishing operation with the help of school kids features Amit Sial as a corrupt and a ruthless politician named Brajesh Bhan, who is hungry for power and can go to any extent to keep his dominance intact. Despite being the antagonist, Amit steals the spotlight with his impeccable acting performance every time he appears on the screen. Right from the dialogue delivery to mannerism, Amit has nailed every aspect of his villainous character. Apart from Sial, Dibyendu Bhattacharya as Inspector Biswa, Seema Pahwa as Ganga Devi and Ravi Chahar as Rinku Mondal deserve a special mention here. While the lead actors Sparsh Srivastava and Monika Panwar keep you on the edge, Amit as Brajesh Bhan sends a chill down your spine and manages to leave a long-lasting impression with his brilliant performance. 

Avinash Tiwary 

Avinash Tiwary who began his acting career in 2014 with the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer TV drama, `Yudh`, shot to stardom after his stint in the 2020 supernatural thriller, `Bulbbul`. Avinash who has appeared in Bollywood movies like `Tu Hai Mera Sunday` and `Laila Majnu` took everybody by surprise with his gangster avatar in Neeraj Pandey`s crime thriller, `Khakee: The Bihar Chapter`. The series is inspired by true events and it follows the story of brave IPS officer, Amit Lodha, played by Karan Tacker, who nabs a deadly Gangster called Chandan Mahto, essayed by Tiwary. Avinash as a havoc-wreaking gangster shines throughout the entire series. Despite having ace actors like Ashutosh Rana, Ravi Kishan, Abhimanyu Singh, Jatin Sarna and Vinay Pathak, Avinash`s antagonist character lingers on the viewer`s mind and leaves the audience spell-bound with his evil instincts. While it is Karan who takes most of the screen space with his good cop character, Tiwary somehow manages to steal the show and leaves in awe as Chandan Mahto. 

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