• Tuesday, April 23, 2024


The best of 2023

Eastern Eye celebrated the many creative moments of 2023 with the annual Eye Spy awards which include extra points for impact

By: Eastern Eye

AN ACTION-PACKED year saw everything from stunning live performances to delightful drama serials, marvellous music and fabulous films. There was also perfectly pitched comedy, new talent, path-breaking projects and plenty of entertainment.

Eastern Eye celebrated the many creative moments of 2023 with the annual Eye Spy awards which include extra points for impact.

Best Film – Jawan: There were more artistic movies than Jawan, but none as entertaining. The action-drama had thrilling stunts, good old-fashioned escapism, and a lead star back at the top of his game. Shah Rukh Khan followed up his heroics in the blockbuster success Pathaan with an even bigger hit, which saw him deliver a dynamite double role of a father and son. A film filled with great moments showed what largerthan-life Indian cinema can do when it all clicks into place.

Best Actor (Film) – Ranbir Kapoor: The main reason why Animal became one of this year’s biggest blockbusters was a fierce actor at the very top of his game. The revelatory performance saw the popular star go through a remarkable transformation and exude raw power on the big screen. His magnetic presence made people forget the more than three-hour running time and the lack of a creditable storyline.


Best Actress (Film) – Tabu: The actress delivered a gripping performance in the espionage thriller Khufiya. It is no surprise that director Vishal Bhardwaj turned the male protagonist into a female one in his film based on Amar Bhushan’s novel Escape to Nowhere and cast Tabu. She added gravitas to a multi-layered character of a tough spy and caring mother who’s also burdened by her painful past.

Best TV Series – Tere Bin: This was the television series that everyone talked about throughout the year. The romantic drama swept across the world like wildfire, largely thanks to the sizzling hot chemistry of its two leads, Wahaj Ali and Yumna Zaidi. From the writing to the performances, every aspect of the massively popular series was praised. It not only broke multiple records, but also led to a forthcoming second series.

Best Actor (TV) – Wahaj Ali: The Pakistani actor had a dream year filled with a variety of performances in diverse serials. The standout turn was a lead role in romantic drama Tere Bin, which gained popularity worldwide and was universally praised. The heartbeat of the story was the chemistry he shared with co-star Yumna Zaidi. This was one of many projects that confirmed Ali as this year’s top Pakistani male TV talent.

Best Actress (TV) – Rupali Ganguly: The hit serial Anupamaa powered past 1,100 episodes, largely thanks to the terrific title role played by the acclaimed actress. Her relatable role once again connected with audiences and carried on being a ratings winner. The 46-yearold actress proved quite comprehensively that an older leading lady could carry a drama on her shoulders with her multi-layered performance.

Best Web Series – Jubilee: The period Indian drama premiered on Amazon Prime to great acclaim and offered something genuinely unique. Set in preindependence India, the series transported audiences back to the film studio system, where a new cinema industry was being born. What made the story especially fascinating was that the various characters were based on real life movie icons and incidents. It was accompanied by good music and solid acting, and provided a window into a bygone era.

Best Actress (Web) –  Maitreyi Ramakrishnan: The American comedydrama, Never Have I Ever, came to an end after four successful seasons. The biggest part of that global acclaim was a winning lead performance from the young Canadian actress. She skilfully combined comedy with emotion in a performance that connected strongly with all ages and was a standout in a strong cast of characters in the Netflix hit.

Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Jawan’

Best Actor (Web) – Barun Sobti (Kohrra): The popular Indian TV star has had a prominent presence in web serials all year and showed off his range as an actor. His standout performance came in the Netflix crime drama set in the hinterland of Punjab. He displayed a brooding intensity as the police officer caught in the crossfire of a complex murder investigation in Kohrra, and his magnetic presence was evident throughout the series.

Best Theatre – Life Of Pi: The stage adaptation of Yann Martel’s book remained unstoppable in 2023. The play followed a successful run in London’s West End, by opening on Broadway in New York to great acclaim and winning three Tony awards. The story of a young man stuck on a life raft with a hungry tiger then embarked on a national UK tour and entertained audiences with its inventive storytelling, beautiful staging and great performances.

Best Album – Love In Exile by Arooj Aftab and Vijay Iyer: There were many great musical collaborations throughout the year across diverse music genres. A standout one saw Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab team up with Indian American pianist Vijay Iyer for an album that received universal acclaim. The two New Yorkbased artists created songs that were recorded live and released with minimal editing, which connected with a wide cross-section of audiences. Their amazing artistry was rewarded with a Grammy nomination for best alternative jazz album.

Best Song – Hass Hass by Diljit Dosanjh and Sia: Punjabi sensation Diljit Dosanjh had a prolific year with fabulous songs and huge collaborations. This pathbreaking track with top international talent Sia bridged the gap between cultures, and its uniqueness will no doubt inspire similar crossovers.

Best Live concert – Asees Kaur: A strong year for live south Asian music in the UK saw everyone, from British talent to major international names, stage concerts. The award-winning playback singer made a winning UK debut tour with a multi-layered show. She performed everything – from her own hits to pop songs as well as Bollywood classics – on an actionpacked set, staying on stage for around three hours, without even an interval.

Best Singer – Shreya Ghoshal: Whether it was delivering hit songs in diverse languages, performing live in packed-out stadiums, or judging Indian Idol 14, the undisputed queen of Indian music once again ruled hearts worldwide. She also remained one of the most fan-friendly celebrities on the planet and a powerful role model for all those following in her giant footsteps. Her accolades this year included a fifth National Award.

Best music producer – AR Rahman: The music maestro once again mixed up winning soundtracks in diverse languages with stunning scores for films. He stood apart from other music producers with his songs that combined amazing artistry with commercial appeal. He brought out the best in his singers and added an extra dimension to the movies with his music scores.

Ranbir Kapoor in ‘Animal’

Best Comedian – Ahir Shah: This was a stunning year for British Asian stand-up comedians, with more talent on the live circuit than ever before. Ahir Shah stood out with his history-making best show win at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe. His live show Ends touched on diverse subjects, including the immigrant experience of first-generation Asians. His widely acclaimed performance mixed up laughter, emotion, history, life lessons and moments that connected across generations.

Best Documentary – The Taste of Mango: The debut documentary from British Sri Lankan Chloe Abrahams delighted audiences at international film festivals. The story spanning three generations, from London to Sri Lanka, unpeeled the layers of family history and past pains. The poetically meditative movie won a well-deserved audience award at the London Film Festival.

Best content creator – Simran Balar Jain: By tackling taboo topics and having those uncomfortable conversations, Simran Balar Jain broke many social stigmas and provided important information on topics like sexual health that wasn’t available on a public platform for a south Asian audience. The fearless online star has done all this in an accessible way, which makes her perhaps the most important and unique content creator of this generation.

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