#BirthdaySpecial: May-born actors and their best performances

From Anushka Sharma and Vicky Kaushal, to Cillian Murphy and Sobhita Dhulipala, May is filled with birthdays of marvellous stars who’ve given us some of the best movies.

Harper's Bazaar India

As part of our continued series, #BirthdaySpecial, we celebrate the works of actors born this month. And that includes the dazzling diva Sobhita Dhulipala who was Bazaar India’s cover girl in September 2023. While we can’t stop raving about the Made In Heaven actor who was also recently seen in Monkey Man, celebrated actors such as Anushka Sharma, Vicky Kaushal, George Clooney, and Rami Malek, to name a few, make for a power-packed list of talents born this month. Take a look!

Anushka Sharma (May 1)

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008)

It was a dream debut for Sharma who shared screen space with King Khan, delivering quite a memorable performance. She played the role of Taani Sahni, a charming girl who is compelled to marry a simpleton played by Shah Rukh Khan. While Khan received all the praise for his ‘double role’, Sharma showed impressive emotional range in her acting going from a vivacious young girl to a more docile one, and finally becoming the confident woman who isn’t afraid to love and put her best foot forward, even on the dance floor. 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video and YouTube

Band Baaja Baaraat (2010)

While audiences thoroughly enjoyed her debut, it was this film, released two years later, that brought her into the limelight, making everyone realise just how good an actor she is. She plays the role of Shruti Kakkar, a wedding planner from New Delhi who is determined to enter the big league. Her portrayal of a street-smart, feisty woman was bang-on. Despite it only being her third film, Sharma displayed confidence and ease on camera that resonated with more accomplished actors. Add to that her adorable chemistry with co-star Ranveer Singh made the movie a memorable and light-hearted watch.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video and YouTube

Vicky Kaushal (May 16)

Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019)

This performance won the actor praise, accolades, awards, and the heart of every single Indian. It is based on the 2016 Uri attack, with Kaushal playing the role of Major Vihaan Singh Shergill. He embodied the emotions of patriotism, determination, and leadership perfectly, ensuring that the "josh" was always high as he led a covert mission for the nation. Safe to say, his performance and the film's success catapulted him into stardom that keeps growing day by day. 

Where to watch: Zee5

Sardar Udham (2021)

It’s never easy to play a historical character. But leave it to Vicky Kaushal to deliver an effortless, inarguably his career’s best performance as he essayed the role of Sardar Udham. The movie is based on the real-life story of the Indian revolutionary who assassinated Michael O’Dwyer, Punjab’s lieutenant governor, for his role in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Right from his physical transformation to his emotional range, the actor's attention to detail for and during filming is meticulous and marvellous. If you want to watch an actor perform a role with utmost dedication, Kaushal in this film is a must-watch. The scene where he heads to the site of the massacre minutes after the incident will show you just how great an actor he is.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Cillian Murphy (May 25)

28 Days Later (2002)

Directed by Danny Boyle, the movie made us fall in love with Murphy and his blue eyes in no time. It revolves around the life of Jim, a British bicycle courier person who wakes up 28 days after an apocalypse. On discovering that the world has been plagued by a virus that turns people into monsters, Jim is left fighting for his life and searching for refuge. Murphy as Jim delivers a no-nonsense performance going from a completely normal person to something much more dangerous. Looking to save himself, Murphy is far from the hero in this one, and that seems to work quite well for him. 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Oppenheimer (2023)

Having worked with Christopher Nolan five times before, Murphy finally got to play the lead for the acclaimed director. And he did not disappoint. He takes on the role of J Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb. While the movie is stunning in its visuals, and ensemble performances by Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, and Florence Pugh, it would be nothing without Murphy. The film is narrated across different timelines, showing Oppenheimer's romantic relationships, his early years in academia, and his time working on the Manhattan Project, showing just how complex this character is, which Murphy portrayed beautifully. Having aced the physical appearance of the scientist as well as his mental turmoil, audiences loved the film and his performance as they got to see who the man behind the atomic bomb really was. 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, JioCinema, ZEE5, YouTube

Sobhita Dhulipala (May 31) 

Ghost Stories (2020)

Post her debut in Raman Raghav 2.0, the actor teamed up with Anurag Kashyap in a short film that was part of Netflix’s horror anthology. Dhulipala delivers a spine-chilling performance as Neha, a pregnant and delusional woman who babysits her sister’s son but doesn’t want her to have a baby. Having suffered multiple miscarriages in the past, Neha has episodes of delusion and paranoia and often loses her grip on reality. While the film does well to raise the thrill quotient, it’s Dhulipala who elevates the narrative with a fine performance proving that she always packs a punch no matter the genre. 

Where to watch: Netflix

Kurup (2021)

This Malayalam crime thriller is based on the life of Sukumara Kurup, a notorious criminal from Kerala, who was also India’s longest-wanted fugitive. The film saw Dhulipala star alongside Dulquer Salmaan, who plays the lead character. Dhulipala plays Sharadamma, the daughter of Sukumara’s family’s old maid. Having essayed strong female characters in her career with confidence and grace, Kurup was another worthy addition to her filmography. It shows her weak side as she falls for a fugitive who is wanted by the entire country, while displaying remarkable strength to stand right by his side in the toughest of times. 

Where to watch: Netflix

In addition to these fantastic four, here's a look at other May-born actors and their movies. 

Lead image credits: Bazaar India cover shoot September 2023

Photographer: Nishanth Radhakrishnan (@nishanth.radhakrishnan)/ @featartists

Also read: Our cover star Sobhita Dhulipala talks about finding her feet, walking, and now sprinting to success