This year has indeed been revolutionary in many ways. Apart from the immense growth of the web platform, we witnessed some of the best content shelled out on the space by veterans of showbiz. From new entrants to sequels, some shows thrilled us with their tightly held narrative while some made us think about the socio-political status in parts of the country through an emotional tale. With key actors from Bollywood paving their way into the OTT world, the result has been bigger, better and mind-boggling!
Be it Dia Mirza's and Mohit Raina's heartwarming and emotional tale in Kaafir or decoding the complexities of relationships and weddings in extravagant and indulgent Made In Heaven, web series have made their mark and attained a strong foothold in the vast industry of entertainment.
As the year is coming to an end, let's take a look at some of the best web series that were belted out over twelve months.
Made In Heaven
Directed by an all-female brigade, Nitya Mehra, Zoya Akhtar, Prashant Nair, Alankrita Shrivastava's Made In Heaven is tender, colouful, grim, joyous, painful and all things amazing! Starring Arjun Mathur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Jim Sarbh, Kalki Koechlin, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Shashank Arora and Vinay Pathak in important roles, the show focuses on the glitz and glamour behind big fat Indian weddings that have an underlying intention apart from the love between the couple. The lead cast, Sobhita and Arjun are etched well and own their stand in the show right from the first frame. Sobhita as an unhappily married woman whose husband ditches her for her own friend is unique and subtle. With her middle-class background haunting her throughout, the character stands out relatable - the quest to fit in a world that is not yours. Arjun essays the character of a gay man in a society that is still not ready to accept his identity. His character, unlike Bollywood films, isn’t stereotyped and close to the real struggles. What shines through are the complexities of the human emotion with the contrasting backdrop of weddings!
Written and directed by Richie Mehta, Delhi Crime has been one of the best shows on digital platforms. Straight-forward, clean and crisp, starring Shefali Shah, Rasika Dugal, Adil Hussain, and Rajesh Tailang are seen in well-sketched characters in a gut-wrenching crime drama of the year that is superbly directed. Loosely based on the heinous and gruesome Nirbhaya rape and murder case in 2012 in Delhi, this Shefali Shah led show is nothing but pure gold and holds true to its facts, keeping the baggage aside. Neither showcasing any side wrong or right, the makers have tackled a complex story with efficiency and does the wonders. It's sensitive yet sharp and needs every Indian’s attention.
First things first, the black and white template of Kota Factory is simply magical and adds to the feel. Starring Jitendra Kumar, Mayur More, Ahsaas Channa, and others, this Raghav Subbu directorial is a gem of a web show. Taking us on a journey where students appearing for competitive exams are torn between career and life, Kota Factory neither demeans the educational system nor supports it. A throughout optimistic show, the makers focus on finding the right solution instead of crying over the problems. Highlighting the need for good teachers and an unconditional bond they need to share with students, an important message is put across in an entertaining way. Not dramatic in their approach, the makers have played their masterstroke right there. Earnest and sincere, Kota Factory, is definitely to watch out for.
Criminal Justice starring Pankaj Tripathi, Vikrant Massey, Jackie Shroff, Anupriya Goenka, and Mita Vashisht is adapted by Peter Moffat’s version of the same name. Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia and Vishal Furia, the show is a classic example of less is more. In a premise that isn’t loaded with too much unnecessary content, Criminal Justice brings out the best from all actors. With the tale revolving around Aditya, a cab driver who has a one-night stand with his passenger, lands into troubled waters when she is found dead the next morning, the show is grippy and thrilling, leaving one in suspicion regarding the mystery behind the murder. The makers take the audience along with them on an edge-of-the-seat ride with honesty and clean content that is worth spending time on.
Director Sudhir Mishra stepped into the digital world with a thriller titled Hostages. Headlined by stellar actors Ronit Roy and Tisca Chopra, the show is an ideal example of a sharp, crisp and engaging content. Hostages, wherein a dutiful doctor is torn between her work and family’s safety when kidnappers take her kin into their custody, is interesting and makes for a good watch. Adding to the substance, the makers have incorporated suspense related to Ronit’s purpose behind turning into a kidnapper from an honest cop. With Parvin Dabas, Aashim Gulati, Surya Sharma and Mohan Kapoor in pivotal roles, this ten-part series maintains an equilibrium on all fronts and is worth binge-watching.
A visually breathtaking show with an equally deep and emotional tale. Kaafir starring Dia Mirza and Mohit Raina gives a mirror reflection of the unlikely troubles that are persisting in the region of Jammu & Kashmir. Dia, who plays the role of a Pakistani girl who crosses the border and is accused of being a militant. Mohit, as a journalist, unravels the truth and makes us discover a beautiful and simple tale of a mother-daughter duo. Kaafir injects hope, goodwill and a sense of peace amidst the heated political scenario. In an organic way, the web series directed by Sonam Nair and written by Bhavini Iyer isn’t just endearing but relevant too.
Sacred Games 2
The dark and enthralling second season of Sacred Games directed by Anurag Kashyap, Neeraj Ghaywan and Vikramaditya Motwane arrived in August this year and took the digital world by storm. Apart from a riveting tale of crime and much more, Sacred Games 2 achieved cult status for performances by the lead actors, namely, Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kalki Koechlin, Pankaj Tripathi and Surveen Chawla. From racy, raunchy to street-smart, Sacred Games 2 took us on an edge-of-the-seat journey and left us wanting for more post the climax. However, it fell short of the comparisons and brilliance to its' previous season, but nonetheless, SG2 didn't lose its fans!
Mission Over Mars
Led by four strong actresses, Mission Over Mars is a classic example of edutainment. With Sakshi Tanwar, Mona Singh, Nidhi Singh and Palomi Ghosh playing the role of space scientists, the makers gave us a gift in the form of their wonderful performances. Every character, be Sakshi’s helicopter mother and a headstrong scientist Nandita Hariprasad or Mona’s elegant Moushumi Ghosh who has been through a troubled marriage, shone brightly with equal space and justice. Though Mission Over Mars came right after Akshay Kumar-Vidya Balan starrer Mission Mangal released, the team behind the web series ensured that it doesn’t get overshadowed by the theatrical representation of the same topic. Upping the drama a bit, a dash of patriotism did wonders. Mission Over Mars surely held its ground strong and we surely root for it.
The Family Man
When it comes to Manoj Bajpayee, we all know that the project will be nothing short of amazing. For The Family Man, the ace actor teamed up with the lethal duo Raj & DK and delivered a show that is both thrilling and humorous. As an officer of a highly secretive special cell of the National Intelligence Agency, Bajpayee as Srikant Tiwari and Sharib Hashmi is class apart. Joining him in the acting department is Priyamani who nails her act as Manoj’s wife. Coming to the narrative, it is sharp and crisp with dashes of humour when Manoj dodges between his family duties while being on his spy task. The Family Man is fun, slick and all things engaging. Kudos to Raj & DK for shelling out content that utilizes the best of the actors in an easy and rightful manner.
The Verdict: State V/S Nanavati
ALT Balaji’s and ZEE5’s The Verdict: State V/S Nanavati is a worthy addition to the narratives based on K. M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra that took place in 1959. Starring stellar and a fresh cast including Angad Bedi, Sumeet Vyas, Elli AvrRam, Makrand Deshpande, Kubbra Sait, Viraf Patel and Manav Kaul in the central roles, the web show is intriguing despite we all knowing what the conclusion was. In terms of storytelling, it was crisp and engaging filled with loads of information that were missed out previously in other films/shows based on a similar subject. A rather glamorous but not glossy show, The Verdict was subtle on the drama. Neither preachy nor manipulative, The Verdict accounted for a good watch on the digital platform.
Broken But Beautiful Season 2
Not broken but surely beautiful and that’s how Broken But Beautiful Season 2 is. Honest, clean and heart touching, Harsh Dedhia treats his show with utmost loyalty. With the support of a stellar and a fresh pairing of Vikrant Massey and Harleen Sethi who were a part of the previous season too, the storyline focuses on the redemption of love and realization. The actors including the original ones- Harleen and Vikrant with new introductions like Jitin Gulati, Anuja Joshi, and Gaurav Arora have done a great job at emoting and are real in every frame. Apart from an engaging screenplay, the melodious songs are the highlight of the show and do absolute justice in taking the story forward. Broken But Beautiful 2 is worth binge-watching and has loads of heart-warming moments too.
Endearing, light-hearted and a paw-some slice of life show, Cheesecake is a breath of fresh air amidst serious content on the webspace. Starring Akanksha Thakur and Jitendra Kumar, the Palash Vaswani directorial is lovable. Being the hero of Cheesecake, the Golden Retriever has all our hearts and makes up for an average execution. Sweet and dense, Cheesecake, the name of the dog who is responsible for bringing two lovers close will surely lighten up your day and serves as the much-needed weekend refreshment. In short, Cheesecake is a good slice of life show that will bring a smile on your face.
Inside Edge 2
Darker and murkier than before, Inside Edge 2 created by Karan Anshuman is nothing but glamourous and a great watch. Striking a balance between politics and the unseen niche area in the cricketing world, this Ritesh Sidhwani-Farhan Akhtar produced web show is an organic one at bringing out a thrilling tale. Starring Vivek Oberoi, Richa Chada, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Tanuj Virwani, Angad Bedi, Sayani Gupta, Sapna Pabbi, Aamir Bashir and many others, Inside Edge 2 is a riveting watch for cricket enthusiasts. Inside Edge 2, in short, is a well-sketched show where every character is a revelation in itself. The makers neither preach nor showcased the game in a bad light but yes, the grey loopholes are surely shown without causing any harm or defamation.
Gautham Menon, Prasath Murugesan with Queen have done a commendable job. Considering the web show being based on late Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa, the game could be dicey but it was handled in the most dignified way with the lead actresses being an epitome of grace, elegance, and strength, just like the beloved Thalaivi. In Queen, Anikha Surendran plays the role of young Shakti Sheshadri while Ramya Krishnan steps into the show a while later in the character of a politician. The actresses are absolutely brilliant in their own respective manners. Compelling and captivating, Queen is a classy show with loads of heart and love for late J Jayalalithaa who transformed the map of Tamil Nadu politics. Queen is a clean show blended with gallons of emotions and doesn’t take the liberty of the OTT platform to show things that account for nothing.
Netflix’s horror show Typewriter, directed by Sujoy Ghosh, was a valuable addition to the genre and did a great job at thrilling the audience with a riveting tale. Starring Purab Kohli, Palomi Ghosh, and Sameer Kochhar, the show was indeed unique in its approach and had enough jump scares to keep the light on the whole night. With an ancient world charm, the set up adds to the spook and scare-fest, leaving us wanting for more. Fans of horror content would absolutely love to go on his haunted ride that unravels the hidden secrets of Sultanpore and sudden mysterious deaths.
Tripling starring Sumeet Vyas, Maanvi Gagroo and Amol Parashar holds special importance in the hearts of digital content watchers. Simple yet effective, this tale of three siblings Chandan, Chanchal and Chitvan who set out for a journey to discover the depth of relationships, makes an impact with its realistic approach. Directed by Sameer Saxena, Tripling is an easy watch that will bring a smile on your face.
Little Things 3
With Little Things 3, the makers have progressed further to show how much a couple matures in a relationship together. Starring Mithila Palkar and Dhruv Sehgal, the show is light-hearted, easy on eyes and simply effective. Without unnecessary drama or over the top acting, Little Things 3 conveys its purpose well and makes for an interesting and fun watch on the weekend.
The Office 1 and 2
Directed by Rohan Sippy and Debbi Rao, The Office is an adaption of the British series of the same name. Starring Mukul Chaddha, Gopal Dutt, Sayandeep Sengupta, Samridhi Dewan, and Gauahar Khan, The Office Season 1 and 2 are extremely relatable to every office goer of all age groups. Funny and engaging, the web show captures the essence of job-related issues well and keeps the audience glued on to the screen.
Elevating the thrill and making the game even more sensuous, Ravi Dubey’s, Nia Sharma’s and Achint Kaur’s Jamai 2.0 is all things hot. A sequel to the television show Jamai Raja, the makers have taken it to the webspace to incorporate a tight, revengeful and bolder storyline. An eclectic mix of love, revenge, drama, thrill, suspense, and danger, Jamai 2.0 is a good break from the regular television content.
Kehne Ko Humsafar Hai 2
Love takes a different turn in Kehne Ko Humsafar Hai 2 as Ananya, played by Mona Singh begins suspecting Rohit aka Ronit Roy’s loyalty towards her, just like his previous relationship with his ex-wife Poonam that is Gurdip Kohli Punjj. Escalating family dramas to a new level with a modern touch, directors Anil V Kumar and Kapil Sharma put forth a great story where the women aren’t weak. Holding the grip to the narrative in the second season, a subplot tells the tale of Rohit’s and Poonam’s daughter Bani’s troubled love life which is like a breath of fresh air. Parth Samthaan in a cameo has performed well and takes the story ahead in a positive and refreshing manner. In short, Kehne Ko Humsafar Hai has given a new dimension to daily family dramas and is every bit worthy.
Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat 3
Television’s beloved duo Sakshi Tanwar and Ram Kapoor collaborated for a lovely show titled Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat. Starring as Karan Khanna and Dr. Tripurasundari Nagrajan, Ram and Sakshi cast their magic on the digital platform effortlessly and leave us in awe of them right from the first frame to the last. From season 1 to 3, the makers have incorporated a leap that witnesses a lackluster in the lead actors’ romance. With a touch of the MeToo movement, Ram is a ruthless womanizer and an alcoholic while Sakshi plays the victim who is stuck between her past and a pleasant future. In addition to the cast are Hiten Tejwani and Karishma Tanna. With loads of drama and some of Tv's finest actors cast, Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat is engaging.
Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala
Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala marks the digital debut of Divyanka Tripathi. The story directed by Pradeep Sarkar revolves around estranged lovers who move on in life with their respective careers, just to bump into each other at a later stage. Divyanka plays the role of a modern, hot-headed woman while Rajeev is Vikram, a Michelin star chef under whom the former works at a plush restaurant. Amidst all things glamourous and colourful, the makers don’t comprise on the quality of content they’ve served. Delectable and enjoyable, this Coldd Lassi and Chicken Masala is worth savouring.