Best Indian web shows to binge watch Special Ops
FROM COMEDY AND ROMANCE TO ACTION, DRAMA AND DYSTOPIA, A RUNDOWN OF THE TOP 20 SERIALS
by ASJAD NAZIR
THE days of India only producing drama serials with hundreds of episodes revolving around family politics are gone.
The emergence of streaming sites has resulted in the widest ever selection of serials with a finite number of manageable episodes in diverse genres, which appeal to a wide cross-section of audiences.
With that in mind, Eastern Eye went through streaming sites to do a rundown of the top 20 contemporary binge-worthy serials to watch during the coronavirus self-isolation period.
20. Bose: Dead/Alive: Popular Bollywood actor Rajkummar Rao plays the lead role in the historical ALTBalaji nine episode series, which is based on the book India’s Biggest Cover-up. The story revolves around divisive figure Subhas Chandra Bose and offers interesting facts about his extraordinary life.
19. Side Hero: The eight-episode Eros Now show mixes reality and fictional narrative as actor Kunaal Roy Kapur plays a satirised version of himself, as a man struggling to move from side hero to a fullfledged
star. The comedy-satire goes into the heart of Bollywood and has a strong supporting cast, along with a host of interesting cameos.
18. Criminal Justice: The 10-episode series available on Hotstar is based on the BBC drama series of the same name and revolves around a cab driver who wakes up after a one-night stand with the dead body of a woman. He teams up with a lawyer to prove his innocence and discover what really happened on the fateful night.
17. Breathe: Amazon Prime’s second original series premiered in January 2018 and made an immediate impact. Popular cinema star R Madhavan plays the lead role in a story that combines crime, drama and emotion. The eight-episode series sees him portray a man who will do whatever it takes to save his son, including murdering innocent people, but then accidentally stumbles on a bigger conspiracy and
must clash with a police officer who is battling his own demons.
16. Ghoul: The three-episode Netflix original is perfectly suited for horror fans. Acclaimed actress Radhika Apte plays the lead role in the dystopian drama of a military officer, who must contend with a terror suspect with a ghoulish supernatural secret that puts everyone in danger.
15. Hasmukh: The black-comedy recently premiered on Netflix and already has been talked about for the unique subject matter. Vir Das plays a timid man dreaming of being a stand-up comedian, who unexpectedly finds murdering someone brings out his inner talent and leads to him becoming a serial killer. Ranvir Shorey also stars in the dark-drama that finds laughs where you least expect it.
14. Pushpavalli: There have been two series and 16 episodes of the Amazon Prime comedy-drama, with the second season premiering in March 2020. Stand-up comedian Sumukhi Suresh created the series and plays the lead role in the story of a woman’s obsession with a man she loves, which slowly spirals out of control. The show has been complimented for its edgy and dark humour.
13. Never Kiss Your Best Friend: The 10-episode adaptation of a best-selling book is a ZEE5 serial shot at various locations across London and stars popular small screen star Nakuul Mehta. The story set across two different time periods revolves around two best friends and life challenges that affect the strong bond they have.
12. Inside Edge: The first original Indian series produced by Amazon Prime revolves around a cricket franchise and the politics of power that go on behind the scenes. There have been two seasons of 10 episodes each and a third instalment is on the way. It was nominated for Best Drama Series at the 46th International Emmy Awards.
11. Rangbaaz: There have been two stand-alone series of the ZEE5 crime drama, with 16 episodes in total and both are based on real life criminals. The first series revolves around the rise of a gangster, who became the second wanted criminal in India and second charts the emergence of a notorious criminal active in Rajasthan. Both series are perfect for those who like gangster dramas
10. Broken But Beautiful: There have been two seasons and 21 episodes of the romantic drama, which is available on ALTBalaji and ZEE5. Vikrant Massey and Harleen Sethi play the lead roles in the story of two unconnected individuals who start to unexpectedly find love for a second time. The tale of love, betrayal, heartache and longing explores
9. Kaafir: Bollywood actress Dia Mirza plays the lead role in the eight-episode ZEE5 series about a Pakistani woman who ends up on the wrong side of the border in Kashmir and gives birth to a child while in imprisonment, and her fight for justice with the help of a journalist. The compelling story features strong central performances and tackles a sensitive subject well.
8. Four More Shots Please: The 10-episode Amazon Prime series has been described as the Indian answer to Sex And The City. The story revolves around four unapologetically flawed women negotiating
the highs and lows of life, including sex and relationships. The second series premiered recently and continued the momentum generated by the first series.
7. Mirzapur: The nine-episode crime drama available to watch on Amazon Prime revolves around two brothers with contrasting personalities rising up through the bad lands of Mirzapur, which is filled with drugs, politics, guns and power. A second series of the gritty underworld drama is on the way.
6. Special Ops: The eight-episode series created by acclaimed Bollywood director Neeraj Pandey is available on Hotstar and has the gripping narrative of his films. The globe-trotting thriller inspired by real events revolves around a dedicated team tasked with catching a terrorist mastermind.
5. Made In Heaven: The nine-episode Amazon Prime series is a comedy-drama revolving around wedding planners and the challenges they face with various bookings. The multi-layered story goes beyond
the opulent Indian wedding scene by exploring a number of interesting themes and parallel storylines. Season 2 of the acclaimed show masterminded by Bollywood writer/directors Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti is on the way.
4. Sacred Games: The first Netflix original series in India has had two seasons with 16 episodes in total. Based on a best selling 2006 novel of the same name, it has an all-star cast led by Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The story revolves around an imminent terror attack masterminded by a notorious gangster and a police officer racing against time, trying to unravel a mystery that crosses generations.
3. Leila: The thrilling Netflix dystopian drama based on the 2017 novel by Prayaag Akbar is genuinely different to other Indian series available on streaming sites. Huma Qureshi plays the lead role in the futuristic
six-part series of a woman living under an authoritarian regime, who must escape a brutal ‘re-education’ camp to find her missing daughter. She stumbles upon secrets in a land that has been decimated by brutal rulers. The story tackles themes eerily similar to the nationalistic politics currently ripping many societies apart.
2. Delhi Crime: The superb seven episode series available on Netflix received rave reviews and is based on the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. The gripping story follows a fearless female police officer trying to catch those responsible for the death of a female victim. The fast-paced thriller features standout performances from the lead cast, with Shefali Shah being particularly brilliant and is one that will remain with you long after it has ended.
1. The Family Man: The action drama available on Amazon Prime is a 10-episode series starring acclaimed Bollywood actor Manoj Bajpayee as a man trying to balance family life with his top secret job as an intelligence officer. There is a fine balance between action, drama and humour in a series that has received rave reviews. Such has been the success that a second season is on the way and it features South Indian cinema superstar Samantha Akkineni making her web series debut.