There has been a noticeable decline in cable TV subscriptions in India. Partly because the quality of reality TV shows and sitcoms is not what it used to be in the era of ‘Office Office’ or ‘Shriman Shrimati’, and partly because over half of the population in India is under 30 and they’re subscribing to streaming services and OTT providers. With new platforms come new styles and narratives in storytelling, Indian web series started gaining ground and since the iconic ‘Sacred Games’ things have only gotten better. Creators are giving us stories that address social and individual issues with a depth that network TV shows couldn’t.
In a similar vein, we have curated a list of 5 critically acclaimed Indian web series that you should check out.
Ray is an adapted anthology based on four short stories by the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Created by Sayantan Mukherji, Ray consists of four stories ranging from satire to psychological thriller. Collectively, it touches on the themes of revenge, self-doubt, kleptomania and the side effects of stardom. Starring Kay Kay Menon, Harshavardhan Kapoor, Ali Fazal and more, Ray takes you on a surreal journey into the mind of auteur Satyajit Ray with a creative twist.
Created by Charudutt Acharya and Rohan Sippy, Aranyak is a thriller series about two police officers played by Raveena Tandon and Parambrata Chatterjee investigating a sadistic rape and murder case. Set in the fictional town of Sironah, in Himachal Pradesh, this 8-episode series is sold as the desi version of HBO’s Mare of Easttown. Raveena Tandon makes her return as the harried cop in a small town with hilly terrain looking for a half-human and half-leopard creature in this mystery-thriller.
Jamtara - Sabka Number Ayega is based on real-life events in the Jamtara district of Jharkhand known for its cybercrime. The story revolves around a cousin duo running a lucrative phishing scam with their friends. Directed by Soumendra Padhi, this crime drama is a menacing glimpse into the chaotic life of teenagers-turned-cyber criminals, and their attempts to dodge the justice system. Season 2 of the series was just released last month.
Watch it here.
Starring the stellar actors Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul, Ghoul is an Indian horror mini-series based on the Arab folklore about Jinns. Combining fantasy and myth, the mini-series uses horror and paranoia as a device to drive home a point about prejudice and gross injustice. Coming from the makers of the Oscar-winning film Get Out and the critically acclaimed Bollywood film Udta Punjab, Ghoul is an engaging action-packed production set in a secret remote detention centre in a vaguely dystopian future.
V. Paava Kadhaigal
Paava Kadhaigal (translating to Sinful Tales) is a Tamil anthology of four touching short films. Starring acclaimed actors Prakash Raj and Kalki Koechlin, the anthology revolves around stories of a trans woman who sacrifices her love for her sister, twin sisters tackling their hypocritical father, parents dealing with the rape of their teenage daughter, and a pregnant woman seeing her father in a new light. Paava Kadhaigal is brilliant, taboo-busting, and emotionally rousing.
If you enjoyed reading this, we also suggest: