The Year’s Standout Web Series
As we bid farewell to the year, let’s cast a spotlight on the remarkable online series that illuminated our screens in 2023. With a captivating mix of thrilling suspense and heartwarming drama, the realm of OTT platforms delivered a diverse array of compelling storytelling. Join us as we unveil some standout web shows from 2023 that are an absolute must-watch:
Taali: Bajaungi Nahi Bajwaungi
Penned by Kshitij Patwardhan, embarks on a noble journey, narrating the compelling story of Shreegauri Sawant, a trans woman who champions battles for equality and identity. The show, starring Sushmita Sen, subtly addresses the struggles faced by the transgender community. While not entirely flawless, Taali endeavors to portray Shreegauri as a human being, moving beyond the stereotypical narrative. Sen’s commendable performance is the cornerstone of the series, allowing the narrative to explore the nuances of identity and acceptance. The writing cleverly incorporates nods to Sen’s Miss Universe legacy, making her transformative portrayal a noteworthy aspect of the project.
Made in Heaven
“Made in Heaven” Season 2 continues the saga of wedding planners Tara and Karan facing personal and professional challenges. With financial struggles hidden, the season explores the complexities of their lives, including Tara’s divorce and Karan’s crisis. Over seven episodes, the show tackles diverse wedding stories, addressing issues like racism, Dalit community equality, infidelity, polygamy, and lesbian weddings. The creators skillfully navigate these themes, creating discomfort at times but maintaining a focused and engaging narrative. While lacking in romance, the season successfully explores the meaning of ‘happily ever after.’
Season 2 unfolds a riveting narrative, with an expanded canvas and a nuanced exploration of characters’ metaphorical and literal pain. Arshad Warsi and Barun Sobti show their undeniable acting chops in a plot that now transcends the pursuit of a serial killer, delving into a mastermind’s plan to unleash chaos on the nation. With a change in the writing team, the series intertwines mythology, technology, and noir elements, offering a captivating blend. The storyline navigates the Kali vs. Kalki myth, creating a complex narrative that immerses the audience in the protagonists’ challenges while skillfully unveiling the enigmatic antagonist.
A police procedural set in fictional Uttar Pradesh, it masterfully dissects the corroding societal system. Balancing engagement with insightful exploration, it unravels deep-seated patriarchy while investigating an acid attack case. The series, created by Sumit Saxena and Arunabh Kumar, delves into multifaceted social issues, from revenge porn to homophobia, female infanticide, and prejudices. Rich in subtext, it challenges perceptions, making nobody immune to scrutiny. Vijay Varma’s compelling portrayal of conflicted policeman Ravi Shankar Tripathi elevates the series, skillfully navigating the intricate intersections of personal and professional life, and highlighting societal judgments. The title, drawn from Hindu mythology, aptly symbolizes the narrative’s churning exploration of societal perversions.
Dahaad, a Hindi police procedural crime thriller web series on Amazon Prime Video, follows Sub-Inspector Anjali Bhaati (Sonakshi Sinha) investigating the disappearance of 27 women in Rajasthan. Uncovering a serial killer targeting vulnerable women, she navigates caste discrimination and societal norms. As Anjali unveils the pattern of cyanide poisonings, the gripping narrative explores inter-caste relationships and societal challenges. The series builds tension, revealing the killer’s identity—Anand Swarnakar—and Anjali’s bold stance against prejudice. Dahaad stands out as the first Indian web series premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival, earning acclaim for its riveting storytelling.
The Night Manager
Former Indian Navy Lieutenant Shaan Sengupta, now a hotel night manager, is pulled into a dangerous mission when Safina, seeking escape from her criminal husband and his associate Shelly, uncovers their arms-dealing plot. Despite his efforts, Safina dies, labeled a suicide. Two years later, Shaan encounters Shelly at his new job. Teaming up with demoted RAW officer Lipika, Shaan infiltrates Shelly’s syndicate. Undercover, he saves Shelly’s son and exposes their plans. Shaan helps arrest Shelly, finding closure for Safina’s death and justice for her killers. A must watch show led by Aditya Roy Kapoor and Anil Kapoor.
Scam 2003: The Telgi Story, a Hindi biographical financial thriller, recounts the true story of Abdul Karim Telgi’s Stamp paper counterfeiting in the early 2000s. Directed by Tushar Hiranandani and co-directed by Hansal Mehta, the series draws inspiration from Sanjay Singh’s book. Gagan Dev Riar portrays Telgi, supported by Mukesh Tiwari, Sana Amin Sheikh, Bharat Jadhav, and Shaad Randhawa. The 10-episode series, the second in the Scam franchise after Scam 1992, premiered on Sony LIV. It unfolds Telgi’s intricate scam, showcasing the legal complexities and repercussions of one of India’s most notorious financial scandals.