Sanjay Manaktala is a ten year Accenture alumni who now does stand up comedy and creates digital content. His videos have been organically viewed over 35 million times across Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. His work has also been featured on the BBC, CNN.com, 9GAG, Forbes India, Times of India, Buzzfeed, GQ India and many more media outlets. He is also the host and creator of the Birdy Num Num podcast and knows a ton of things IT, Indian stand up comedy and more.
Technology is moving faster than the world knows how to use it.
Moore’s law (for the techies) basically said that computers will get faster and cheaper, but who could have ever predicted that meant dancing in front of your mirror was as enjoyable as a well written scene from Dumb and Dumber?
In a data driven world, which most big tech companies pride themselves on being, how do metrics and money mix together with what consumers want and need?
How will the attention economy determine the real value of any creative? Are a million views all created equal?
The Old Way Of Entertainment
Schools used to teach and Hollywood used to entertain.
There were of course a few areas of overlap like Bill Nye the Science Guy or Mr. Rogers, but the lines were more or less drawn with roles defined. The average person spent a few hours each year with Tom Cruise, Mariah Carey or The Rock and as a result grew to love and respect them.
We admired celebrities not because they’re so amazing…but because the affinity we gain from watching them sing, dance or overcome obstacles brings emotion out of us. When Tom Cruise kills a bad guy we hated for the last hour, we want to be his buddy and would love to shake his hand.
All of this was usually easy to measure.
Box office collections for movies, album sales for singers…whoever made the most money usually equated to being the best. And since people like us do things like us, that was all the social proof most of us needed on our weekends. If I didn’t watch the new Star Wars movie, I was out of the conversation.
While this system still exists in some ways, those of us who are old enough to remember pogs and young enough to still be tech savvy know that today, we rarely think about our favorite athletes and idols from growing up. However top of mind is new and interesting faces we discover scrolling daily.
Doctors on Tik Tok and Dentists on YouTube
These days the news is made on social media and simply reported on the news.
Publishers hate Zucks because they feel he diluted journalism, but data driven companies gain their data from users.
If users are spending their time reading articles about the 10 signs you know your cat likes you as opposed to the science of the Corona virus…then is it the algorithm’s job to feed you your vegetables and share what’s good for you?
Did we ever tell ABC to pause it’s steamy dramas and educate the viewers on global warming?
Oddly enough on the internet…the tide turns both ways. We see entertainment masquerading as knowledge (Hello Buzzfeed) but we also see knowledge masquerading as entertainment.
If you’ve been following Tik Tok or Instagram you’ve probably seens thousands of real estate agents, doctors, lawyers, dentists and more giving bite size videos about anything related to their niche. These videos are very addicting but also very valuable. (Flipped again, they’re also many shady, get-rich quick snake-oil salesmen on social media also.)
Ethics aside…how do you measure the value of any of this?
You could open up a Tik Tok account tomorrow, parody a song…and get 1M views dancing with your grandpa.
Is this valuable?
Is there a sales funnel here?
Or is it all just for fun?
And if it is just for fun without any valuable end-goal…then what’s the point?
Is a movie star who makes $1 million dollars a movie worth more today than a YouTube motivational speaker who gets 50 million views a month, with more screen time direct to camera than an actor would? Does a 10 minute, tear-jerking vlog about a transformational weight loss journey or bullying in school have the same effect that an act three climax of a movie would?
Monetarily…does the vlog creator get more ROI for a $20 production than a $20 million dollar movie?
Or is there some entertainment bubble that’s bound to burst since the internet has pretty much made the supply of content unlimited?
Currency In The Attention Economy
Joe Rogan recently sold his podcast to Spotify for over 100 million dollars.
Shaquille O’Neal invested in groups of teenagers who play video games…because somebody way smarter that any of us told him…in simple terms…this is the future.
“Listen Shaq…these kids spend way more hours watching other kids play games, blowing stuff up and using sniper rifles…than their parents did watching you dunk on people. Just look at an Instagram video’s views of the top highlights from Sportscenter and compare that to Call Of Duty highlights.”
Will Smith is investing heavily in doing Tik Tok videos and engaging strongly on social media because…well, again….it’s where the people are.
Hollywood used to be the Wall St. of entertainment…but in a connected world where anybody can entertain from their phone…won’t the distance between Main St. and Wall St. get smaller and smaller?
Yes, I know…Hollywood has the best writers, we’re talking about long-form content and storytelling, etc..
Because what is quality?
Even YouTube moved from prioritizing views to watch time.
As far as they’re concerned…a video that you can stick your toddler in front of for 2 hours made in someone’s garage is way more valuable than 4 minutes of rap stars popping bottles in Malibu. Even if that video cost $500,000 to make.
If a 25 year old fitness trainer spends 10 hours a month listening to the Rogan podcast, and 2 hours a year watching the latest Marvel movie….which content is more valuable to advertiser?
Who will the 25 year old like more?
Will he be more likely to buy tickets to see Rogan, or more to the Disney universe?
If a beauty blogger on YouTube makes $100,000 a month on affiliate products and earnings from tutorials…does he/she really care to go act in a soap-opera on daytime television that is watched by a 50+ crowd on TV? (anybody remember that?)
The definition of entertainment is changing, along with the definition of a celebrity. As families congregate around their individual screen in their hand than the one hanging in the living room….so will our relationship to it.
Predictions for the Future
Social Media algorithms are insanely powerful because they know you better than you know yourself.
Our attention spans are low, and our focus is going to be harder and harder to reign in. It used to be 5 movies that got 10 hours of focus from the average American. Today maybe it’s 1 movie that we can all agree we’ve seen as a collective.
Tomorrow…who knows? A few predictions about the future of entertainment as it relates to technology and social media:
Celebrities with specialized knowledge, like real-estate, law, medicine will be the rockstars of the future.
Feature films may be a lot more niche…so instead of trying to get 10% of Americans to watch your movie…you try to get 100% of Sci Fi or Marketing geeks to watch your movie.
Creatives and possibly even content that is geared towards the viewer. The movie you watch might have different product placements, stars or even an ending than the one I watch.
Marketing of entertainment assets on more personalized digital mediums (e.g. If you enjoyed this podcast on Economics…check out the new Wall St. Thriller from Aaron Sorkan)
Digital celebrities will overtake mainstream celebrities in earnings. Why would I hire an unknown model from Wilhemina (or wherever) to hold a beer and smile, when I could hire someone with 500,000 Instagram followers and have my agency point to the campaign’s success?
Everybody Has Their Own Personal Network
YouTube has 80% of views coming not from what someone searches for, but what they offer you on your home screen or suggested videos.
In fact, most of your YouTube home screen isn’t channels you subscribed to…but channels YouTube thinks you’ll enjoy a lot more. A lesson I also learned the hard way as my YouTube channel crossed 100K subs and pretty much froze after that.
Netflix has its own algorithms that see when you stopped watching something, who was on screen, which actors generate more engagement and a bunch of other data points that traditional Hollywood let agents and executives decide.
Just like your newsfeed morphs into an echo chamber of people like you who will give you a positive experience, your home screens on these apps will do the same thing.
Digital marketing has lookalike audiences, in which advertisers can ask a database “Hey, give me the 100,000 people who watched this movie up until 95%” and likely go out and find similar viewers right away. I’d much rather show my movie trailer to people who are like those 95% rather than 90 year old women in Arkansas. (and if they watch Marvel movies…hey, the computer found that out for us).
There is so much technology, science, psychology and more that is affecting our patterns of consumption. And it’s only going to get bigger, faster and more accurate.
You might find the world on your screen is exactly as you want it to be…but sadly, so will everyone else.
If all of us have a highly customized TV channel or textbook or newspaper that we read…the lines between content, consumer and creator will be the secret sauce in the new attention economy.
One thing however is that…in the future, the reality of it all will definitely be virtual.
Sanjay Manaktala helped start the current comedy boom in India and created the Global Comedian podcast, which was voted by GQ Magazine as a top podcast in the country.
He currently runs the Birdy Num Num podcast, a fresh long-form content show all about inspiring the creative Indian.
Having received hundreds of thousands of listeners on his shows as well as this blog, he charts out the future of podcasting in India along with some advice on who’s currently doing it well in this country in the English space.
Want to know the top podcasts in India you should be listening to?
Podcasts in India are just getting started.
America has demonstrated the power of podcasting platforms like Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher.
India is now playing as well with Saavn, Audioboom, and others. Soon the Indian players are catching on and it’s going to be a free for all.
As of February 2020, they’re now various Indian long-form podcast shows online about:
Financial podcasts (there will be many more in India coming up, just watch, Sensex, nifty, CNBC, yada yada)
and pretty much any niche you can think of, soon to be multiplied by Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Punjabi, etc..
As the market heats up, I’m going to list some of my favorite Indian podcasts I enjoy as a millennial in this space.
Well, barely a millennial.
Note: These are podcasts I picked because they actually put out new episodes week to week.
These also aren’t Hindi podcasts because well, I hardly know of many and also, I only know English.
What is a Podcast?
A podcast is an interview or solo audio program (although the video is often released) usually listened to on the phone. It might be a chat show, it might be news or business, but it’s usually of people discussing a topic as broad as Bollywood or as niche as fitness or Indian food.
Since podcasting is still growing in India and Pakistan and Bangladesh/Sri Lanka, it’s important to define what a podcast is for new listeners.
the Future of Podcasts in India
In India, where internet is dirt cheap, podcasts will grow as languages like Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi, Kannada and more start podcasting for all sorts of areas. For example:
Uber drivers in Odisha might listen to a podcast on fishing
A factory owner in Rajasthan might listen to a podcast in Marwadi about making money blogging.
All of India in any language will listen to podcast commentary on cricket.
There might even be a podcast to teach you English as we saw in that Mithila Palkar movie Chopsticks
A housewife or househusband may listen to a podcast on cooking Italian food.
A YouTube makeup artist teenager in Hindi may listen to a podcast on makeup, or start one.
Or various English podcasts, like short stories in entertainment, Bollywood Gossip, the news, advertising like IVM podcasts have done, mental health like Dr. Shyam Bhat has started (below) etc…
Why are Podcasts in India Growing?
Spotify just came to the Indian market, Saavn and Audioboom are expanding the market in regional languages and all the other platforms are like to “bro we need to do podcasting.”
Media portals are probably just going to recycle their YouTube as audio clips or try to bank on celebrities opening up about “their struggle moving from Bandra to Colaba” or just rely on guests to keep the momentum going.
I’m still figuring it out myself. (And it ain’t pretty).
But they’re people who are genuinely trying.
And you should give them a listen to see what it’s all about. Listen in your Ola, at the gym, whatever.
It will be more productive than that 800th IPL highlight or film song.
India is hungry for intellectual and passive/long-form content other than comedy nights with Kapil, so give yourself a chance to get on board with infotainment rather than settlings for that great Hollywood movie but dubbed on Bindass.
What are the major podcast platforms in India?
As of 2019, the major podcasting platforms used today in India are:
In fact for some of my podcasts currently, if I simply look at the last 1000 plays on certain episodes, I can see about 50% are from iOS devices.
Which probably means podcasts are still not a “for the masses” product…yet.
I can also see a massive 40% of plays coming from a certain streaming platform in the last year. Can you guess which platform that is? (Comment below).
How to Start a Podcast in India
The crazy thing about podcasting that took me years to figure out is most people will quit after only getting 3 listeners, and after wasting money on gear they don’t need.
But if you’re serious to invest a year into podcasting, and want to start, you need to:
Figure out a topic to talk about, whether lifestyle/motivation, finance, dating, cooking, fitness, etc… You can’t just “talk about what’s on your mind” and also nobody will listen if they can’t understand what it’s about.
Plan ten episodes out. For example, if you were doing a Bollywood podcast you could write:
Episode 1: Why Bollywood Doesn’t have an Oscar
Episode 2: Latest movie Review
Episode 3: Thoughts on SRK Latest interview
Record the podcast into your phone’s audio recorder. Most phones have great microphones these days in a quiet room/dining table, and if you can’t start with that, you have no business buying a professional recorder. Once you’ve got comfortable with a phone recorder, buy a Zoom H4N (Amazon)or similar device.
Ideally, if you’re listening to a podcast of someone solo, between 10 and 30 minutes. Most interview shows are between 30 and 60 minutes, and some such as the Joe Rogan podcast go for 3 hours or more.
Podcast Hosting in India
Once you have your podcast file done, use a service like AudioBoom, or Buzzsprout to upload your podcast and share it with your friends. There will be more coming in the near future, like Saavn, Spotify and more.
As of February 2020, these are the best Indian podcasts and why they’re on this list.
1. Dr. Shyam Bhat – the State of Mind Podcast (Mental Health)
Shyam Bhat runs the Live Love Laugh foundation with Deepika Padukone and also is one of the most well known mental health professionals in India.
His advice is so sound and his voice so smooth you won’t even realize you’re improving your life.
Why so dreamy bro? Even if you’re into an Indian spiritual type of podcast, what I love is Shyam is a doctor and doesn’t go all religion/spirits off the bat.
It’s for people who just want to get a hold of their mind, plain and simple. Especially in chaotic India.
It’s never been crazier to be a middle-class Indian, not because we’re patting ourselves on the back for being so stressed but because social media, Swiggy, Bollywood, and pitfalls of modern society have a unique impact on Indian’s that other middle classes may not. (e.g. I used to clean the house when I got stressed in America, now I just stare at my maid and also have a harder time helping myself).
Shyam also answers questions on the video comments and is highly engaging with these topics. He simplifies things like depression into something the common person can understand without fear of judgment.
Bangalore based comedian (and my friend, disclaimer) Sundeep Rao is India’s only partially blind stand up comedian but also what a Radio voice this EX-RJ from Radio Indigo has.
I love his take on evergreen topics and he keeps guests to a minimum.
I think too many podcasts in India (mine included) rely only on guests instead of building the artists voice which takes years.
You know Bill Burr did like 500 episodes by himself before we even knew their name right?
And he would call into some phone service to record his podcast, straight up like a ghetto voicemail.
So what’s your excuse to only have guests? Podcasts are a great way to figure out your voice and communication! Sundeep’s topics aren’t always clear from the titles but listen to this episode below and you’ll likely be hooked on his candid way of speaking and his hilarious puns.
Rupen Paul has been working hard at stand up comedy in Bangalore and his Indian podcast is one of the most consistent I’ve seen.
He just started doing new episodes by himself and also reaches out to interview guests from across the world, which I love.
It’s occasionally Indian comedy lessons but also a lot of random topics like:
middle-class Indian problems
hustling and working hard
Things people between 21 and 35 need to hear.
Social media addiction
4. Comedian Kritarth Srinivasan | Walks of Life Podcast (Alternate Careers)
Kritarth is onto something with his interview series about Indian leaders doing cool careers, and as each episode is different, all I can say is you will find something is so close to home it freaks you out.
A guy who left his Green card to open up a restaurant in JP Nagar? Check.
A girl who designs cartoons after working at Infosys? Check.
Those are examples but you get the idea. Do check it out and find yourself in one of these episodes. And make sure you drop a review on iTunes or whatever platform you use that takes ratings.
5. SHUT UP YA KUNAL KAMRA (Hindi, Politics)
I’m happy to see somebody who doesn’t care about money and fame (I think) getting success in doing something so natural.
Although I personally am not into politics these days, because I think we no longer consume news, we consume anxiety, it’s nice to see someone take the mainstream on its head and do exactly what podcast is meant for…long form honest content with hardly any crazy edits.
As Kunal is having a great year and an even better diet, (see us together on this podcast while it’s up), I’m happy to see real conversations with figures the media keeps poisoning our perception of.
Added July 12th, 2019: I’ve known Mae since the early days of comedy clubs in Mumbai. She’s a heavyweight voice in the radio scene with a long history and an amazing personality that always has a smile on her face.
You light up the room dude! I know it’s been some years but glad to see you grinding!
India’s Indie music scene also has it’s own quips and quirks, where mainstream success alludes a lot of people but at the same time, brands and those who “are in” love to be part of the cool subculture.
Mae seems to blend both in this rapidly growing podcast that I’ve been hearing so much about. Reminds me of KEXP YouTube with an Indian twist and I love it and hope it grows (along with my own LOL).
Anshu Mor is an older comedian who started later in life, but I’ve been observing his grind the last few years.
He works harder than most younger guys and this podcast is evident of how hard he’s trying.
He has a nice style and candid demeanor and I see a future Atul Khatri in the making. (I mean that as a compliment, not an insult LOL).
Keep it up bro. This episode with Kubra Sait opening up about working in the Bollywood Industry, Sacred Games, her journey and so on is honestly what podcasting is all about.
Long-form honest content that is both vulnerable and unfiltered and highly engaging.
8. Cyrus Broacha Says (Panel)
Hello Hello Cyrus. Please also let other people speak though.
I love this because he’s been at before it was cool and continues to just do his thing despite all his other media commitments. This Indian news and pop-culture podcast talks about everything under the sun and it’s quite engaging to hear them all go at it. (That’s another trick with podcasting, is to learn how to not step on each other’s conversations).
I personally don’t think podcasts in India need to have the full studio setup (you can hack studio sound in your dining room if you learn what you’re doing) but regardless, it’s great how they jump right into whatever topics and guests. I see you, Abbas, also.
Most entertainers who try to do podcasts don’t realize it’s gotta be raw, casual and metaphorically in your chaddis and I just love the tone they took in the studio with buddies hanging out.
RANT: What annoys me the most is people who try to start podcasts and gel their hair and treat it like some super fake/produced show. Ufff. I don’t need to see fairy lights in the background at 1.8 aperture with Ananya Pandey telling me what she ate for breakfast. Podcasts should feel honest and intimate or casual, not put on as a marketing exercise. I don’t care about Quinoa Shilpa Shetty.
That’s not podcasting! (But it still gets views…sigh).
Find a cool topic that’s at least somewhat interesting and drill into some honesty!
Ok rant over, check out this clip from Cyrus Says which is also by one of the main podcast studios in Mumbai, IVM podcasts. I hope things pick up in this medium! (LOL and I hope a good chunk stays in English for those of us who only communicate in that).
But even if more Hindi podcasts catch wind I guess that’s a good thing overall. As they do, you’ll start seeing your Uber driver listening to a chat show about India’s next space mission, or maybe your maid listen to someone talk alternative careers. The scope will be quite cool!
Indian fans of the European and Worldwide football can rejoice in this chat show about sports with comedian Amogh Ranadive.
If you like hearing commentary on the latest Premiere league (or other) antics with an Indian twist this might just be the Indian chat show for you. I personally don’t follow sports at all (not even Cricket, sorry) but if you enjoy hour long discussions on the latest sports gossip give it a go!
10. The Ranveer Show
Popular YouTuber BeerBiceps who I discovered through my buddy BeYouNick (another funny sketch channel) initially started as a fitness channel but is not moving into longer form content about unique stories and life advice.
He has naturally collaborated with others in the YouTube space but now also interviews people who have unique Indian stories about money, entertainment, finding your passions and more.
11. Advertising Is Dead
Varun Duggirala discusses all things marketing in this podcast about advertising, digital India, marketing, agency life and a bunch of other topics that those in the ad worlds of Ogilvy and the like would enjoy.
It was also Ogilvy who said that your headline is 80 cents on your dollar and these guys know that with engaging episode titles that will surely make you want to listen!
12. 3 Things – The Indian Express Podcast
Wow, over 600 episodes! But thanks to being in the news genre there is always content and these folks deliver on a daily episode that either recaps the news or goes deep on a few key Indian stories.
In a time of dwindling journalism and unethical media it’s nice to see some folks still grounded in educating the country on what matters! While still recognizing most of us only have the patience for three things!
13. The Sandip Roy Show
Another gem from the Indian express from a veteran journalist trying to make sense of the good parts of the world in another wise crowded and noisy world.
Intelligent conversations with engaging momentum. Perfect for the weights after the treadmill or on those one hour Delhi to Mumbai flights!
14. The Musafir Stories
India has so much to see it’s a shame most poeple just go to the Taj Mahal and bounce.
This is one of the best Indian travel podcasts whether you’re a mountain baby or just a city dweller looking for some audio relief and travel ideas.
15. The Indian Startup Show
UK based NRI Neil Patel talks to key Indian people from across the world doing interesting things in entertainment, finance, startups and pretty much anything non-conventional.
If you’re looking for a podcast on Indian entrepreneurs this is it and it’s updated pretty frequently.
16. BBC and Kalki Koechlin – My Indian Life
YouTube comments are a little polarizing depending on the topic but a well produced show makes for an interesting intersection of society and East meets West with a well known name in Bollywood.
Kalki Koechlin is well known in the cinema circles and also on newer progressive topics, and it’s easy to see why here.
It’s never been a more exciting time to do work…yet nobody seems to want to do it.
Online courses can give you five years of on the job skills for the price of an appetizer.
Data driven companies and tools like Facebook Ads, Ad Words, HotJar, Instagram and a million more let you A/B test your logo, your designs, your jokes, your images, your content and of course…your product.
Yet so many people have:
business ideas that never get off the ground,
podcasts they never make,
books they never write.
apps they never launch,
and a million more examples I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
So Why Exactly Is That?
In an era when you have sample code for everything, WordPress plugins galore, templates for any creative and tools and sample code and Google to answer whatever you want…why are we still so…unproductive?
Well, for lack of a better explanation…I think many of us in the middle-class are so comfortable with our paychecks and fear of failure…that we’re unsure of what will happen if we actually succeed.
It’s easier to critique and contemplate than make mistakes. But real people know mistakes were meant to be made.
In fact that’s the entire point.
Software has bugs, films have editing, books have rewrites, FMCG companies have focus groups…even relationships have hardships that make them amazing.
Just Do It
Nike may have trademarked (or copyrighted?) the slogan, but I’m pretty sure Phil Knight selling shoes out of his car had more to do with the slogan than an athlete getting up and going to the gym.
If a Stanford graduate recognizes that you need to roll up your sleeves to try and push a commodity (shoes)…well, you get the idea. He actually got on his knees and laced his shoes on people outside of high schools…and you can’t be bothered to ask a friend to like your Facebook page or install your app?!?
The principles are the same, but we live in a time when the Internet and social media gives a voice to sadly those who may not use one properly.
I forget who said this, but… I recently read that “In the future…intelligence is going to be knowing what to ignore, not just what to listen to.”
I have so many friends who love to sit at bars, talking about films that never get made, products that should, shortcomings of Uber and Swiggy and what else…yet never seem to want to pick up the phone and make things happen.
“Yeah we could make that app..but what if Amazon just adds it as a feature?”
“Yeah you could try that movie, but I read on Twitter nobody likes that genre as much. Or so-and-so did something similar so everyone will think we’re copying them.”
But that is all fine.
You could spend years trying to perfect your first novel, or you could spend two years getting the junk out, learning the publishing game, testing out your tone and voice via blogs (and instant feedback).
Those who try the former get heart broken when after years of cafe trips, writing in Bali and inspiration seeking they realize their first attempt was just as bad and the game has changed. Those who try the latter realize having an ego is just bad economics.
Attention spans are dwindling, and trying to get a 300 page book read today versus in 2010 are much different beasts.
You could spend years theorizing about the perfect app, fleshing out every requirement and getting opinions from 100 people.
Or you could JUST MAKE ONE for a few thousand dollars, drink at home for a few months…and use your first 50 users as a way better barometer of success than any focus group ever could. Yes the requirements weren’t perfect and your developer may want to eat your head…but again…”done is better than perfect right?” (Sheryl Sandberg)
But Isn’t Failing to Plan…Planning to Fail?
Maybe 20 years ago, when a logo cost $10,000 and was actually paid attention to. But you can redesign a logo or register a new domain for again…the cost of a drink.
Some of the best startups and tech founders talk about pivoting, about being the first movers, and about the importance of marketing and sales.
Artists think they don’t need social media or digital marketing, because (I also used to agree) that the art should speak for itself.
But in an increasingly crowded world, when billion dollar movies have billion dollar marketing budgets…and even Will Smith thinks he needs a social media strategy to get you to pay attention…who are you kidding bro?
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover…but go ahead and test a bunch of covers until you find one that sells. You’re not “selling out” if you try to find a cover that sells…you’re letting your hard earned art reach the masses so you can then get more feedback, more experience, more data…to ultimately make a better book the next time around.
What’s Wrong With That?
The internet and technology has made billion dollar companies off of a few people’s laptops. Look at WhatsApp…17 billion dollars…less than 100 employees.
If it’s never been cheaper to succeed….it’s also never been cheaper to fail.
I’m all for planning, having a strategy, getting the best equipment and doing your grunt work to understand an industry, technology, or idea…but you can easily make tomorrow’s winners with yesterday’s tech.
Your logo might be amazing after 19 design sessions…but if nobody gets to see your homepage because they scroll right passed it…well…you get the idea.
No matter how many great shows and endless entertainment Netflix brings out, sometimes you have the whole family together with the aunties and uncles and mom/dad and you want to watch some Hindi, Indian or Bollywood films.
These days audiences and critics have never been more split.
Critics are very detailed film fans, usually upper-middle-class and forget that just because they have seen thousands of Hindi and foreign films doesn’t mean the small town audiences have.
India is always at odds with trends and traditions and what the professor wants to teach may not be what the students are still trying to figure out.
I was looking for a good resource online but everything was either too detailed, too short or too outdated so I went through the Netflix app and jotted down all of the Hindi movies I personally liked.
I also wrote which movies had decent ratings and were fairly new, from September 2019 only as far back until 2009.
Anything older no thanks, too much good new stuff to watch!
What are the best Hindi movies on Netflix? The best Hindi movies on Netflix up to September 2019 with ratings and trailers are:
Article 15 (8.3)
Baahubali: The Beginning (8.1)
Baahubali 2 (8.3)
Bareilly Ki Barfi (7.5)
Brahman Naman (5.6, critics got it wrong)
Brij Mohan Amar Rahe (7.0)
Chennai Express (6.0)
Dear Zindagi (7.6)
Delhi Belly (7.5)
Dharam sankat mein (6.2)
Force 2 (6.2)
Game Over Hindi (7.2)
I am Kalam (8.0)
Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Deil (aka Love F**ed) (6.1)
Kabir Singh (7.3)
Love Per Square Foot (7.2)
Lucknow Central (6.2)
Lukka Chuppi (6.3)
Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (6.6)
The Lunchbox (7.8)
Madras Cafe (7.7)
Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (7.4)
Margarita with a Straw (7.2)
Mukti Bhawan (7.1)
No One Killed Jessica (7.2)
OMG: Oh My God! (8.2)
Once Again (7.1)
Paan Singh Tomar (8.2)
Pad Man (8.0)
Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran (7.7)
Peepli Live (7.4)
Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 (7.3)
Qarib Qarib Singlle (7.0)
Raman Raghav 2.0 (7.3)
Rajma Chawal (5.8 Critics got it wrong)
Rocky Handsome (6.8)
Romeo Akbar Walter (6.5)
Secret Superstar (7.9)
Special 26 (8.0)
Stree (2018 7.7)
Super Deluxe (8.4)
Tanu Weds Manu (6.7)
Tu Hai Mera Sunday aka You Are My Sunday (7.8)
Udta Punjab (7.8)
Wake Up Sid (7.6)
Zero (5.6) If you’re a die-hard SRK fan
All the details for each movie are below along with trailers, cast, year of release and why they’re on this list.
Netflix India continues to dump millions upon billions of dollars in original shows, series, web series, documentaries, stand up comedy specials and of course movies.
But how do you decide amongst all the streaming platforms like Amazon and Zee5 and Hotstar?
This is my personal list of movies I enjoyed, so your opinion may vary.
I’m going to explain this list by each film, but most of them will be either captivating, drama, fun mindless comedies or all of the above.
Added Zero to avoid the SRK troll army.
Whether you laugh or cry, Netflix and Chill or just want to pass the time, Hindi movies on Netflix do a good job of bringing the entire living room together for your family, flatmates or simply (for the introverts) by yourself. Hollywood movies are plentiful as well, but nothing unites your middle-class Indian family quite like good organic Indian storytelling.
I only kept movies from the last ten years because I’d assume you watched all the evergreen classics like Hum Saath Saath Hain.
I’m not political at all so I don’t care if you didn’t like a movie because it didn’t agree with your politics. Movies are meant to make you think, enjoy and have a suspension of disbelief so you can escape into a fun other reality for a bit.
In other words, calm down and grab the popcorn and enjoy.
If there is something to add to the list please do comment or let me know on Instagram or Twitter as my team will update this list frequently.
Best Bollywood Movies on Netflix
So what are the best Indian films on Netflix?
This is not a major studio film but it was screened at the Mumbai Film festival in 2017 and has a very powerful story that continues to happen in India almost on a daily basis. One of the major Indian independent films in 2017.
A very dark movie with a revenge plot.
Powerful and probably not the most family-friendly film.Should have got some National awards for the acting.
The protagonist gives a great performance as the grandmother and the antagonist does an effective job of making you hate his guts.
Fans of Delhi Belly and NRIs really enjoyed this film. It’s a black comedy type thriller movie and there are some pros and cons of the plot.
Critics hated it. As a Netflix Acquired Original, I think you should still give it a shot. Definitely not a mainstream movie.
The movie isn’t for everyone but those who enjoyed it really did, others dismissed it as portraying certain situations in a bad light.
If you’ve seen everything else on this list and in this genre, give it a go.
Starring Arjun Mathur aka Zoya Akthar’s blue-eyed boy from Made in Heaven, Nidhi Singh from TVF (The Viral Fever), Sheetal Thakur, Manav Vij, Sunny Hinduja, Vijayant Kohli, and Yogendra Tikku.
12. Chennai Express
You can’t have a list like this without a couple of blockbusters and who can forget the Lungi dance this movie created.
Featuring the biggest Bollywood stars in the world, although it wasn’t a great fantastic movie it has its place on this list and is worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already.
It’s a bit long and you will reach for your phone at times during the 140 minute run time, but it has its moments.
Starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.
A small independent period film that has found a home on Netflix.
Mark my words as of September 2019, given that Manoj Bajpayee is having a great year with Amazon’s Mr. Family Man (written by my friend Suman Kumar) this 2012 film will find a new audience on the platform.
Starring: Manoj Bajpayee, Barry John, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Rajkummar Rao.
A girl in the city type of movie with great acting by Mithila Palkar, Abhay Deol and Vijay Raaz who is also having a great year with all of his roles.
Sometimes slightly annoying given the unrealistic ignorance of a small-town girl in the city (like when she can’t find her car, no spoilers though) it’s a cute film and I”m sure people under 30 will find it quite amusing.
Starring Abhay Deol, Mithila Palkar and Vijay Raaz.
Saw this Bollywood film about wrestling theaters and really enjoyed it.
Classic living through vicariously your children Indian story and Aamir Khans’ character arc, as well as physical transformation for this movie, was very commendable.
Wonderful sports genre flick and a must-watch for the blockbuster Bollywood films on this list.
Starring Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Zaira Wasim, Sanya Malhotra, Suhani Bhatnagar, Aparshakti Khurana, and Girish Kulkarni.
16. Dear Zindagi
Another classic, another blockbuster. I think my wife enjoyed this film more than I did because while it was slow for me I know a lot of ladies who said they related to the story.
Nice to see SRK playing the mature doctor/mentor and Alia doing the modern find yourself in Goa thing, and the movie blends the two nicely.
Starring Alia Bhatt and Shahrukh Khan in an unusually smaller role.
17. Delhi Belly
A modern cult classic film.
If you’re the type who likes stoner comedies you’ll probably enjoy this too. In fact, they’re some hilarious scenes and the critics actually enjoyed this movie along with the masses.
And fellow comedian buddy Vir Das made his name partly on this film, so it’s fun to watch for me.
The film was originally passed on but Kiran Rao grabbed the loose script in Aamir Khan’s office and started laughing, and the rest is history.
Starring Imran Khan, Vir Das, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Poorna Jagannathan, and Shenaz Treasurywala.
A beautiful film about a sister who takes her blind brother on a journey to get an eye replacement from SRK, who also just happens to be promoting the other new Netflix show at the moment.
Reminds me of Dev Patel’s Lion a little bit. You’ll very likely cry by the end of this film. Great to watch with family or your lady. Gorgeous Rajasthan scenery as well.
Starring Hetal Gada, Krrish Chhabria, Vipin Sharma, Gulfam Khan, Vibha Chibber and Vijay Maurya.
19. Dharam Sankat Mein
Audiences loved this film if you happen to also read the unbiased Google reviews. Religion in India again portrayed in a way that makes someone think.
Paresh Rawal is always a boss. A great example of critics being out of touch with what the masses like.
Starring Paresh Rawal, Annu Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah with direction by Fuwad Khan
A really surprising entertaining thriller about police, rude behavior, fighting the system and more.
After Ajay Devgn’s wife is blackmailed by a local policeman’s family, things go haywire but the real story develops after the response aka the inciting incident.
This 2015 film grips you to the end has a pretty cool ending. Really cool cop drama although the cops are the drama in this case.
If Jason Bourne (one of my favorite series) was Indian, you’d have Force 2. It can be cheesy and silly at times but overall a decent attempt and enjoyable movie.
Fans of action and the spy genre will appreciate the film with decent acting by the leads.
Starring John Abraham , Sonakshi Sinha and Tahir Raj Bhasin.
22. Game Over
Originally shot in Tamil and Telugu, this horror movie about video games with Taapsee Pannu was directed by Ashwin Saravanan.
A pretty decent psychological thriller that I think Indian audiences are desperate to watch given the twists and turns which make for a compelling story that won’t get you looking for other things to do in the living room.
I personally hate it when my wife starts checking her phone in the middle of a movie.
Anurag Kashyap produced the latest Netflix offer as of 2019.
Starring Taapsee Pannu, Vinodhini Vaidyanathan, Anish Kuruvilla, Sanchana Natarajan, Ramya Subramanian and Parvathi T.
A pretty dark and gritty storyline about money and gangsters, kidnapping and ransom, having a girl child in older India and corporate corruption plus drama.
It’s easy to see why Amazon ended up taking Pankaj Tripathi for Mirzapur given how he acts in these sorts of stories. Pretty heavy-handed material however makes for a dark 2017 movie. A noir thriller about the big city and NCR area.
A very exciting film I’m sure a lot of dudes would have wanted to see based on the trailer alone.
There is so much going on in this Indian Hamlet that it’s hard to keep up, yet you can’t look away from all the action.
A wonderful film experience and triumph for Shahid as an actor who feels to me like he’s Tom Cruise at award ceremonies.
If you never saw this 2014 movie and don’t mind watching a gore action fest, do yourself a favor and watch it.
Starring Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor, Narendra Jha and Kay Kay Menon.
This film premiered at 20th Mumbai Film Festival and got a National Award in the Urdu film category.
Hollywood reporter praised the film and Indian media said it was a nice way to handle the Kashmir conflict without getting political.
Didn’t do much at the box office unfortunately but you’ll recognize some big actors in this film who may not have been knowing during the filming of it.
Starring Rasika Dugal, Vikas Kumar and Talha Arshad Reshi.
From the makers of Gangs of Wasseypur and The Lunchbox.
Shweta Tripathi leads into roles that many actors would shy away from and she’s quickly gotten into good company with Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Making her mark in web series like TVF Tripling Masaan, and Laakhon Mein Ek (this girl doesn’t really age either) has also shown that this movie, despite having pretty heavy subject material is what we see daily in India.
Nobody wants to admit about affairs and even these sorts of relationships in school but boy does it exist.
Glad to see Indian filmmakers pushing the boundaries of the subject matter.
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi
27. I Am Kalam
On the flip side, something more palatable for the Indian masses is the goal of one of it’s most revered leaders. All about the late leader’s life goal for everyone to have a right to education.
It was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 and also was praised by film critic Rajeev Masand for handling the subject matter without being preachy about education.
Not a mass box office hit but more an independent exercise in good writing and good story. Hope it finds a good home on Netflix to be appreciated by more and more people as time goes on.
Starring Harsh Mayar, Gulshan Grover, Pitobash Tripathy, and Beatrice Ordeix.
I know I said this list was only from 2009 but had to include one or two that weren’t. Since Netflix only launched in India afterwards that’s fine right?
Combining India’s favorite hobby cricket, a deaf disabled boy, the theater star Naseeruddin Shah this movie shows the story of a boy who wants to have every Indian kid’s dream…which is playing for the Indian national team.
If you like sports drama films that are underdog stories, you’ll love this flick. Great for family and friends alike although your dad will probably then tell you to get back to your homework.
Probably the best acting I’ve seen from Sonakshi Sinha.
Based The Last Leaf written by O. Henry Well.
It’s honestly such a nice film and so fresh and new.
The morals kind of like the Lunchbox are still a bit not pop culture tie your shoelace friendly but if you’re a fan of cinema and tired of the usual Bollywood stuff do yourself a favor and watch this movie with your family or lady/dude tonight.
Starring Sonakshi Sinha and Ranveer Singh.
35. Love Per Square Foot
I remember Netflix India pushed this movie hard when it first came out as it was their first flagship original movie to start understanding what the masses would want.
Vicky Kaushal does a decent job but a few of the plot points seem a bit unrealistic.
Either way it was a decent first jump to test the waters. I also think a lot of the smaller characters from this movie are going to have bigger careers soon.
Starring Vicky Kaushal, Angira Dhar, Alankrita Sahai, Ratna Pathak Shah and Supriya Pathak.
36. Lucknow Central
I get it, some of you might be wondering why I put this seemingly boring and long 150 minute film here.
Popcorn flick fans will probably change the movie after 30 minutes of a slow build up, but I enjoyed the film.
I would argue it’s better to watch alone than in a group because you will probably start chattering and then give up on the movie halfway through.
Either way, you can see a decent acting job from Farhan in this 2017 prison flick.
Finally, a film that keeps the run time short and handles the very common live-in-relationship before marriage loud and clear while being very subtle.
I agree the plot has been done before but if you’re new to stories like this, there is something for you and your family to cross generations and find common ground on.
In 2019 we may have heard stories like this all the time but it still happens so I think it’s still a great Bollywood movie for Netflix to offer.
India has the largest population yet the most irony and hypocrisy when it comes to admitting that dating and adult relationships aren’t going anywhere.
That leads to a lot of frustrations and unhappy people.
Does that make sense?
I though Pyaar Ka Punchnama was a bit too backward in how it portrayed women as just nuts and guys as being bothered by responsibility, but I guess most guys grow up thinking as much (present company included) so it has its place for 22 year olds who think they know everything about women. This movie does a better job at the nuance and I think will keet everybody thinking.
This movie has audiences split. Yes it is repetitive and slightly forced humor at times but it’s an ok time pass movie. I just thought Pankaj Tripathi’s role was a bit underwhelming which is sad it was wasted on a great actor.
Maybe I love chicken curry (and the secret ingredient in the film) and I’m half Punjabi, but this film was really warm and I ended up liking the seemingly simple plot a lot more than I thought.
Huma Qureshi has charisma and it doesn’t try too hard to be anything else, which is why it’s so fun and authentic, much like the recipe.
Starring Kunal Kapoor, Huma Qureshi (who is also the lead in the Netflix Series Leila) and Rajesh Sharma.
39. The Lunchbox
It’s a shame this movie was never a commercial success, because it was simply everything pop culture needs to appreciate art.
Revered by critics but shunned by popcorn masala loving Indian masses, I watched it at home and really thought about it after.
Unfortunately, to survive in India, you need some bit of illusion and this is actually how love is, it’s not pretty, it’s not straightforward and sometimes it’s just well…what it is (the ending I mean).
A superhero flick that results when you have Deadpool and Bollywood writers in the same room.
Critics and audiences agreed on the fun of this movie and you will too.
Give yourself a chance and go watch it! One of the best action comedies of 2019! And got some awards at the Toronto film festival. Sad it only made two crores but hopefully, Netflix gives them the exposure they need.
Kalki stars in this film that explores not feeling sorry for people disability, fish out of water and coming of age themes.
I’m glad it took a stance as the unrealistic and sometimes condescending way we look at disabled people really undermines the situation. Also explores some LGBTQ themes.
Both the critics and audiences praised Kalki’s acting with cerebral palsy and you will too. It’s also sad that people are finding fault with actors who depict certain conditions…that is acting after all right?
Some people called this movie sheer brilliance, and it’s heavy on story and writing and less on the action. Watch for yourself and see.
Starring Kalki Koechlin, Revathi, Sayani Gupta, and William Moseley.
This 2015 movie is beautiful and says so much about various parts of Indian society. It was loved at Cannes and if you give this film the time to breathe, it will grow on you heavily.
It’s also a career-making film for all the folks now see all over Bollywood, Amazon Prime and in the case of this film, Netflix.
Starring Richa Chadda, Vicky Kaushal, Shweta Tripathi, and Sanjay Mishra. Written by comedy colleague Varun Grover, who also wrote, wouldn’t you know it, the Netflix Flagship Sacred Games.
A crowd pleasing film with Hindi options originally in Marathi.
Not a great story but a mindless entertainer that you might like if you’re in the mood for a save the village type of story from Riteish.
Spoiler alert: The ending is just way too convenient so don’t expect any clever writing to blow you away.
But if you got the relatives visiting from Mumbai or just feel like watching, it does have it’s entertaining moments.
Starring Riteish Deshmukh, Saiyami Kher and Ajay-Atul.
A great 2017 Hindi thriller movie by the late Sridevin in the revenge genre about a mom who need justice for her daughter, much like a few of the other films on this list.
It’s kind of like Taken meets Indian mom, but very gripping and powerful and highlights the usual cops are corrupt and India has its problems, but does so in a clever way.
You will see low ratings due as always, to the heavy-handed source material but the movie will stay with you and you should watch it if you’re in that frame of mind.
Starring the late Sridevi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Akshaye Khanna.
48. Mukti Bhawan aka Hotel Salvation
The Hollywood Reporter this film was full of warmth and tenderness. You will think of this piece of art for day sand the movie really touches your soul.
Adil Hussain kills it in this feel-good movie about family and relationships.
Starring Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Palomi Ghosh, Navnindra Behl, and Anil K Rastogi.
49. No One Killed Jessica
This 2011 film is based on the 1999 Jessica Lal murder case.
Classic movie about reporter trying to bring powerful people to justice.
Praised by most critics, though some took issue with its heavy-handedness.
Starring Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan.
50. Oh My God!
This is my favorite movie on this list, because Akshay Kumar and more importantly Paresh Rawa have great writing and great acting all going in their favor.
Plus showing the corruption of religion and Godmen in India (of all places) they pull it off so well.
A great movie to watch with family, and your mom/dad will laugh hysterically I guarantee it.
Starring Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Mithun Chakraborty.
51. Once Again
Kind of like the lunchbox but a great film about after 40 love. Mind-blowing performances from both actors also.
I doubt young people will really resonate (under 21) with this film but it’s great for anybody who likes honest stories that are less fairy tale and more reality.
If you liked Shefali in Delhi Crime you’ll probably enjoy her in this as well.
Starring Shefali Shah, Neeraj Kabi and Kanwal Sethi.
52. Paan Singh Tomar
Based on the true story of the soldier and athlete (Irrfan Khan) who won gold at the National Games and later had to become a bandit and criminal.
Won many awards and is a period piece in the 1950s that was shot for less than 4 CR! Imagine!
This 2012 movie is definitely worth a watch and Irrfan Khan continues to prove his merit as one of the country’s best actors.
Starring Irrfan Khan, Mahi Gill and Vipin Sharma.
53. Pad Man
This 2018 Akshay Kumar film is about the guy who made the sanitary pad and is one of the best Bollywood films of 2018. It’s also now the character of Akshay we see in all the pre-roll ads at the cinema.
The important message and use of a commercial film as opposed to a documentary made for a compelling story that thankfully audiences and critics also appreciated.
Important issues and themes are discussed although it’d be nice if we see Akshay patting himself on the back a little bit less and less.
Starring Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte (again).
Anushka Sharma acted and produced this 2018 film which was a good attempt at trying to enter India into those Gone Girl/thriller genres. It starts alright but kind of jumbles it’s way home.
But I hope to see them crack this formula and make more films like this, because her acting (which my wife also likes to mimic) was quite good in this movie.
Not very scary though. Netflix Ghoul series was much scarier for me personally.
Starring: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rajat Kapoor, Ritabhari Chakraborty and Mansi Multani.
55. Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran
40% on Rotten Tomatoes, 7.7 on IMDB and 98% of Users on Google liked the film.
What do you think?
I feel really bad for movies that are meant to patriotic as they also then get confused with propaganda. Or do they?
Unfortunately we live in a society where we can mindlessly dance to songs about objectifying anybody, but we can’t handle a slow burner drama movie that talks about some important events in the nuclear face off culture of emerging countries.
Politics aside, this was a nice dramatic 2018 film that keeps you engaged. Just don’t expect any big explosions yeah?
Starring: John Abraham, Diana Penty and Boman Irani.
56. Peepli Live
A pretty clever plot or logline to entice the viewer based on farmer suicide.
An even better hard hitting satire.
One of India’s official entries for an Oscar at the 83rd Academy awards.
This film is great on so many levels and needs a better long term legacy. It is satire and especially one of the best Indian satire films of its kind.
Great acting by Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghubir Yadav, Shalini Vatsa, Malaika Shenoy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Naseeruddin Shah round off the great Netflix film from Aamir Khan productions.
Wow, if you’re a new parent you’re going to have anxiety watching this movie but it is a very clever and thought out movie about a toddler trying to figure out what to do after their mom takes a turn for the worst.
It also highlights domestic abuse and problems and is very tense movie.
It’s a movie unlike many Indian Bollywood films so give it a go.
Edge of your seat thriller although not in the traditional sense, the movie took a lesson from the Saw filmmakers and made a film in just under 50 lakhs and pulled off something impressive.
I’m sure a lot of careers will get launched after this and glad the Netflix service is going to give them the exposure they deserve.
Starring Myra Vishwakarma and Prerna Sharma.
This movie won a National Award and was all about women empowerment.
Amitabh plays a lawyer who has to step out of retirement when his expertise is needed as a call to action.
Another example of a movie coming out around the right place at the right time. If you’re in the mood to learn some lessons, give this a Blockbuster a watch on Netflix.
Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Angad Bedi, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, and Andrea Tariang.
Really enjoyed this film.
Using an alien to highlight Indian society and its nuances and hypocrisies.
The poster of the film got a lot of attention which proves Aamir Khan is also an expert at marketing a movie also, as it was one of the first viral social media movie posters.
If you haven’t seen this blockbuster of a film go ahead and watch it on your next plane ride, because chances are if you’re in a group somebody has already watched it.
Starring Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sanjay Dutt, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani and Saurabh Shukla.
60. Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2
If you’re a mama’s boy (and sadly many Indian mothers won’t see what’s wrong with this movie) you’ll think this movie is great.
Women are evil,
a boy needs his mother,
even a 33 year old dude with roommates and mom/dad paying for everything is fine.
I didn’t like the movie, BUT I know audiences did and a 7.3 IMDB and a 22% Rotten Tomatoes makes you wonder how society is so divided.
My wife and I also couldn’t stop playing it, we just wanted to watch it with the cringe and all.
So it was at least entertaining.
Will you agree with it? Probably not, but again, depends on how sheltered your life is.
So was the film a success? Yup. Is it better than something mindless like Mastizaade? A little bit.
I can’t say when I was 19 I wouldn’t have bought all the BS this movie was selling, so without sounding like a holier than thou critic watch it for yourself.
That’s why I included it here because it definitely did resonate with some people and that monologue from part 1 had a lot of guys hooting and howling. I have been there bruv, I get it once in a while.
I can guarantee you though all the 18 year old kids in the hostels and movie theaters will watch it (or torrent it) while the younger woke generation might see right through it.
Parvathy Thiruvothu was in the very good Malayalam film Take Off and it’s easy to see why they cast her in this.
It’s not a masala flick at all but it’s just a great story.
You really want to like her character and opposite Irrfan she does an outstanding job of actually stealing the show, and I’m sure he didn’t mind at all.
Although the Lunchbox wasn’t a massive hit and this wasn’t either, the genre of real non fairy tale love stories is finding it’s mark and I’m so happy it is in Indian cinema, because the only thing worse than a flashy fairytale movie of love and weddings and dance is realizing those most likely don’t exist, nor should they.
Real mundane life is where you find the true beauty.
Starring Irrfan Khan and Parvathy Thiruvothu.
24-year-old India’s sweetheart (Kangana Ranaut) goes on her honeymoon alone after her fiancé calls off the wedding a day prior. She meets Lisa Haydon and then learns the ropes of modern big city life.
The theme of the movie is a fish out of water and coming of age.
The movie had a strong women’s empowerment message.
I also found it hilarious how someone coming from India had a hard time crossing the road during that scene, but it’s a wonderful film.
I cried and I also have heard that London song at every single wedding since and so will you.
Starring Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao and Lisa Haydon.
One of the best thrillers in 2016, really happy Netflix got the rights for this and unfortunate it didn’t make more at the box office.
Murder mystery and for once critics and audience agrees it’s worth a watch.
It’s about a doctor accused of murder. Classic case of who did it?
Starring Kay Kay Menon, Tisca Chopra, Ashish Vidyarthi, Mita Vashisht and Ashwini Kalsekar.
64. Raman Raghav 2.0
Anurag Kashyap’s neo-noir psychological thriller is a film that feels inspired by the Joker’s character in Batman but is definitely a new high standard for Bollywood.
It also borrows a bit from No Country For Old Men in the serial killer portrayal department.
Many critics loved it. Not a massive box office success but of course another feather in the accomplished filmmakers cap for being a great Indian movie in 2016. Glad it’s on Netflix now.
Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sobhita Dhulipala (from Made in Heaven) and Vicky Kaushal as the title character (by the way how good of a career year is he and Sobhita having?).
65. Rajma Chawal
I think the critics got this one wrong and yet again seems to be the case with about 10% of movies these days, where critics hate it but Indian masses love it.
Netflix and Amazon both know the key to the middle class consumer is to play with nostalgia as most people look at squeezing the last bit of toothpaste or having humble small town beginnings as a badge of honor.
It’s clean humor and fun for the whole family.
Fans of the Viral Fever’s Yeh Meri Family (which I wasn’t too fond of but that was just my taste) will enjoy this.
The only thing is the dubbing is a bit annoying as it’s way too obvious.
Based on “the Man from Nowhere” which is a South Korean action flick, this film is great.
Critics panned it as usual but audiences loved it and that’s who we make movies for right?
Like an Indian “Taken” or any other Jason Statham movie, John Abraham brings it again.
94% google positive but really low critics score? That’s all you need to know. Action and Abraham fans give this a watch, it’s one of the Best 2016 Hindi movies on Netflix!
Starring John Abraham, Diya Chalwad, Shruti Haasan, Nishikant Kamat, and Sharad Kelkar.
67. Romeo Akbar Walter
It seems after Akshay Kumar, it’s John Abraham in 2019 who seems to be the king of patriotism flicks
This 1971 period drama didn’t get love from the critics but you can see the audience on google reviews and IMDB have bumped up it’s reception.
Storyline and plot are flawed for sure and the movie didn’t really have many collections at the box office, but overall once you’ve watched the other films in this genre go ahead give this a one time watch.
Starring John Abraham, Mouni Roy, Jackie Shroff, and Sikandar Kher.
Based on a true story, this courtroom drama also plays on romance, marriage, the armed forces, and crime-mystery.
It’s also a 50s period film made in 2016 by Zee Studios.
Fans really enjoyed it and if you liked movies like John Grisham or A Few Good Men, it has a similar tone.
Ahhhh Sanju, which is of course based on Sanjay Dutt.
This film reminds me of that rich goofy friend you have who is somewhat spoiled but you can’t help but feel for him.
The lead actor plays a good, charismatic portrayal of Sanju Baba in this 2018 blockbuster.
Although the behavior has not aged well in modern times, the movie was a hit and says a lot about what society is really ok with.
Even my mom enjoyed it despite all that was going on in the media at the time of it’s release so who knows.
Starring Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vicky Kaushal, Manisha Koirala, Dia Mirza, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Jim Sarbh from recent Made in Heaven fame!
70. Secret Superstar
One of those “do engineering and don’t follow your dreams” type of movie that plays on modern technology and our changing economy, Secret superstar is actually a fish out of water and root for the little guy story.
It’s also one of the best Bollywood movies of 2017 currently on Netflix.
In a nutshell, a young girl (without spoilers) wants to follow her YouTube singing dreams, but of course, her parents have other plans.
But Aamir Khan ties the story together really well and audiences eat it up.
Great to watch with family and nudge your dad to ease up on the extra tuitions!
It’s also great because now in India, with cheap internet and Jio and learning anything on Google, people will be more likely to cultivate their hobbies and passions and do the right things in life and I’m sure this film inspired folks to do just that.
Starring Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij, Raj Arjun, and Aamir Khan.
A black comedy thriller, Kalki moves from LA to India (hey like me) but gets caught up in some unexpected situations that turn her life upside down (hopefully not like me).
Through a comedy of errors and a lot of tension/drama, this 2011 film takes you for a ride.
A Netflix India Hindi Original, in 2018’s Soni a young policewoman in Delhi is trying to solve all the problem’s against women but realizes the system doesn’t care as much as she does.
We need more movies like this, and we need audiences to not dumb down their ratings and reviews just because it’s not a popcorn flick.
I wish Netflix did more marketing for this film, it really deserved to get a push even if it wasn’t going to set any records.
A gripping story that is pure drama and not very action-packed so be ready for the heavy material.
Starring Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra.
73. Special 26
Based on the 1987 opera house heist. Kind of like an Indian Oceans 11. If you liked that and want Bollywood flair you’ll like this.
A really nice heist film with fan-favorite Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpayee (who is going to be at the next level after Amazon’s Mr. Family Man as of October 2019). Anupam Khers also delivers.
Really good writing and storyline make this 2013 film worth watching especially considering blockbuster Bollywood films don’t always hit a six, but this film did. The source material was compelling.
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Kajal Aggarwal, Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Sheirgill, Divya Dutta, Anupam Kher, and Sadh Orhan.
Really pleasantly surprised with this 2018 film that mixes various genres to produce a highly entertaining film.
Since most young guys in today’s world have one thing on their mind (hint: It rhymes with Becks) the movie plays on that from a horror and dark comedy perspective. It does it well.
A horror comedy that has feminism and toxic masculinity undertones, this reminded me to Varun Thakur’s Shaitan Haveli which was an ode to 80s horror b grade flicks.
The actors are in top form and this movie was done very creatively, I think it’s great to watch in a group of friends or couples.
Starring Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor.
75. Super Deluxe
Wonderful acting of the various stories and situations. Fans have compared it to the film Kramer vs Kramer. Some call this 2019 movies a masterpiece.
Various stories are interwoven together. If you like leaning into the subject matter that most of India avoid rather than talks to about to try and solve, then this film does it in a dark comedy sort of way that just works.
Really great filmmaking but won’t be for everyone.
Starring Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, Samantha and Ramya Krishnan.
This 2015 film Based on the 2008 double murder case in Noida this is a crime thriller that won many awards and of course has one of India’s best actors Irrfan Khan at the helm.
Some critics were split based on the adapted source material (e.g. no spoilers here but felt it was biased) but definitely a must watch if you’re in the crime thriller mood.
Starring Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma and Neeraj Kabi.
77. Te3n (2016)
A Hindi crime thriller that is a remake of Montage. Great acting by the king Amitabh.
Very spooky but also beautiful with an all-star cast.
This 2013 Pakistani action film is for fans of the action genre, but if you don’t get caught up in the politics you can watch it objectively.
It’s also the highest-grossing film in Pakistan of all time.
Ram Gopal Varma also gave credits to the film and a few folks didn’t like that was all English. But it’s a god feat of film making to pull of a film of this scale.
Starring Shaan Shahid, Shamoon Abbasi, Ali Azmat and Ayesha Khan.
84. Wake Up Sid
This 2009 movie is about young love and coming of age and given many kids kind of just coast in life given parents who let them, it’s nice to see the undertones of working hard and finding your way in life.
A very nice film overall that finds new territory in the overcrowded romantic genre of Bollywood and set in Mumbai.
Starring: Konkana Sen Sharma, Ranbir Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Supriya Pathak, Rahul Khanna, and Kashmira Shah.
Zero is on this list because If you’re a die-hard SRK fan, despite the low rating it has its charm.
The first half of this film is way better than the second half and if you’re a fan of the big-name actors I’d say give it a go.
If you’re not a die-hard SRK fan please skip this movie.
Just know the ratings of the film come from how it ends and pretty much everything after the intermission. It started with a lot of promise.
I wonder sometimes if the editors at SRK’s studios suffer from an emperor has no clothes mentality, where they don’t want to tell him to cut this or that.
Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif and was the last film appearance of the late SriDevi.
86. Kabir Singh
I couldn’t stand this movie for more than 10 minutes because my wife is a doctor and both of us were just like….really?!?
This is a character we’re supposed to root for? But the audiences seem to love it so give it a watch and see for yourself.
Three hours long and audiences split, but Kabir Singh is one of the new Bollywood movies on Netflix as of October 2019 and for some reason peole keep talking about it. See for yourself maybe?
Starring Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani.
87. Tanu Weds Manu
Who doesn’t love Kangana in this 2011 film? And the fact that her role was so charismatic and done well? A classic movie that has an even better sequel (not on Netflix currently)
Chances are you’ll likely want to watching some more recent on Netflix but if you’re a Kangana fan and somehow missed this movie go ahead and catch up now!
Starring: Kangana Ranaut, R. Madhavan and Jimmy Sheirgill
Sanjay Manaktala was born and raised in America but spent 10 years working with an IT company that rhymes with Baccenture. He spent 5 of those years in Bangalore and knows what it takes to be selected for H1 sponsorship. He is now a stand-up comedian, podcaster, evangelist for IT people across the world, digital filmmaker and author of the Harper Collins book “My Beta Does Computer Things, Your Guide to Love Success Rock and Roll in India’s IT Industry.”
Updated Jan 2020
So You Want To Get a job Onsite Huh?
Do you want to know how to work onshore or get some overseas assignments?
Either with TCS, Infosys, Accenture, Capgemini or whichever IT company you work for?
Most people in India or South Asian countries want to experience working and living abroad and the best way to do that is usually in IT or tech or other STEM fields.
In this post, I’m going to explain how you can get a job in America or Australia or Canada instead of being frustrated by fixing support tickets in your job that seems to be going nowhere. Most things online just say “speak to your manager” but so many techies try that on Day 1, and then the last thing their manager wants to do is make it happen for that spoiled brat (sorry for the honesty).
Whether you work at Cognizant, Wipro or Manjunath Infotech Private Solutions Ltd, this is real advice you may not like to hear about what you need to do to get that onsite salary and experience.
It’s a long post, but I hope it helps if you’re serious about your goals.
Onsite Opportunities | How to Get Selected
Every day, for the last 25+ years an influx of software and business professionals make the migration from offsite (India) to onsite.
And by going onsite, or onshore, I mean the basic practice of having your company give you a posting in places like the US, Canada, Australia, Europe wherever.
For a young professional in IT or tech, onsite jobs are often considered the holy grail.
It has its charm…the obvious financial gains, the thrill of traveling and work experience and of course the social aspects of dating, Las Vegas and social media bragging to your friends about awesome your life is.
So naturally, as someone who has worked for years both offshore and onshore, I’d like to give you a few pointers on how to make it happen.
I know it’s on your mind, I know you love India…but I also know you want to go overseas and ironically that feeling isn’t going anywhere.
Disclaimer: This article is not about leaving India or any national agenda. I know they’re some sensitivities around the brain drain train, a term I just coined in my head about people going and never coming back. But honestly, I’ve worked, lived in and loved both places. This is just a general guide on my own experiences in working onsite and offshore. You obviously need to ask yourself what you truly want and what your long-term goals are, but since a majority of you are young, single and will obviously want to mingle, let’s do this.
1. Why do some people get selected for onsite opportunities?
It’s kind of strange that although so many jobs have been outsourced with advances in communication and collaboration, an increasing number of engineers continue to go work overseas. The simple reality of that is two things at play: Skills and Proximity.
Skills for Onsite
What you decide to learn and focus on during your career will be one of the biggest determinants of getting you on site.
It need not be the current hot skills of big data or analytics or whatever buzzword is trending on nerd Twitter aka Stack Overflow.
Plenty of Java and SQL server admins still get their H1B visa each year, but so many young techies try Python or Hadoop or some tools they have no clue about just because they think folks might be hiring overseas.
In reality, if you’re in an area you truly enjoy you will likely get good at it.
And if you’re good at it, you’ll be the one turning down projects because you’re a stud and have a buffet of options at your disposal.
You want me in Arkansas at Wal-Mart? No thanks, that’s like the veg cutlet. I’ll just head over to these Prawns in San Francisco. Nom nom nom.
Offshore Allstar with choices to choose from.
The only caveat in your technical skill selection is that it should be client/customer-oriented.
For those of you in HR or Facilities or internal tech support (e.g reset my password when I logged in too much cause I was watching Game of Thrones and not paying attention), I’m sorry to tell you it’s a lot harder to make a case here.
The majority of onshore roles go to folks who are supporting customers/clients and not internal IT related functions.
Top 2019 Technical Skills for USA according to Linked IN
I’m sure it’s still possible to go just like they send people for manual testing jobs overseas even, but if you find yourself in that situation start making changes to get you on the product side. Or switch to a different company where you’re MAKING money for the company (e.g. charging to the client) and not spending it (e.g. coming from their pocket).
“Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.” – @naval
I have friends who go onsite to America…from India…and then work from home.
Read that again.
You being relocated is a matter of convenience but also part organizational behavior (e.g the company has so many H1B slots to send every year).
Simple Reasons you’re Onshore:
Clients don’t want to wait 12 hours for an answer on a minor bug fix.
The client likes you.
They want personal face to face time to discuss designs and development.
After having grown dependent on you as their right-hand man or woman during late night/early morning calls, they recognize it would be easier to have you in town.
As you increase your skills and value to your onshore counterparts (e.g. in plain English, do more and more their work) while working offshore, the case for proximity becomes that much stronger and makes a good push to get you on board.
2. Now Learn Additional Technical Skills
Getting good at Java? Cool…now try doing C#.
If you’re doing great on data warehousing projects using Informatica, play around with the other tools out there.
When I used to interview candidates in IT, a lot of people would say things like “Sir I just want to do Oracle” or really only try to master one field.
They’re different schools of thought here, but in business reality, you might have six years of experience in Oracle, two years in SQL Server and then find out the SQL Server role is the one that ended up changing your career. (I really wanted to do SAP, got stuck in Business Intelligence, and I’m so happy I did).
Don’t become a jack of all trades and master of none, but generally once you know one tool/software it becomes easier to learn another, it’s sometimes just a matter of process and where to point and click.
Vendors and internal decision-making also change which tools you may use at any given point, so this is an added benefit.
Every day so many engineers cry to their boss or friends “Nobody is teaching me big data, my life is over.” Ummm…for the PRICE OF YOUR LUNCH OR A BEER you can become an EXPERT AT BIG DATA on sites like Udemy so what the heck are you waiting for! I did the same for blogging and here we are.
If I hear another group of techies on the bus going “macha how to get USA opportunity in TCS da” while then just going to get drunk or stuff their faces with biryani I’m going to cry.
3. Build Relationships with Clients while Offshore
IN A NUTSHELL: START TALKING ON YOUR ONSHORE CALLS.
When you start work in Wipro or Accenture or wherever in India, you will likely have a team leader who will be speaking to your own team members and clients onshore.
You will spend the first few months listening quietly while your team lead handles all the communication. A good team leader will slowly integrate you by having you tell the client a pre-rehearsed update on something simple.
Slowly you will get more and more responsibility and eventually that team lead will sit back and shadow you while you handle the call. Eventually, the client and you will have a usual rapport, you can understand the type of person and moods they have and you both will be colleagues. Naturally, when the roles and opportunities open up for who to bring over, those with a steady relationship and a proven track record would be sure-shot approvals as the risk is minimal.
They don’t feel you’ll quit for 15K more over at Microsoft, they know you can do the work well and most importantly you’re a pleasure to be around.
4. Have Social Skills
Often times the guy or gal who gets to go onshore isn’t the smartest or most technical.
But that need not always be the case. The second best DBA might go onshore over the first simply because he’s funny in meetings or has a smile on his face. Or simply because he takes a shower.
Your company and management want to make sure that you’re going to assimilate well with the people paying them.
You not only deliver your work but you can carry a conversation at lunch, can help others who are making the journey, and can handle critical situations (e.g when some angry client lady in New Jersey is right in your cubicle asking you why the ticket is not resolved that you know how to compose yourself and handle it appropriately).
Human beings are generally social beings and being the engineer who sits in the corner with minimal interaction in some IT dungeon is not the best way to live, so put a smile on your face and at least make an attempt to get to know those around you!
Programmers make the product, but powerpoint makes the profit.
How amazing would you be if you can do both?
Software developers can know Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, English, C++, Python, Java, HTML, CSS, and 20 other things. Then you ask them to help with a deck that communicates a product’s benefits in the market and they get a little upset.
5. Be Patient
Applying for an H1 visa takes about a year.
You also need a few years at your company to prove that you’re committed, loyal and oh yeah, do the work well. Nobody is going to spend thousands of dollars bringing over a 22-year-old on all-expenses paid business vacation, so don’t expect it. I’m sure it’s not impossible but for the majority of us…get to know yourself, build your skills, make friends and just enjoy your time in the early years of making a career.
I would say most onsite techies are between 25 and 35. The younger ones aren’t ready yet and the older ones are probably too settled or content in their current roles/personal lives to be interested. Once you accept these timelines, it makes it easier to enjoy each day and improve your own work in the process, which will obviously only make you onshore case that much stronger.
It will also help in passing the time since you know, you’re not just waiting for the next role and feeling miserable in the current one.
6. Talk to People who have Been There
What does someone actually do onshore?
How is it different than the work you’re doing in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyd or Delhi?
What is expected of you different from the coding you’re already doing?
How much are the expenses?
How much can you save per annum?
Are you ready for another 2-3 year commitment in your current company?
If you haven’t asked yourself these questions, you shouldn’t be blindly looking for an onshore role.
Most people in any career don’t do the simple task of asking someone “Hey, can you be my mentor.”
It does sound like a marriage proposal, I know.
But to be honest, if you actually ask someone they’ll most likely be flattered and have no issues speaking to you for 10 minutes every three months on how things are going. Don’t go ask the CEO when you see him in the elevator, but it doesn’t hurt to ask someone a level or two above you to guide you over a coffee from time to time. Onshore or not, this matters.
7. Tell Your Manager You Want to go Onshore Eventually
This is the last point I’m making for a reason (unless you comment a few more additional points you’d like me to discuss). The number one turnoff for an interviewer, when interviewing someone for a job or a project is when candidates ask for onsite roles in the first few months on the job.
It shows an indifference to the actual work of learning the technologies and getting good at your profession and more on the perks and benefits. But obviously, you should let it be known so the whole “Be Patient” thing pays off.
A good manager will recognize your hard work and want to reward you down the road, while also juggling how to ask his or her managers to get the ball rolling on your deployment.
So let it be known, but don’t push it.
A good rule of thumb is to bring it up after 18 months, and then remind your manager or leads every 4-5 months and as common sense dictates (e.g. don’t bring it up in the middle of a crisis but maybe just over a coffee when things are smooth).
Human beings generally want to rewards those have helped them out and a good team leader/manager will recognize getting you onshore is a better alternative to losing you completely.
If you do the techniques above, you will have plenty of onsite opportunities at your disposal.
Now good luck with that visa interview.
I know plenty of amazing people who work offshore, and plenty of less than stellar folks who work onshore. And of course vice versa. But one of the most exciting parts of your early career is the travel and experiences which come with it. So I hope the above tips were helpful and comment any questions below!
His palms are sweaty, knees deep, mom’s spaghetti.
Those lyrics may come to mind when you think of being on stage with the spotlight in your face, looking at an infinite sea of black which might actually be 500 people briefly focused on you until they decide to go back to their phones.
What will you do?
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity…
Ok drama aside, for many the same feeling might arise when you’re presenting a powerpoint to 4 people in your team.
Welcome to the wonderful world of stage fright.
If an investment banker gets friend-zoned is he a mutual friend?
Why You Need to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
We live in a world where everybody needs to be a creator.
Whether you’re a car dealership, an accountant, a dentist or a software engineer…you’re going to need to use the wonderful medium of live video, webinars, digital advertising, social media and graphics to sell your story.
You may hate it, but the future is now, and it requires you to speak up.
Google has its developers making YouTube channels, dentists are crushing it on Facebook Video (who wouldn’t want to go a funny charismatic dentist?) and closer to reality, B2B businesses are all leveraging LinkedIn, Facebook Ads and free tutorials to educate you on their products.
Between you and me, I’d much rather watch a video about my industry or newest software offering than read another 40 page white-paper.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, well, you got to stand up in front of the crowd.
The good news is that it’s totally doable.
The bad news is most people still won’t do it. Those who embrace this rather than say “Oh I’m camera shy or public speaking gives me anxiety” are the ones who will get on top in today’s dwindling attention spanned world.
What’s that saying…success is usually right outside your comfort zone?
So are you ready?
How To Overcome Stage Fright
So how do you overcome your fear of stage fright and public speaking? Quite simply:
Memorize Your Slides/Talk and then Improvise
Modulate your Voice
Keep it Short
Rinse and Repeat.
It’s really that simple. No apps, no life hacks, no crazy tricks…just good old fashioned doors closed practice. Your favorite stand up comedians, Ted speakers and keynotes all pretty much do the same thing.
Now, let’s go through each one. And no, imagining your audience naked or in their underwear is a bunch of nonsense.
1. Memorize and Improvise
How can a developer at Google fail at a presentation when they know the ins and outs of the tech, while some douchey sales guy can get a massive round of applause?
That always bugged me, because the tech guy was doing all the hard work yet failing at communicating any of it to clients. The sales guy was selling garbage yet had clients eating out of his hands.
What was going on?
No, this wasn’t rocket science. This was the simple fact that the sales people know that reading off slides or going into details on a super dense piece of text was going to be a snooze fest. It doesn’t matter if you had figured out how to crack the speed of light, nobody was going to pay attention or really be focused when social media was a thumb scroll away.
Memorization is a skill we lack these days thanks to Google letting us keep our brains in the cloud, so rather than try to focus on building those connections we simply assume we can check it on our phones. As a result, we apply that to everything.
But those who continue to focus on the fundamentals will be at an advantage. When you do need to get up in front of the crowd, the fact that you’ll never have to refer to your notes or or slide will enable you to do what counts…get your message across in an effective way.
Most people are bad at public speaking not because they’re inherently nervous…but that they’re so focused on reciting their lines they don’t have any charisma to keep the audience interested, regardless of what those lines are.
Ditto for acting anyone?
Practice makes perfect sense. It’s beyond me why nobody does it. When you actually stand up and practice in front of a mirror or an empty boardroom, it’s not childish or lame. It’s effective.
You learn your timings, you understand where you have gaps, you realize you’re still looking too much at the screen, and you find transition points between slides or topics.
I don’t know when practicing became this amateur thing that most business or corporate folks felt was beneath them, but those in the performing industry know it’s called rehearsal for a reason. And if we’re all going to be performs in our respective domains in the future, time to get rehearsing right?
3. Eye Contact
Eye Contact is not something you need to learn from a pickup artist course or be scared of. It’s just when you’re talking to a group, it helps to give everybody equal attention. If you’re in a large hall or concert, then give each section a bit of attention with a slight preference to the middle.
When you’re in person a good rule of thumb is to look at someone just long enough to notice the color of their eyes, but regardless, this should be organic. If you have anxiety or uncontrollable tension then just look over their heads (we’ll assume you’re looking at the person behind us) and it will be fine.
But connecting with different angles of your audience is like changing camera angles in film editing. It adds to the variety and keeps the movement flowing, so your audience subtly feels more engaged than just a dead center presentation.
And as mentioned before, if you don’t memorize your talking points then there’s no point flowing around the stage as you’ve just amplified the fact that you need to keep reverting back to your notes.
This one takes time, we hear our voice quite differently than everyone else thanks to the vantage point of our ears to our vocal chords and vibration and yada yada. Point being, there is a reason many of us can’t stand to hear our own voice…because it sounds way different when we hear ourselves talk from the inside versus hearing it out of speakers.
Now imagine your audience. Your voice is fine, but if there’s no variation, no characters (e.g. change you voice when you go into a story, or pretend to say “You must be thinking”) then those folks will start to wander.
Again, it’s never been harder to keep people engaged as the digital platforms continue to hack away at all the tricks, but the easiest way to adjust on the fly is simply play with your voice.
You may not always have an option to do this, but if you’re talking about a slowdown in the market, try slowing down. If you’re pretending to be a customer, change your accent or tone. Whatever you need to do, try and mix it up.
5. Keep It Short
A lot of young engineers and corporate kids think if they are given a 15 minute speech, they need to pack it in with as much detail as possible. Well, quality over quantity my friend.
In comedy we say less is more and to cut the fat, but the real truth is when you’re in these workshops or conferences or keynotes, nobody will say “What an amazing presentation but he still had 3 minutes left.” You’d much rather have a killer 80 minute movie with a banger ending (and leave the audience wanting to watch the behind the scenes on the DVD) than a 120 minute stretched out drama.
If you’re confident about your software tool, your design strategy or your product updates, you should be more than able to fill in the remaining time left with questions, or extra talking points you may have as a backup. Or just end on a high note and leave them wanting more!
6. Rinse and Repeat
I’ve seen 50 year old men tremble and shake when asked to present a talk or do stand up comedy, and I’ve seen 21 year old “life coaches” and sales reps just nail it for a large group of baby boomers. The digital revolution is changing the ways in which we communicate but the messaging principles stay the same.
In copyrighting they talk about A.I.D.A. (attention, interest, desire, action) and whether you’re working on a 10 second Instagram ad or a 45 minute keynote, the principles will more or less be the same. Once you learn the notes (e.g. memorize over one 90 minute session) you can pretty much play the song however you want and remix to your heart’s content.
After a while you’ll thank your lucky stars that taking an hour a month to nail down your talking points and actually work on them away from Instagram got you years ahead of your peers.
Stage Fright and Public speaking are totally understandable, but also totally over analyzed.
The strange thing for me personally was when I started doing stand up comedy, I ended up getting promoted faster at my IT job because those speaking skills translated really well in product demos and client visits.
If you want to have an edge on your peers and improve yourself for the better, you need to learn to speak to a group and make your voice heard. Schools don’t teach it but the School of hard knocks require it to graduate (aka Life) so get to it!
They’re so many popular bloggers in India its hard to keep up.
Combine that with the social media lifestyle of millennials and the world’s cheapest Internet (thanks Ambani!), knowing who to follow for your fashionista inspiration can be tricky.
Some bloggers have very creative and unique styles and build a solid brand and design aesthetic, while others just seem to be an aggregator of Pinterest fashion with the goal of selling you sponsored products.
Some want to just show you pictures of themselves on holiday, others add value with fashion, makeup, travel, design and even bridal or wedding tips for your everyday life.
Very few do it all well, which is the sweet spot of an “influencer” that brands seem to love.
I recently had one of the top fashion bloggers in Bangalore on my show and was researching the market to understand what a fashion blogger does and how they get popular on Instagram.
As part of that research, I wanted to know who the most famous ones were so I could understand the market.
And also, so you don’t have to.
The best fashion bloggers in India are:
Caught In A Cuff | Riya Jain
Shruti Chauhan | CallmeShruts
Kritika Khurana | That Boho Girl
Ankita Chaturvedi | Corallista
Aayushi | Styledrive
Namrata | My Closet Diary
Rohina Anand Khira
All of the bloggers handles and detailed information is below.
What Makes A Good Fashion Blogger?
As mentioned above, some of these girls know how to monetize their audiences and add value, others simply take whichever products from L’oreal and Nykaa, ask you to join a contest and pick it up.
Just like you can’t trust Amazon reviews blindly, if you’re looking for fashion tips and tricks it’s better you glance at each one’s Instagram grid and see who suits you.
Additionally, many actually have websites where they go beyond the IG captions and selfies, while others do that PLUS have very dedicated YouTube channels.
Pick the ones you like, add them to your feed and have some happy, joyous and creative days ahead!
All of the folks on this list have active Instagram accounts, many also act and have an actual blog website, and others are YouTubers, content creators, models and even mommies. If you have any suggestions drop them in the comments!
A unique look, an active website that goes beyond what Instagram can offer (would like to see more detailed write ups!) and food and diet tips (who doesn’t love a smoothie bowl) make it easy to see why Akanksha is one of the most sought after names in influencing and brand activations.
This Delhi based blogger shares advice on fashion, lifestyle, food and family while standing out from an increasingly crowded space. She also has a very active Pinterest which helps to make her one of the top bloggers in India.
You Should Follow If: You’re looking for fashion and lifestyle inspiration that is part Indian, part boho chic and 100% stylish.
The Viral Fever is the creator behind a lot of digital content in India and now they’ve moved into fashion and lifestyle blogs with Komal Pandey’s YouTube channel. Komal has quickly moved into the Indian fashion lifestyle space with Vlogs on life, house tours, answering questions and even doing the videos about replying to hate comments and DIY shopping guides.
Collaborations, good production quality (on most videos) and highly curated feed make Komal one of the most popular Instagram bloggers currently in the Indian space with highly influential reach for a young target market.
You Should Follow If: You like trendy fashion tips which are heavily curated in the Indo-western space. A good all around blog to follow.
I personally stumbled upon Riya’s profile years ago when I was getting into lightroom presets (a type of photo editing filter for the laptop) and instantly noticed a unique aesthetic that grabs your attention.
Part golden, part teal and orange it’s easy to have one look at her feed and notice the power of picking a style and sticking with it.
In the last year she’s collaborated with other bloggers and increased her following to quickly become one of the most sought after names in the space, including trips overseas with major labels like Lakme and Loreal.
We’d like to see her update her website a bit more for folks who want more than what Instagram has to offer but overall a very unique and influential style! Maybe a YouTube channel in the mix for the future?
You Should Follow If: You like daily inspiration in the fashion and beauty (including hair) tips and want to track her journey as she’s on the upswing.
Arguably one of the leaders in the Indian fashion blogging space is Santoshi Shetty, who has built a following on social media for years now. Traveling between the UK and India provides for some very cool and funky styles that inspires India’s increasingly affluent Mumbai and Delhi based middle class.
The Funky European styles with a preference for vintage and denim, along with heavy brand deals across brick and mortar outlets like Shopper Stop have made Santoshi a pioneer for a lot of young girls looking to move into the fashionista space. She also has a traditional blog called the Style Edge but it would appear most of her efforts are on Instagram at the moment as the posts appear to be less frequent.
You Should Follow If: You want to see the fashion blogger that all your favorite fashion bloggers follow. Also cool european meets Indian trendy styles. Also for the denim lovers!
You’ve also seen her with roles in Gully Boy and other films. She’s also very active with all the major magazines and works with the Inega agency on various projects.
You Should Follow If: You like more traditional magazine style fashion styles dressed up via agency guidelines with runway looks and professional makeup artists. In other words, you want to follow a professional model/actor but also be inspired for your big nights out.
She blogs about retail brands, travel and lifestyle and travels outside of the North East as needed. Many bloggers such as Swagata are also moving into video which is great to give us a more realistic view of inspiration rather than straight up filtered looks.
A similar teal/orange/rustic design aesthetic on the feed and a sun kissed sort of vibe to the whole profile continues the trend that is popular with India’s fashionable youth.
You Should Follow If: You cheerful summer inspirations with an Indian twist. Also a blog which is thankfully updated over at ThinkLikeThat.in
Daniel Wellington (the watch brand) just flew Aashna and others to Paris for a brand activation, and it’s easy to see why. The very popular blogger has also put in the work with close to 5,000 Instagram posts.
She also has a YouTube channel that is like many fashion Vloggers setup with personal bedroom conversations and hair/makeup/life updates. Beer Biceps (another lifestyle YouTube channel) also featured her in a video in which she says she makes over 10L per month from Instagram alone! Wow!
You Should Follow If: You want to be a blogger and looking to see what works. She also blogs and does TedX talks about her journey which is more tangible inspiration than most as nobody wants to share all their secrets.
In marketing we say what sells more than beauty? Humor! And I’ve been tracing Rahika’s journey on Instagram for years now, since as a comedian I would like to know who’s doing what in terms of digital content and comedy.
Influenced heavily from the Vine generation Radhika posts tons of fashionista type of photos but also builds her own personal brand and personality with short silly sketches and international YouTube collaborations.
She also recently just crossed 1M Instagram followers and I’m sure you’re going to see this NRI fashion blogger pretty much everywhere in the coming months!
You Should Follow If: You like a lot of the funny Instagram comedic sketches from America and like some humor with your daily fashion blogging dose.
One of the most popular fashion bloggers in Bangalore and my personal favorite since she came on my podcast is Aswathi Balakirshnan. She also has a website and holds the title of most popular fashion blogger from Kerala also, as awarded by me just now.
You Should Follow If: You like cosmopolitan looks, want insights into how to be a fashion blogger, are looking for South Indian bloggers to follow and just need inspiration for that elegant office or a night on the town look.
A luxury fashion blogger and content creator besides the usual is how Natasha describers herself in her Instagram bio. Brand deals with Nykaa and Sephora and others in Mumbai make her one of the newer faces (I think) in the influencer space that’s worth a mention here.
Recently married into a Navy family isn’t a story many Indian fashion bloggers can share but Anshita takes the crown here. This Delhi based influencer shares lifestyle, makeup and fashion tips primarily from her Instagram account and was a 2016 Cosmopolitan award winner.
As mentioned earlier I find it great when influencers also have their own label, as is the case with Juhi. We tried to visit her website listed in her brand Arabellaa’s bio but it was down, but their page is very much active.
Either way she has a YouTube channel that she’s been putting in the wok on and really crafting a unique name for herself. Keep going!
You Should Follow If: You want to see how to grow a fashion/lifestyle/VLOG type of channel from scratch, and also see how to use fashion blogging and influencing to sell your company brand, in addition to your personal brand as well.
An actress who kind of looks like Shirley Setia but also diversifies her brand by influencing on fashion and lifestyle tips. You’ll find tips on skincare, travel, clothing and the occasional plug for her latest film or acting work.
Her signature greeting is “Hey Lovelies” so go ahead and follow her for inspiration on Bollywood, influencing and travel as her featured story highlights have them all recapped.
You Should Follow If: You like seeing the world through the popular influencer who just passed 1 million followers. Barkha is definitely one of India’s most followed Instagram accounts in the fashion space.
Oh hello That Boho Girl! Kritika Khurana is very active in India’s social media circuit and has a very engaged audience with each post getting between 100 and 500 comments. Not bad at all for someone with close to 700K followers (at the time of this writing).
Her YouTube channel and travel diaries are also very popular with the youth and there seems to be a decent balance between brand work and value based content that will help you decide what to wear or where to travel.
You Should Follow If: You want to be part of a highly engaged community as she calls her group #BohoFam and they seem to follow with pride.
Ankita has been doing makeup tutorials on YouTube for over 8 years and I’m glad to see both her YouTube channel and Instagram page getting the recognition it deserves. Although she is more content creator than fashion blogger, she seems to do it all and adds value with most posts, although there does appear to be a lot of contests and giveaways on the current timeline.
Regardless, nice to see hard work and talent pay off! I love all the tips and tricks and so does her audience! Ankita also spends her time between India and France so that’s a cool fun fact and she probably gets tons of inspiration to share shuttling between the two places!
You Should Follow If: You want to see how to execute a Fashion and Beauty YouTube Channel and use Instagram to support as a secondary channel. Nice to see someone show you their skills on camera!
Gym wear, monsoon hair care and how to not be stressed at work. These are all great tips for the millenial city girl and you can also find that and more on Gia’s website. I’m glad it’s updated and even more frequent is her Instagram which is why we’ve listed it here.
Bangalore’s number 1 fitness blogger is also well versed in fashion, lifestyle, travel, tech and much more. Brand work with Kazo and Pantaloons plus many more companies makes Namrata a sought after face in the South Indian influencing scene.
Whether it’s a local Indian restaurant or a major cosmetics label, influencing can have various ROI across industries and Namrata proves it.
You Should Follow Her If: You want to see someone who is doing it all.
Recently engaged Malvika Sitllani (who just made a 40 minute YouTube video talking about proposal) is one of the top beauty bloggers from India on Instagram and YouTube. She focuses primarily on skincare and makeup but also has plenty of posts regarding fashion and lifestyle advice.
Her YouTube is booming with over 400K subscribers and collaborations with other leading Indian influencers like Komal Pandey. She also posts cover songs, personal pics and life advice via Insta captions.
You Should Follow If: You want to see just how someone can become Cosmopolitan’s Best Beauty Blogger in 2019. HINT: A hard working schedule, solid design aesthetic and consistency yet authenticity seem to help!
Miss Bahrain from 2013 is now a leading influencer and blogger and very popular amongst the Indian audiences. She travels the world and most recently was in Jaipur on a very cool AirBNB campaign.
You’ll find a heavily curated feed in Pryanca’s profile that is half Bali free spirited blogger, half Vogue cover girl and 100 percent professional.
You Should Follow If: You want ideas on travel and fashion advice from around the world with an emphasis on an Indian target group, since I’ll assume based on her sponsored posts that’s where her main audience is.
I’m not sure if Shani Amit is Indian or even lives here, but I know all of the best Indian fashion bloggers follow her so I’ve got to put her on this list. Is she influencing the influencers?
A very upmarket style that is also a bit Bali or Thailand free-spirit inspired, she travels the world taking some very high quality photos that must really work well for her sponsoring clients.
Shani also seems to get very high international engagement for major western cities like New York, Paris and Italy so it’s easy to see why fans of travel blogs combined with fashion really like her posts.
On a personal front though let me tell you that some of these pictures must take hours to setup so all this effort is not eas. Glad it’s paying off!
You Should Follow If: You want to see who the best Indian bloggers currently follow and get some of their inspirations from.
Beauty, fashion and lifestyle is the trifecta of fashion bloggers. Fitness is also creeping into the mix and this Debasree is leading the charge with brand deals from HRX (from the Cult Fitness team) and other major companies.
Cosmopolitan India recognized her as one of the Best Beauty Bloggers in the country and her grid is half curated, half personal and authentic. I like that she puts up personal pictures once in a while and seems (or so it appears) to post everything herself without too much corporate strategy behind it.
Debasree is also one of the best beauty bloggers from Kolkata!
You Should Follow Her If: You’re looking for girl next door inspiration in the big cities!
Not every fashion blogger needs to be directly into fashion to inspire, just like a lot of us follow actors who may also give us style tips. Case in point is Rohina who again makes this list because she uses social media to build her personal brand and her business simultaneously and does it in a fresh way.
Fans of interior design and wellness will enjoy seeing what inspires her to make a house a home and it’s easy to see why she was awarded Elite Woman of the year for 2019.
You Should Follow Her If: You like to be inspired on everyday style tips including living spaces, working spaces, and occasional bouts of wisdom ala Instagram motivation.
YouTuber Sherry Shroff has taken a lawyer’s work ethic to digital, with three YouTube channels and now a very active Instagram on top of that. Primarily focused on travel, fashion and lifestyle Sherry and her husband try and create relatable content for pretty much everyone. Recent posts also include collaborations with other creators.
Whether it be travel tips, casual wear or home decor, Sherry has opened up her life in a very authentic way that will get you to follow whether you realize it or not.
You Should Follow If: You want some authentic Vlog type of inspiration from a seasoned YouTube personality who knows how to create compelling click worthy content on IG or longer YouTube videos. You won’t find your typical fashion blogging profile here however.
From Bridal skincare to trying to look like a BTS band member, Jovita George has a growing Instagram presence in the beauty blogger space as well as a half a million strong subscriber base on YouTube.
Covering the traditional makeup and cosmetics reviews and tutorials with an Indian flare, including celebrity collaborations with Katrina Kaif and others has been exciting to see.
Consistency is key in social media influencing and if you haven’t stumbled upon her profile yet go ahead and give it a look. Jovita is a very popular Indian influencer in the Middle east as well.
You Should Follow Her If: You want skincare and beauty tips with the occasional photoshoot. A nice mix between unfiltered and filtered that is more realistic yet also very engaging with a very active audience base.
She also likes talking about married and family life which I’m sure will be relatable to people above 25.
Also one of the most popular fashion influencers in Dubai.
You Should Follow If: You want inspiration as you get more mature in your life aka get into a relationship and/or have kids, as most of these activities take money and it’s nice to see an honest view on how we all would personally experience similar destinations!
Actor turned influencer and fitness buff Devika Singh shares all sorts of photos, from professional shoots to showcases of her work. Those looking for gym wear and casual western styles will enjoy getting inspired by the various looks.
It’s also cool to see an actor’s progression in Bollywood and ad shoots through the lens of an IG timeline.
You Should Follow If: You want to act or get on screen and see how actors and media types are using social media and influencing to showcase their work and supplement their income.
Do you have any suggestions for folks to add to this list? Please comment below!
It’s an exciting time across the world as social media pretty much affects all that we do or buy, and humans are spending 30% of their waking time on their phone.
India has a massive online population thanks to the world’s cheapest Internet so look for more and more unique diversification in the influencing and fashion blogging space. It’s also great to see Indo-western styles getting popular across the globe!
Sanjay Manaktala is the founder of the SanjayComedy.com blog, a stand up comedian and digital content creator. He jokes and writes about all things digital, whether it be stand up comedy, YouTube, social media or even finding your full potential.
Relationships are so wonderfully complicated aren’t they?
We spend our whole lives believing that a partner is the key to our happiness when the real answer is quite different.
Another person can’t make you happy, they can only complement your existing happiness.
And trying to make yourself happy is the real question in life most of should focus our efforts. Then when we at least have an idea on how to get there…sure, go ahead and share the journey with someone worthwhile.
Unfortunately thanks to:
Hollywood and Bollywood,
the rise of social media
the cloud of comparisons the internet has to offer
we’re all realizing that true love is a lot less Cinderella and a lot more Gone Girl meets My Crazy Ex Girlfriend.
Guys are stupid, women are crazy and women are stupid and guys are crazy.
While there might be someone for everyone, there isn’t everyone for someone and a lot of people end up in relationships that are far from ideal.
I’ve been there and chances are if you’re reading this you might have ended up in similar territory. Insecurity in a relationship are normal but when insecurities define the relationships…boy oh boy.
Toxic behavior, toxic love and toxic relationships get thrown around a lot these days on toxic Twitter, so lets try to tackle at least one of them.
Even if you’re the most normal, clean cut, honest and sincere person on Earth…chances are, you’ll probably fall into a toxic relationship at least once in your life.
What is a Toxic Relationship?
They’re lots of definitions of what a toxic relationship is, but unfortunately just like the word “shaming” has been used and abused online, every single argument or fight isn’t grounds for the Toxic Relationships awards. (Can we call these the Toxies?!?)
Your doctor telling you that you’re too overweight isn’t fat shaming, and every fight with your girlfriend isn’t grounds for toxic behavior.
All couples fight, all have disagreements and and anything worth doing requires commitment, sacrifice and effort.
However, when it’s more trouble than it’s worth and you spend more time walking on eggshells in fear of pissing the other person off, well…you might just be in a toxic relationship. Constant fighting in a relationship is also dangerous if it hints at something deeper than just “You didn’t make the bed!”
For the purposes of this post:
A toxic relationship is any romantic relationships in which two people are constantly fighting, controlling or trying to compete with one another. Or in simpler terms, a toxic relationship is one in which there is no respect for one or both partners.
What Isn’t a Toxic Relationship?
If you truly love and admire your partner and think that you’re blessed to have found your soulmate, chances are you’re not in a toxic relationship.
Most happy marriages (which doesn’t seem to be the majority mind you based on 50% divorce rates) have squabbles and the occasional volcanic eruption, but for the most part are based on respect for the individual and the overall goals of the couple and their families.
Yes, love can fade, mishaps happen, life has stress and things can be unpredictable. Money, the news, families and personalities can all clash.
But if you in your heart of hearts have unconditional love for your partner the way you do for your mom or siblings, you’re probably not in “toxic relationship” even though the fights are getting a little too frequent.
Not all bad relationships are toxic but I’m pretty sure all toxic relationships are bad.
no one: married girls on insta: being in love is the HARDEST thing ever but so WORTH IT we fight NONSTOP but we love like CRAZY I fucking HATE my husband but that’s just part of being in LOVE true love is DIRTY & HARD but so REWARDING I LOVE doing his LAUNDRY & wiping his ASS
If you’re unsure if you’re just “going through a rough patch” and don’t want to quit when it counts, I totally get it. Nobody wants to risk their future on challenging times and there is no guarantee other relationships won’t have similar issues.
If however you’re really pulling your hair out and this is starting to feel like more trouble than it’s worth…well, read on and see if all of this feels a little too familiar.
1. First Reaction When They Call
One of the first signs of an unhealthy relationship starts at the most basic level…communication.
When your phone rings and you see that it’s him or her, are you easy, neutral or excited? Or is your first thought…”FU*K!”
If the latter, well, starting short and sweet…you know that’s probably not a good thing.
It’s fine if you’re a texter and she’s a caller or vice versa, but simple communication need not be so stressful.
Side Note: If you have a friend or sibling who you think is in a bad relationship, notice how their facial expressions change when they answer a partner’s phone call.
2. The Past is Always In The Present
You dated that person, what were you thinking!
You liked my cousin or best friend first!
You slept with so many people before you knew me.
You’re just like your father.
Your mom doesn’t like me.
You’re not over your ex.
History is great to learn lessons for the future, but unfortunately in modern romance it also sometimes becomes part of the present.
In many relationships a guy might like a girl because she’s this super hot dancer or model or whatever, and then never let it go that she always had romantic options and you know, took advantage of them.
Or a girl might be in love with some Don Juan playboy, then go bonkers with insecurity and doubt from all his female friends.
It’s totally human to have jealousy and insecurity, but if you jump into something or someone for the wrong reasons those things don’t just vanish with time. Be honest about yourself and your relationships, which leads me to my next point.
3. There Is No Respect for Him or Her
My mom says this to me all the time and I thought it was just typical auntie speak so I rolled my eyes throughout my teens and twenties when she’d preach it. But now it makes so much sense.
It really just boils down to respect.
Think about it.
Have you ever heard someone say “Man I love him so much. Oh but I don’t respect him?!?”
Let’s be honest…we all have friends who marry the first person they meet or hookup with despite a million red flags. Maybe that’s you?
You’re scared to be alone, or you think you’ll never find someone else again. I get it.
Starting over is scary. But so is quitting your job to pursue your passion or starting a business. But people do it all the time.
If you never really respected the person beyond the first hookup, well, this is like building a foundation that’s ready to crumble. Other ways to see if you have a respect problem:
If you think you’re a hot shot at your tech job and her social media job is BS, chances are you have zero respect for your partners professions.
If you’re a doctor and he’s a nurse, ditto.
If he’s a comedian and you’re an investment banker, don’t pretend like you admire his early hustle when deep down you’re waiting for him to return to the corporate world.
If your family is loaded and his parents are lower middle class, and you secretly never want to visit their house or bring them around…well, I mean…come on.
Respect is such a simple thing, but it’s often overlooked due to physical attraction or insecurities.
Don’t let it happen to you.
Respecting a man or woman doesn’t just mean opening the door for them or paying the bill sometimes. It means you look up to them (or evenly) and want to share this journey called life together. It means you have partners you admire and qualities you know will also make you a better person and vice versa.
4. You’d Break Up, But You Don’t Want To Be Alone
I don’t understand why it’s so hard to admit “I’m lonely.”
We’re all lonely bro.
Sure, it might have taken you 25 years to get that first human to touch your lips, but so what? It also took you 22 years to get a paycheck, or an MBA, or a flight overseas.
I also understand that maybe you’re 34 and you’re not going to meet another guy tomorrow who will then be ready to have kids by 36.
But again, people do it all the time.
And you know what’s worse than being single at 35 with no kids and a ticking clock?
Being single at 45 with the same situation.
So why do you want to double down on a losing bet? Marriage and kids ain’t gonna solve this headache Sharon.
Also, while it might have taken you years to get comfortable with your toxic ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, trust me, as you get older, it thankfully gets way easier to know if someone is right for you.
The best part of bad relationships is that they may not teach you what you want, but they do teach you what they don’t want.
And using that lens is a surprisingly effective way to clear through the modern dating clutter to find someone who really makes you feel happier again. (Not happy in general, that’s all you fam).
If you’re 40 and realizing this isn’t going anywhere, then:
Cut the cord (e.g. End it)
Hit the gym (we all need to go).
Sign up for the apps (online dating is now just dating)
Be honest about what you’re looking for.
Go On dates (get ready for tens or even hundreds of awkward encounters)
Ignore your ex’s hobbies on social media and let them make a fool of themselves.
Get to know yourself again. (hardest on this list)
Embrace boredom and being alone.
It won’t be easy, but take it from someone who has done all of the above it will probably be one of the best phases of your life in hindsight.
5. You Keep Track of Everything
Scorecards are great for competitions, but unfortunately relationships aren’t basketball games and keep the shots on the court.
I don’t know who has paid for dinner more between my brother and I, yet in toxic relationships this is the first quarter in which people start keeping score. Then it moves into things like:
I helped you get that job.
Who connected you with that vendor?
I fixed your dad’s garage.
I made dinner last night, last month or last year.
I’m not saying you should pay for everything in a relationship (one of my biggest peeves is that) but when you keep score of who does what for the other person it says a few things about your situation. One, you’re helping with expectation (a problem most of us have) and two, the score says that one of you is winning.
Winning what exactly?
Ahh, so you’re comparing yourself to them. One of you needs to have the upper hand. What else is going on?
It’s normal to let these things come up (I mean, if you bought your wife a car for her birthday and got a cake at yours, sure, go ahead and feel a little angry) but when you track EVERYTHING CONSTANTLY is when problems arise. Didn’t I make dinner for you last month? How can you say I never cook?
Having conversations like these on a weekly basis are treading into toxic territory!
6. One Person is Too Dependent
I just love him too much.
What does that even mean?
I see it all the time however, especially in situations when one highly independent person dates or marries a highly dependent person.
The independent person likes to continue to go out with his boys (or girls), hang out with colleagues and travel for work. The dependent person has morphed his or her world to match that of their partners.
Problems ahead? You betcha.
Now one person feels suffocated, while the other continues to feel neglected. That turns into arguments, fights and resentment.
Every relationship needs balance.
On the flip side both of you shouldn’t be doing your own things all the time and only meet at night or for sleeping, but make sure you get somebody who is on your wavelength.
Whether that be communication styles and frequency (more on that below) or on simply existing together, most healthy relationships are ones in which differences can be celebrated rather than highlighted.
It’s good your partner wants to go on that Yoga retreat for 5 days to improve his or her mental and physical well being, so rather than go nuts wondering why they don’t want you to come (Do you even Yoga bro?) appreciate the effort and let them shine?
Everybody agrees on a balanced life, so why can’t we agree on a balanced relationship?
7. They Can Never Be Happy For You
You got promoted at work? Nice, so did your boss quit?
Netflix called for your TV show script? I mean, wow, I heard they’re super competitive, don’t get your hopes up!
Why do you even work with her? She’s such a bi***. (But you always thought your boss was fine?).
Your friends wedding was nice, but was it really required to spend so much money?
Attitudes are contagious and so is negative thinking.
Just like one slice of pizza can ruin an entire day’s workout, so to can on 30 minute rant affect your entire outlook on work or family.
Misery loves company, and if you found yourself younger being so happy go lucky and now jaded and resentful, this might be your relationships. (It could also just be the career grind as you get older, to be fair).
In relationships, two negatives don’t make a positive but one negative definitely makes the whole thing negative!
I don’t know the science behind negative people, but it’s easy to spot genuine excitement versus resentment, jealousy or fear of you moving on. You might be so excited you got that position you worked so hard for, but all they might hear is now you’ll have to travel more and meet other people.
A good litmus test would be to share exciting news with your partner, and then share it with a friend completely unrelated to the accomplishment at hand. (e.g. If you passed your law exam, share it with your aunt or medical school friend).
Isn’t it odd how your friend, family or acquaintance showed more excitement and sincerity than your husband or wife?
People who constantly belittle their partners, or even themselves are not the kind of toxic people you need in your life. Help them, or help yourself and move on.
The toxicity of our city…(System of Down reference anyone?)
8. Controlling Relationships
You know what really grinds my gears? People who tell you where to go when they can’t even drive.
In relationship speak, these are people who want to throw their weight around even when it’s not required. I don’t know what controlling behavior stems from, but I’m going to guess it has to do with insecurity and self doubt.
“Maybe people control because they are afraid of being abandoned. They don’t feel secure in their relationships and are often testing to see if they’re about to be betrayed. The paradox is that their behavior creates exactly what they fear the most.”
We see it all the time.
Your husband giving you career advice when he has no clue about your field.
You’re ok with the waiter taking five extra minutes to bring the water, but your spouse needs you to be just as irritated.
One of you has a headache, and now both of you better not go to that birthday party.
Controlling behavior also stems from projection, in which maybe I never followed my dreams of starting a business so now I’ll be annoyed if you do. We project our own insecurities and doubts on someone else and only feel validated when they have the same experience.
Radio was one of the earliest forms of modern communication. Radio signals are made of radio raves. Earlier I said find someone who is on your wavelength.
Coincidence? No wave! (ok sorry)
Point being, communication in relationships shouldn’t be so difficult. Or at least day to day communication shouldn’t be this challenging.
A good early sign for many relationships is if he or she is a constant effort on WhatsApp or texting. You want to be at work (with it’s own stresses) uninterrupted and focused, but now you feel those 600 messages in your pocket.
Uff, spare me the horror.
If that kind of non stop, no time for anything else messaging is your cup of tea, then sure, find someone who is like that JUST AS MUCH. But if not, live and let live?
It only takes a second to plant a crappy thought in someone’s mind for the rest of the day, and renting out negative space in your mind’s real estate should warrant Park Avenue prices.
I have friends and family who purposely put off talking to their spouse or consciously avoid 100 messages until they’re ready to tackle the whole thing on a coffee break, but again, why let it get to that?
Sometimes silence makes the loudest noise, and true love, living together and companionship is knowing that life is not just movies, meals and talking all day. Learn to appreciate (and value) your time away as that’s what makes your time together important.
You worked hard at school and work to be this well rounded individual that was so attractive to your partner in the first place, now why do they want to be front and center and make the rest of that so difficult?
Focus on the quality of your communication, built on trust and respect, versus the quantity and frequency.
10. The Social Media Whiner
Does your partner run to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to complain about “some people” every time you have some argument?
Do they constantly put up selfies of themselves looking for comments/feedback (especially when times are tough) to remind you that they’re so popular?
Are they constantly looking for validation on whatever opinion they’re currently holding on to?
I feel bad for people who air their dirty laundry in public because not only is it difficult for the other partner who is meant to see it, it’s also letting everyone else know that tough times are aplenty. That continues to chip away at respect, doubt, insecurity and the rest of the toxic relationship cocktail.
What did these people do before social media? What will they do after as organic reach continues to dwindle?
Also, if you hate your relationship so much, why don’t you do something about it? Oh that’s right…you won’t…you just want to make both of your lives miserable.
While this particular reason might not stand alone as the litmus test of toxic behavior, it’s not a positive sign. You might find it cute or funny at first but we wary of things to come!
11. You Can’t Be Alone, Together.
A lot of girls might roll their eyes on this one, especially coming from a guy and say things like “If you want to be alone all the time, why not just be single?”
Fair, but the news has never been stronger that we all need mental health, mindfulness and peace of mind now more than ever.
Not to mention, willpower is limited but distractions are infinite. Every time you put down your book or laptop to fight argue with your partner, you slowly deplete the dedication to finish that book or work (or even a TV show you were looking forward to watch).
The average person sees thousands of signals, advertisements, updates, messages and more EVERY DAY.
We need to learn how to have time to yourself. And just like in relationships, yes, time with yourself should be quality time.
Some days (not all) you do want to watch ESPN repeats while she wants to watch a romantic comedy. Sometimes she may want to read a book after dinner while you actually want to Netflix and chill.
Being together means well…being…and if you can’t coexist without putting pressure on the other that kinda sucks.
Set aside time for the activities that mater and sure, be willing to improvise.
Some days you just really need to cuddle it up and be pampered, but we’re all adults and we’re all trying to navigate this thing called life. In college you and your bestie could just faff away on your phones all night and organically just break out into convo as and when, so why can’t you and your hubby do the same?
You can’t help who you love, but you also need to learn to love yourself. Being self centered gets a bad reputation because there’s a thin line between it being self centered and being selfish.
But if the list above made sense…well, you deserve better and you’ll realize it as you start taking care of yourself. If you’re also looking for signs that your ex is miserable without you, you probably have it if you finally understand some of the tell tale-signs of a toxic person.
Disrespect, anxiety, always asking for help and advise could all be signs you’re in a bad relationship, or at the very least dealing with a toxic person.
Many of us are taught to be nice, treat others well and always putting folks before ourselves. Unfortunately this leads to mismatches in behaviors and expectations and before you know it, you don’t understand how you’re such a jerk and the mayor of Toxic town.
If your relationship is more stress than it’s worth (and be honest if you’re just being a lazy baby) and you know in your heart of hearts a huge weight off your shoulders would be lifted if you just didn’t have it…well, you have your answer.
Now go be an adult and make the changes necessary to fix your situation.
Looking to binge watch some Hindi or Indian language web series across all the platforms, like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hotstar, TVF, Eros, Alt Balaji and more?
Thanks to Jio, YouTube and cheap internet they’re plenty of great shows you can start streaming for free on YouTube or nearly free on all the Indian OTT platforms. (OTT just means Over the Top, which is used to describe Internet versus cable or satellite).
India has really stepped up it’s digital game!
Recent entrants like Zee5 and MX Player are also making waves in the original Indian content market with groundbreaking digital shows, some masala type of skin flicks and various other experimental independent series.
From thrillers to comedies, music to drama and everything in between, India is hungry for digital content and Bollywood can’t make it fast enough.
Indian, Pakistani and NRI audiences are tired of the same evergreen love stories with thin plot lines and excessive censorship, and finally the market is moving towards watching unique stories which various levels of desi society will appreciate.
Whether you’re in a middle class family household, college kids looking for something naughty or senior citizens just wanting something to play in the background, Indian web series have you taken care of!
What are the best Indian Web Series? As of 2019 the best highly rated series are Made in Heaven, Sacred Games, Mirzapur, the Family Man and TVF Tripling. They’re another 30 web series listed below which are also rated quite highly by IMDB, critics and Indian audiences.
Best Indian Web Series
The following is a detailed list of Hindi and Indian web series you can watch right now, along with reviews, platforms, where to watch and extra information.
If you have any suggestions on the top Indian shows we should add or we missed please do comment them below and I will take a look.
1. Made in Heaven
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Zoya Akthar has hit a homerun (or a six?) with this fantastic web series on Amazon Prime that is probably one of their flagship Indian shows.
The designing principle of the show is an Indian wedding planning company in which each episode is them marrying off various couples from Indian society.
They’ll have various episodes where they interact with:
The snooty upper class Delhi princess,
the high flying Mumbai pilot,
the South Indian traditional Tamil Brahmin
The crazy Jaipur excessive wedding
Dowry and outdated issues which still plague Indian life
My wife and I binged watched the whole series in a few days ironically before our own big fat Indian wedding.
The themes of the show are marriage, Indian hypocrisy, caste divide, modern Indian, love, temptation, the wedding industry, LGBT issues in India and of course drama and suspense. It’s also one of the only Indian English web series that pulls off using English well without sounding cheesy or overdone.
I should know, I get called out only doing English comedy all the time on my own YouTube channel and for having a “fake accent.”
You’ll Love It If: You’re a fan of good writing and Zoya Akthar’s work, saucy material, great lesser known actors (at the time of writing) and not the same usual Bollywood nonsense.
You’ll Hate It If: You want to watch something with parents who will make that “tsk tsk tsk” sound when two guy’s kiss on screen or don’t like the real truth of real India confronted in their face during dinner.
CAST: Arjun Mathur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Kalki Koechlin, Jim Sarbh, Shashank Arora and Shivani Raghuvanshi.
2. TVF Pitchers
IMDB Rating: 9.2
This is one of the best Indian web series of all time and was far ahead of its time back when the Viral Fever made it back in 2015. Back then the Indian digital landscape was still being formed, but a show that is often called the more dramatic “Indian silicon valley” took the hopes and dreams of India’s youth and combined it into something original and fresh.
Talk about great brand integration that nobody even noticed!
The show was used to launch the TVF Play app which ironically had bugs of its own. Once you were able to watch it however the themes of the web series included:
Indian student’s dreams of money,
High flying corporate life and being jaded with middle class jobs
Investments, funding and venture capital type of plot lines about user acquisition costs, daily active users and all that techie mumbo jumbo about apps and databases and big data.
The producers and actors made something fun and fresh with the tagline “Tu Beer Hai BC.”
Unfortunately the Viral Fever as a company had some internal issues years later, but will we see a Season Two of TVF Pitchers? Time will tell.
You’ll Love It If: You liked HBO’s Silicon Valley or Hollywood movies like The Social Network. Also if you enjoy Hindi shows about technology and clever writing and characters.
You’ll Hate It If: You don’t speak Hindi or don’t like subtitles. Also there is only one season so you might be left wanting more. Grandparents and older folks may not relate as well in case you want to watch with Nana or Grannie.
CAST: Naveen Kasturia, Arunabh Kumar, Jitendra Kumar and Abhay Mahajan.
3. Kota Factory
This is an all black and white series which is a first for modern Indian digital content. It’s also a fantastic show that continues being one of the best TVF shows with hundreds of millions of views across YouTube and TVF Play.
The show is about the struggle to make it into IIT and the pressure of exams and marks put on Indian students across the country.
Kota is a place where coaching happens for kids to get ahead, ultimately getting them good placements, good jobs and ideally a good future. But Indian kids have their personal struggles with family, dreams, art, creativity and much more that “Just do engineering” will never answer.
However, in case you’re about to think “yeah yeah we get it, nine to five jobs suck” the show actually flips that common trope on it’s head and explores the good side of studying hard and following the path.
A remarkable series that is only five episodes long!
You’ll Love It If: You don’t mind the artistic black and white production choice, you enjoy stories about IIT and studying and the modern Indian middle class dream and you’re not looking for a love story or song and dance. Will there be a Kota Factory season two?
You’ll Hate It If: You want something light hearted and easy to watch with aunties and uncles. Or if your All India Rank was too low and you think all these IIT stories are a bunch of privileged garbage.
CAST: Mayur More, Ranjan Raj, Alam Khan, Jitendra Kumar, Ahsaas Channa, Revathi Pillai and Urvi Singh.
4. Sacred Games Season One and Two
Years: 2018 and 2019
IMDB Rating: 8.8
This is the show that launched Bollywood and Indian series into Netflix and the mainstream. A crime drama thriller with a non linear story is just type of storytelling that unique Netflix Originals enjoy, and this show is probably the best Indian Netflix Original series currently in existence.
An ensemble cast and very clever themes around crime, Indian society, police, corruption, drama and transgender issues made season one of this show a massive hit. Season two of Sacred Games was also released recently in 2019. While not as critically acclaimed as the first season you will love it and still binge on it in a day or two.
An edge of your seat Indian web series that may also get nominated for Indian series in the Oscars! Written by fellow stand up comedian Varun Grover who is also very popular on the Indian comedy scene.
Kudos to this team all around a must watch series.
You’ll Love It If: You’re in the mood for a dark and gritty thriller along the lines of Narcos, Gangs of Wasseypur and other crime genre movies. One of the best Indian dramas on Netflix.
You’ll Hate It If: You plan to watch it with family or you have kids around who are going to hear a lot of profanity and folks talking about their mothers and sisters. This is 100 percent not a family friendly show!
CAST: Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Pankaj Tripathi, Kalki Koechlin, Ranvir Shorey and Kubbra Sait.
Once you finish Sacred Games and are in the mood for something similar, just like a lot of people moved from Narcos to the Mexican cartel shows, you can move from Netflix to Amazon Prime Videos’ best Indian series, Mirzapur. A mafia boss story set in India’s garment and textile industry with family and father-son stories. Sort of like an Indian Godfather but a lot more modern for the millennial audiences.
Another gritty crime and drama thriller that has fantastic writing, deep characters, twists and turns and some never before heard dialogues you won’t find in Bollywood or the censor board.
This show also has some of the most respected Indian actors in the film industry in deep entertaining roles. Kudos to Amazon Videos India team for green lighting this suspenseful Hindi show.
You’ll Love It If: You finished Sacred Games and are in the mood for something similar. You like twists and turns and don’t mind adult themes, violence and language.
You’ll Hate It If: You want something easy to watch for dinner, have family and children around or are trying to enjoy it while checking your emails and faffing on your phone. This is a show that requires you to pay attention!
CAST: Vikrant Massey, Pankaj Tripathi, Divyendu Sharma, Shweta Tripathi, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Ali Fazal, Rasika Dugal, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Amit Sial, Sheeba Chaddha, Harshita Gaur and Anangsha Biswas.
6. The Family Man
This show about a seemingly timid nerdy middle class man is not what you think. It turns out he is quite the bad boy spy and international agent. Part drama, part action and full part comedy and clever writing, I’m a fan of Amazon India’s newest series.
The Gulf News also said the National Award Winning actor kills it in the lead role, so you can be sure this show is a hit with Indians in India as well as NRI audiences.
My friend and fellow stand up comedian Suman Kumar was also one of the main writers of the show.
What’s with all these comedians writing intelligent crime shows these days?
Other folks said the series dragged a bit, but a high rating and great media and social media responses from the public ensure this Indian series will have a second season most likely on Amazon Prime. It’s also less gritty than the other darker spy and Indian crime thrillers from 2018.
You’ll Love It If: You like espionage and crime thriller sort of patriotic shows with decent writing and good humor. Not a gorefest or action fest but good set pieces, clever plot lines and engaging twists and turns from a solid writing and filming team.
You’ll Hate It If: You want mindless patriotic propaganda movies without deep story or decent research, or you want a masala popcorn series with blood and gore.
Three siblings take a road trip across this multi-season Indian series that is a classic coming of age story about the modern new Indian family and it’s trials and tribulations.
With an all star digital web series cast of some of India’s best known digital actors, the show was a runaway success.
The Viral Fever continues to shy away from what the rest of Indian entertainment is doing while still being familiar.
They go for the types of audiences who watch Game of Thrones, Friends and Narcos and all the Marvel action flicks of Hollywood but speak Hindi at home, if I had to try and understand their target demographic.
Is that correct? Let me know in the comments?
Season Two came out in April of 2019 and I’m pretty sure we’re going to see a Tripling Season three.
You’ll Love It If: You like well thought out road trip stories that go beyond the usual predictable antics.
You’ll Hate It If: You’re not in the mood for a sibling coming of age story.
CAST: Sumeet Vyas, Maanvi Gagroo and Amol Parashar.
8. Permanent Roommates
Year: 2014 and 2016
A great show about modern love and modern relationships in middle-class modern India. A couple in Mumbai must balance trends with tradition and life after marriage. Tons of shows and series (some of them on this list ) have taken this Indianized formula now and applied it to their shows, however this was the first to make a modern dating show still entertaining for the whole family.
Even my mom laughed when I played this at home and didn’t get awkward at the pregnancy scenes and various naughty (yet light hearted) implications.
Biswapati Sarkar is the guy who played Arnab Goswami in one of The Viral Fever’s first Viral Videos. He is also the creative writing genius behind TVF. A fan of old movies, screenwriting and character development, Biswapati and the TVF team take an IIT Engineer’s approach to writing.
Even the other TVF show Humorously Yours (later in this list) took years to make because they go slow to go fast, as in they spend months if not years fleshing out story and writing and plot.
In a time where everybody wants to get it done and get it out, this model seems to work well for them despite the frustration of excessive planning. Although I don’t know the backstory on Permanent Roommates I do know it was a runaway hit at a time when Indian YouTube was still taking shape.
You’ll Love It If: You like romantic comedies that aren’t just for the ladies and also something different (yet familiar) to the tired Bollywood stereotypes. It’s a modern show that families can enjoy together without feeling awkward during uncomfortable scenes. Also one of the earliest attempts at digital so not very high production values but done fairly well for the time. Proof that good story trumps great drone shots. Great to press play and pay attention while doing emails and Instagram.
You’ll Hate It If: You don’t want to see a couple dealing with usual mid-twenty to early thirty problems. You’re in a happy marriage and great relationship and don’t need to observe other couples’s growing pains. You don’t like things more than a few years old and would prefer to see these actors in their newer projects.
CAST: Sumeet Vyas, Nidhi Singh and Deepak Kumar Mishra.
9. Little Things
Years: 2016, 2018, 2019
Similar to Permanent Roommates and also a two word title, this show from Dice Media and Pocket Aces was another hit amongst the Indian youth who are getting to understand dating, relationships and love marriage lifestyles in one of the fastest growing countries on earth.
Netflix picked up season two and three and promoted it heavily as an original and on hoardings and billboards all across major Indian cities like Mumbai and Bangalore.
Borrowing heavily from extended dialogues we came to see in Hollywood movies like Before Sunrise, the show is about a young couple getting to figure each other out while also figure out their careers and families and hopes and dreams.
Themes and Nuances of the show include:
Modern Indian relationships
Long Monologues and conversation scenes
Music and montages with quirky soundtracks
Bollywood style romantic comedies that are a bit more grit and “real.”
I personally am not a huge fan of the show (maybe I’m too old for the Target Group and this gimme a break mentality of young love’s problems?) but there is some charisma amongst the lead actors and my wife enjoys playing it when it comes on. So I suppose there is something that draws you into watching this Netflix Indian series. Maybe it’s the little things? (Ok sorry).
You’ll Love It If: You like romantic comedies and dramas that are more substantive and honest. You like new age storytelling with fairy lights and Indian first world problems of “is the right one, is he not, I don’t know” and all of that Mumbai big city romance stuff. Again, there is something just makes you want to watch even if you’re rolling your eyes at the naivety of the lead actors.
You’ll Hate It If: You don’t like long drawn out sequence of a couple talking about love while staring at the ocean. I imagine Little Things is primarily a female viewership so I’m sure the majority of folks who watch are under 30 and dudes looking for a show to binge on with flatmates will probably skip this one. Just be ready when your new girlfriend is excited for Little Things Season Three.
CAST: Mithila Palkar and Dhruv Sehgal.
10. Sarabhai vs Sarabhai
Year: 2004 (Season One) and 2017 (Season Two)
This former Star TV One show was not relatable enough for Tier 2 India which drives TRP and the existence of the Kapil Sharma show. Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai was a very well written and thought out show about an upper class family trying to cater to middle class audiences. It just couldn’t connect with advertising dollars where less intelligent and masala type TV could, so it was cancelled…twice.
Fellow comedian Sumukhi Suresh told me about this cult classic and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Hotstar tried to reboot it in 2017 but unfortunately the OTT audience also started watching other shows like Chernobyl and Modern Family and other well produced shows that leveled out the competition. (Not to mention the IPL around it’s time of release).
Reviewers will complain and say it was ahead of its time, but just like you and I can’t really empathize with the Kardhashians problems (although we love the same masala of snooty people from Koffee With Karan) the rest of India couldn’t be sold on this Indian satire show.
Fantastic theater actors and great storytelling made this a highly entertaining watch, if you could get on board with the premise and setting. It was a cult classic beyond it’s 2004 cancellation and Sarabhai vs Sarabhai will live in the collective hearts of many.
You’ll Love It If: You’re a fan of some of the best Indian theater actors. You like satire and comedy and can get on board with wealthy Mumbai snooty problems. You don’t mind a bit of English here and there in your Indian web series.
You’ll Hate It If: You find the set pieces too flashy or just didn’t connect with rich people’s problems (even though the character was a middle class person trying to fit in). The show takes time to grow on you but when it does, wow, just read the google reviews and IMDB scores of how many people miss this show!
This show is scary and Radhika Apte does a good job to sell her role. It’s only three episodes so it’s more of an Indian miniseries from Netflix than a web series, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a step forward in Indian horror.
Without giving away too much it’s a supernatural horror thriller and a fun,quick and dramatic watch. Has a few team members who also brought you the Conjuring from Hollywood and those type of blockbuster horror movies. (BTW even though this list is for Indian series make sure you watch the Haunting of Hill House, which I think is the best horror series currently out).
You’ll Love It If: You enjoy miniseries, dramatic and scary jail house sequences similar in tone to Sacred Games and you’re a fan of Radhika Apte and military style movies.
You’ll Hate It If: You’re going to constantly compare it to leading Hollywood horror movies.
CAST: Radhika Apte, Manav Kaul, Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, Mahesh Balraj and S. M. Zaheer.
Amazon Prime Video’s best web series of 2018 was without a doubt Breathe, which is a crime and medical drama-thriller that operates in India’s organ donor black market. They’re eight full episodes and I’m pretty sure you’ll binge and polish this off within two days.
The show has many exciting themes and settings with the umbrella tagline “How far would you go to protect the one you love?”
You will see that through various set pieces and characters like:
and plenty of twists and turns to keep you glued to your screen.
The show also one many awards is one of the top drama web series out of the Bollywood.
Up until 2018 Amazon really hadn’t done much with unique and original Indian content aside from Inside Edge, but Breathe meant they seriously meant business and clearly had the pocketbook to make it happen. I mean, it is Amazon.
You’ll Love It If: You want a nail biting thriller that takes place in an industry which is supposed to protect you. But again, the world (and India of course) is filled with ironies that money can induce right?
You’ll Hate It If: You think the medical industry is holier than thou or you’re tired of this heavy thriller genre and want something light like a romantic comedy. However if you found shows like Delhi Crime and Sacred Games engaging, you will likely hit this on your list next if they haven’t already recommended it to you!
CAST: R. Madhavan and Amit Sadh.
13. Karenjit Kaur | the Untold Story of Sunny Leone
Fun fact, I was in season two of this show playing a comedian.
This Zee5 Original web series knows that India is fascinated with Sunny Leone. Probably also fascinated by someone who does what they want instead of blindly following society’s orders.
Karenjit Kaur is Sunny Leone’s biopic of jumping into the adult film industry and all the haters and trolls and obstacles along the way. Despite all of that, and even in real life, Sunny Leone (real name Karenjit Kaur) is one of the strongest and smartest businesswoman that India has seen.
The series traces Sunny’s early childhood as it’s a biopic up until she makes the transition from modeling to the adult film industry, while also giving us a glimpse of her family and personal life.
Then of course the protests in India and all that political stuff whenever somebody from our community draws too much attention to themselves and stirs up a conversation.
Despite our virtue signalling and looking down on people who are open about their sexuality or lifestyles, we are the biggest consumer of a certain internet product that rhymes with Corn.
As time goes on hopefully we see audiences and families and society all reflect on our own hypocrisies considering we have the largest population and deleted internet search history of any country.
You’ll Love It If: Your curious about Sunny more than just what half of India googles her for. It’s a very unique take. Production was done in South Africa and it has some nice scenery as well.
You’ll Hate It if: You are conservative or watching it with your conservative family and can’t keep an open mind. Plus there is of course, some non required masala simply to try and get TRP’s so while the idea of the show is good, some scenes are exactly there for the reason you think.
Drugs and mafia and Goa. You know a good chunk of Indian audiences are going to enjoy this right? Jim Sarbh had a great time in Made in Heaven being the playboy cheating businessman and he’s also having a great time here joining Kalki Koechlin and Mandira Bedi.
Yeah, I didn’t know Eros Now had launched their own platform either, but it’s one of the best Eror Now Original Series and was launched at Cannes in 2018.
It’s a good thriller that gets you invested in the characters, even the bad guys! Will we see a season two of this festival favorite?
You’ll Love It If: You want more of Narcos and Mirzapur with a younger gang of misfits set in Goa. All that recreational stuff you do in Baga or Candolim comes at a cost from the underworld bro! Enjoy your EDM!
You’ll Hate It If: You won’t want to see too many adult themes or you’re tired of the drug stories, adult language and some extra skin that might make your mom awkward while you’re chomping on that roti. This show is definitely Adults ONLY but it is done well and written well.
CAST: Jim Sarbh, Kalki Koechlin, Mandira Bedi.
15. TVF Flames
Year: 2018 and 2019
Available on MX Player and TVFPlay is Flames, which again goes into young love and teenage romance meant to cater to the Indian hostel audience all crowding around their laptop while eating potato chips.
Brought to TVF by their Timeliners Channel, the show is a hit with the youth and might make you reminisce about your early crushes as well. Flames is a full emotional love story about student life, so get those tissues ready!
I mean, flames…come on?
Flames Season two is coming out in October!
You’ll Love It If: You want to go back to the good old days and reminisce on your days in school and a simpler time from your small town when you just wanted to study, get married and secure a good future. TVF again does what works with this class topper love story that is innocent and all about school and young love meant to warm the heart. Very family friendly as well.
You’ll Hate It If: You realize you’re too old for it.
Three university and stoner flatmates (or at least the title will have you believe) start their own food delivery midnight munchies service. They get into all sorts of trouble in this fun web series from ScoopWhoop (the media website) that is a great male focused Indian web series aimed at folks under 30. It’s not a stoner comedy although the target audiences are definitely while watching.
The Baked Web series is not a breakout hit and not on a major platform, but has a happy home on YouTube and is a surprisingly entertaining watch to pass the time. Not sure if there will be a season three but Episode 1 on YouTube has around 4.5 million views.
Definitely interesting to watch this show a few years later after Swiggy and Zomato have made some Indian consumers even bigger slackers than before.
You’ll Love It If: You like male focused college slacker stories and like alternative genre types of comedies that blend Western Music with Indian antics. Also very easy to watch and doesn’t require much effort after dinner or late at night.
You’ll Hate It If: You expected Harold and Kumar or wanted insightful dramatic writing.
CAST: Pranay Manchanda, Shantanu Anam and Manik Papneja.
17. Delhi Crime
Netflix released this story about the horrific incidents in Delhi from December 2012. It was gritty, dark, dramatic and suspenseful while also done in a way that was accepted for the subject matter. The actors also did justice to the story and gave their best efforts.
One of the best Indian digital web series from Netflix in 2018 without a doubt. Honest acting and pacing throughout the 7 episodes. Even if you had your phone or laptop nearby you were hardly reaching for it. It’s a gripping series.
India still has a problem with crimes of this nature and women’s rights in general and unique stories like this are a creative way to tackle them. The India that most of us who are probably reading this blog live in and the one the majority of the population lives in have a massive contrast, so it’s interesting to see them play out on the big screen.
The show is shot as a story, not a true crime documentary and covers topics like the police, the politicians, the government, the public, the internet and the two Indias we all see daily between those who have and those who don’t.
You’ll Like It If: If you were looking for a docu-drama type of Indian true crime show based on India’s assault problems, this show is an eye opener and does a decent job of portraying the story Nirbhaya. The whole tone of the show is dark so as not to sugar coat anything.
You’ll Not Like It If: The truth and gory details of the actual events bother you. It’s not a family friendly show but it’s also a show many people need to see. Tweeting about problems doesn’t solve them, making changes at home and with your neighbors will. Probably not show for the youth.
This 2017 historical period drama is all about the mysterious death surrounding Subhash Chandra Bose who’s legacy with patriotism and the events of World War 2 and Germany and Japan are still debated today.
The show won over ten awards including best digital series and actors and cinematography and much more. It is a unique feather in the Alt Balaji digital cap and was highly reviewed and appreciated.
They’re nine episodes at just twenty minutes each so you will fly through this well written Indian series in an instant.
Rajkummar Rao continues to be one of the best actors from Indian cinema and portrays a great historical figure. A must watch from his filmography and it’s easy to see where he is today.
You’ll Love It If: You’re a history buff who is either a fan of the actor or the unique national subject matter surrounding India’s fight for independence from British Rule.
You’ll Hate It If: You’re expecting some crazy action thriller or want something longer than just 20 minutes each. Also it’s just one season.
CAST: Rajkummar Rao, Naveen Kasturia, Edward Sonnenblick, Anna Ador and Alexx O’Nell.
Blockbuster non stop action defines this Hindi action series again by AltBalaji. There is even some nice humor that keeps the slow parts moving and just wow, it’s a wonderful series. What defines this show?
Police and Drama
Fans loved it and the critics and reviews were very positive as it gives viewers what they want. Masala with a bit of meaning and well thought out plot lines. It has those 70s crime nostalgia vibes also going for it.
As one fan wrote…”Kya Series Hai Yaar!”
You’ll Love It If: You like those Quentin Terentino sort of murder mystery action sequences combined with action, humor, clever writing and bad language and want something different and unique you may not have seen before.
You’ll Hate It If: You want something clean, don’t want to sign up for AltBalaji or are looking for something a bit more polished. It’s a good show but definitely not on the higher budget side which I didn’t mind at all.
CAST: Arunoday Singh and Mahie Gill.
20. College Romance from The Timeliners
One of the Best Indian web series on YouTube (based on the audience reviews) again from the TVF family and for the youngsters about well…college romance. It’s also a bit naughty and has mature language and subject matter. (You know what I mean right?!?)
Three guys and their trials and tribulations finding young love. The show is funny and although a little cringe at times it is heartfelt and a good Hindi comedy web series to watch if you’ve a lot of the other big name shows.
TVF yet again proves they can do anything with unknown actors and great scripts. I honestly wish I could put less of their shows on this list but when it comes to web series they’re just dominating all levels and genres of Indian society with a focus on more high brow stories.
It’s kind of like Pyar Ka Punchnama with a bit less misogyny.
Update October 2019: Just added to Netflix as well.
Drama to keep you engaged
Comedy and funny moments
Making out to add some masala
And of course relatability to a lot of tier two college kids who will see love and dating as everything you see in this show.
Maybe in fact that’s what it is these days, who knows?
Audiences love the show and although I’m too old to get it completely, well done on another hit that if you’re under 25 you may really enjoy.
You’ll Love It If: You’re in high school, college or were a fan of movies like Student of the Year but want a bit more depth and reality behind it.
You’ll Hate It If: You’re well above 30 like me. Or you think your parents will approve of you watching a show that explores a few mature themes about living away from home as the boys and girls get into all sorts of relationship antics. Or you realize that shows like this are always done and done with just another group of actors five years younger than last time.
CAST: Manjot Singh, Apoorva Arora, Keshav Sadhna.
21. Sidehero (Eros Original)
You really gotta love Kunaal Roy Kapur in this seven episode web series which is all about him taking a dig at himself and how he hasn’t achieved superstar status. As Gary Vee would say, people love the journey and the struggle more than the actual goal, and this funny Indian web series is all about his struggle and self awareness being the actual entertainment.
Eros Now is putting out some good original series these days, and I only found out about them while doing the research for this post. But this show is real, authentic and surprisingly heartfelt and you care for the characters. Not an easy thing to do on a limited budget and also when you ask for a lot of comedic acting from your actors.
I like Kunal generally and in this show, because he takes risks on the projects he does and also worked with my buddy Anuvab Pal and Kubbra Sait on the early Amazon Prime show Going Viral. That unfortunately didn’t catch on but he’s a true artist and experimenter and deserves to be recognized for this project.
You’ll Love It If: You like shows that cross reality with fiction, like HBO’s Ballers or Entourage or Mockumentary sort of shows like Modern Family and the Office. Also Bollywood nerds can rejoice in a character playing himself and being self aware of his ego in this crazy industry.
You’ll Hate It If: You can’t stand Bollywood’s self congratulatory nature or not a fan of this sort of format and want something purely fictional. Also it’s just 7 episodes and the verdict is still out on season two of Sidehero.
CAST: Sanjay Nath, Rytasha Rathore and of course Kunaal Roy Kapur.
22. Inside Edge
What better way to launch Amazon Prime Video Indian Originals than to combine a fictional cricket team with all the naughty masala that internet in India has to offer? This digital show about the “IPL” wasn’t a legacy or award winning piece of art, but as a vehicle to grab Indian viewers it did just that.
This show has it all:
The exciting world of professional athletics
Vivek Oberoi and Richa Chadha
All those factors come together and keep viewers hooked despite some cheesy over the top scenes to make it one of Amazon’s best Hindi web series.
Good acting, some humor, drama and all the naughty masla that Indian audiences like was a great way to sign up users on the Amazon platform in India and I’m sure they got more than their return on investment.
Will we see a Season Two?
My only gripe with this show was very cheesy and outdated Motion graphics! Come on guys, use After Effects a little better yeah?
You’ll Love This Show If: You like fictional stories about the fast paced world of professional sports. Remember those two cricketers who got in trouble on Koffee With Karan? Then remember this show will you? Or if you like Showtime’s Ballers or HBO’s Entourage or the older American movie Any Given Sunday by Oliver Stone and Jaime Foxx and Cameron Diaz (I really liked that one).
You’ll Hate This Show: If you think the dialogues and masala scenes are cheesy, or that IPL is a bunch of religious holy boys who don’t curse and call their mother everyday and don’t cheat on their wives. I’m not saying it’s an Oscar winning thought piece, but it’s pure entertainment and I’m sure if and when Amazon releases the numbers we’d be surprised how high they went over time as Amazon penetratesIndia’s digital market.
Ok, each episode is a bit short and they’re a lot of product placements they used to fund the series, but it’s a decent web series from Bindass. One of the better free Indian web series so if you go in with that in mind it will level your expectations. A road trip story about four girls who get together after one of them announces her engagement.
I understand some of the complaints that they’re pandering too strong to Urban Indians or feeling like a ripoff of the Hangover. And also that the characters and their relationships were made very superficially, like the standard Yoga teacher.
But for a new project taking some risks on a new format, well, good effort to the team.
A lot of girls enjoyed watching it and you might as well if your bestie is about to get married and you need some quality gal pal time.
You’ll Love It If: You’re not expecting some super high budget Bridesmaid or Hangover type of movie but rather a fun light hearted dramedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Some of the humor is quirky and fun and just an enjoyable time pass watch, which is why they mad two seasons and got millions of views!
You’ll Hate It If: Product advertising gets to you or you need strong character development. The show doesn’t go too deep or too serious so don’t expect to shed many tears or relate heavily to any one character. But great to see all these familiar faces together!
CAST: Shweta Tripathi, Sapna Pabbi and Mallika Dua.
24. Yeh Meri Family
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t stand the first episode of this well written and well reviewed show because the entire show is about relatability, which for me personally is zero. But if you grew up in India in the 90s, which this show is aimed at, you will just love it.
It’s a clean family friendly, light hearted show with funny dialogues and scenes that is perfect for the whole family to watch. There is light drama and clever narrative devices used to keep the plot moving and engaging. Yeh Meri Family is also from Sameer Saxena who brought you Tripling and Permanent Roommates. The show screams Indian middle class nostalgia. One of the main characters reminds me of another character Vishnu from the film Paa.
If you want a show about the perfect family being the imperfect one, this is the show for you and your parents during a post Diwali dinner.
If you’re a bunch of college kids about to light one up and think you should watch this because it has high scores, you’ll be in for a surprise.
Netflix has picked up the rights and it’s also available on TVF Play.
You’ll Love This Show If: You’re in the mood to watch something with your parents or cousins that everybody can enjoy, or you’re in the mood for some 90s nostalgia from Jaipur in 1998.
You’ll Hate This Show If: You want to watch something more dramatic or adult in nature.
CAST: Vishesh Bansal, Mona Singh, Akarsh Khurana, Ahan Nirban, Ruhi Khan, Prasad Reddy and Revathi Pillai.
25. Criminal Justice (Hot Star)
Did you ever watch the HBO Series “The Night Of?”
Well here is an Indian series remake, based on the original book called Criminal Justice by Peter Moffat. A cabbie has a one night stand that seemed too good to be true and then the girl ends up dead after. What now?!?
There is also an ensemble cast of some very big Indian actors to keep the viewers hooked and the audiences into Hotstar as opposed to Amazon or Netflix.
This Indian series is one of the best Hotstar Specials and is offered in:
You’ll Love It If: You enjoyed the Night Of or other crime dramas like Mirzapur or Sacred Games. It really is an edge of your seat thriller type of murder mystery. Few of the same actors also!
You’ll Hate It If: You can’t stand Bollywood remakes of western cinema. Or you don’t like adult themes as this is 100% definitely not a family friendly binge watch.
CAST: Pankaj Tripathi, Vikrant Massey, Jackie Shroff, Anupriya Goenka, Mita Vashisht, Pankaj Saraswat, Rucha Inamdar and Madhurima Roy.
26. Lust Stories
Zoya Akthar does it again, and even though the IMDB ratings are low, I think if you want to watch a good story about Indian’s trying to explore their sexuality without judgement and in real life situations, well, here you go.
This is part show, part mini series and part movie as it only runs two hours and is part of four independent stories that uses physical intimacy to highlight the truth of modern relationships.
Whether you had a love marriage or arranged marriage, gay or straight, we are all victims to the human condition. Netflix did not push this show very heavily probably because they wanted to avoid drama with the censor board, but glad it’s still out for people to interpret in the way they’d like, which is how art should be right?
Very similar in structure to Bombay Talkies.
You’ll Love It If: You liked Bombay Talkies, Anurag Kashyap sort of indie work or aren’t afraid of tackling modern Indian issues head on. (e.g. like the fact that women also need to pleasure themselves).
You’ll Hate It If: Those subjects are too taboo for you and you prefer to watch stories that aren’t in this risque material. Lust Stories, as the name explains, is not a family friendly Indian series.
CAST: Radhika Apte, Bhumi Pednekar, Kiara Advani, Manisha Koirala, Vicky Kaushal, Neil Bhoopalam, Neha Dhupia, Sanjay Kapoor and Akash Thosar.
A teen drama mini series from Zee5 that is meant to explore young rebellion by forming a rap band. Complete with masala like students and teachers hooking up and fight the system type of themes. It’s one of those shows that you know might be cringey (I mean what Indian high school has IPL type cheerleaders?) but you still want to watch.
An enjoyable time pass show if you’re looking for something easy to watch with a bit more fun and exciting than the TVF shows. (Hey, It’s ok…we all like some silly junk sometimes).
Also starring some of India’s most famous web series actors like Sumeet Vyas and Kubbra Sait (who was on my podcast here and also played Kukoo on Netflix’s Sacred Games).
A lot of people are saying this show is an Indian ripoff of the Netflix show Elites.
What do you think?
You’ll Love It If: You like high school drama type of spicy stories like shows from the WB in America or Riverdale. The trailer is for sure done well and enticing to make you curious I’m sure no?
You’ll Hate It If: You are affected by the similarities to other shows or find it trying too hard. I personally don’t know any Indian high school like this. A lot of the tier two and tier three Indian cities will think it’s trying to be a “too cool show” and the big city kids will simply say it copied something else.
A brand new Zee5 and AltBalaji Original collaboration show that just came out last month in September 2019, and one of Zee Five’s best Indian web series. A light hearted touching romantic comedy that’s meant to pull at the heart strings and get you giggling, through the concept of hotel management and being a chef.
The storyline and theme of the show is two people who used to be in love now seeing each other after many years. They are both big time restaurants and chefs and it’s a mature love story about the past, the present and the future.
It also helps that two of the biggest Indian TV stars, Divyanka Tripathi and Rajeev Khandelwal are the lad actors.
There is a lot of glamorous food shots as well so you will be hungry after watching this. Make sure you eat before!
You’ll Love It If: You like love stories where the characters are above 30, the storylines are a bit more mature and realistics and/or if you liked the movie Chef. The original noe, not the Bollywood remake which was painful to watch.
You’ll Hate It If: You are a stickler for reality in the restaurant and hotel business as factually, there is nothing accurate here in what the restaurant hotel business is like in India or anywhere in the world.
CAST: Divyanka Tripathi and Rajeev Khandelwal .
29. Rishta Dot Com
A 26 episode series that was ahead of its time from YRF Television and Sony TV, now on Netflix India.
The style is somewhere in between Made In Heaven and Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. Each episode is about trying to match make an Indian couple and the lead actors are two modern career driven folks who are just trying to make it in their own way, although they definitely have some chemistry together.
Probably not a masses show due to the reliability of the characters and excessive use of English. However, the show has found a cute little home on Netflix and I’m sure will get some good viewers over time.
You’ll Love It If: If you enjoyed Made in Heaven and looking for something similar but not as heavy, I can almost guarantee this show will grow on you if you give it two or three episodes and can forgive it’s outdated production quality.
You’ll Hate It If: You want something newer or don’t like shows where every episode has an almost new plot line with a different couple they try to matchmake (with some continuous storylines throughout entire season of course).
CAST: Shruti Seth and Kavi Shastri.
30. TVF Bachelors
Year: 2016, 2017, 2018
Bachelors by the Viral Fever launched around the time BB Ki Vines got famous in India, but luckily continued to capture the attention of young twenty something Indian males who live together in big cities and are trying to find their place in the world.
Every episode they have some new obstacle to tackle, like a ghost, landlord, a dry day and other comedic issues that single people in India have to deal with. Everybody who is also a crazy fan of Jitendra Kumar and Jasmeet Singh Bhatia will love this show and Season two even more.
Part slacker comedy and part sweet fun guys show with some less than family friendly moments. The first season feels a bit more like sketches but over time the shows get longer and longer and more interesting.
You’ll Love It If: You liked the ScoopWhoop web series Baked or other slacker comedies and don’t expect much from high production. Also if you’re a big superfan of BB Ki Vines you’ll probably just watch this show for him or some of the other TVF regulars. Fans of Jitendra Kumar aka Jeetu will also be mad for this show!
You’ll Hate It If: You want something a bit deeper or you just outgrew this subject material. However if you’re under 30 and watched everything else from TVF I’d give this shot a shot. Just don’t mind the excessive product placements.
Originally aired on Epic and has since found a home on Netflix. Won an ITA award for Best Mini Series. This is a series of short stories from Bengal in the 1920s that were very progressive for the time and to be honest, some of them are still relevant today.
Critics have applauded this show both for its adaptation of poet and author Rabindranath Tagore’s work and the lighting, cinematography and tone of the mini series.
Definitely one of the best things to come out of Bollywood in a long time and one of the best Indian shows you can watch on Netflix as of today. Not a Netflix Original but still up to the mark in terms of quality by director Anurab Basu, who also helped to create Barfi!
The miniseries had a cast of characters that would later shape Indian digital content as you know it today!
You’ll Love It If: You’re a fan of period pieces, artistic filmmaking and bengali literature. Also stories that teach you lessons without being too pandering or on the nose.
You’ll Have It if: You get bored easily by dialogues or not enough movement and silence/pacing.
CAST: Jannat Zubair Rahmani, Bhanu Uday, Tara Alisha Berry, Sumeet Vyas, Rohan Shah and Radhika Apte.
32. Girl in the City (from BindassOriginals)
Year: 2016, 2017, 2018
Mithila Palkar is back in season 3 of this Hindi BindassOriginal which is about well, a girl in the city (wasn’t it obvious?)
Like so many young Indians who come to Mumbai to work and find their way, this show explores Mithila is the lead character trying to crack it in the cities fashion industry as a newcomer. Basically, every teenage girl’s fantasy maybe?
A really nice timepass show.
It’s a light hearted comedy that has it’s semi dramatic moments but overall a show that Indian youth will love and is friendly to watch with family or batchmates. Also not as heavy or dramatic as Little Things. All episodes are on YouTube so it’s also one of the few entirely free quality Hindi web series.
You’ll Love It If: You’re a big fan of Mithila Palkar and her on screen charisma, or also enjoy the fish out of water stories that we’ve seen many times. Also good for girls and guys in India’s various fashion industries and micro industries.
You’ll Hate It If: You’re an alpha male who wants your action or prefers something a little bit more serious. I don’t think folks above 30 may relate to this show as much as it’s very youngster type of city problems. (e.g. Landlord wants more money, starting a business, etc..) You may also see similarities with this fish out of water role Mithila Palkar has here and in her other Netflix movie Chopsticks. Also Bindass sometimes has way too much brand endorsements to make the show enjoyable.
CAST: Mithila Palkar, Swati Vatsa, Rajat Barmecha.
33. The Test Case
Year: 2017, 2018
An AltBalaji original web series with Nimrat Kaur about a woman trying to join the Indian special forces to battle terrorists and bad guys and the struggles she’ll face along the way.
Fans of Hollywood movie G.I. Jane may find some similarities in the story line. But overall a nice Hindi web series about female empowerment and patriotism for India.
One line that might stick out for you: Tu aadmi toh hai, par mard nahi…
One of the better Indian army web series that doesn’t pander and shows the strength of India’s women and how the system can sometimes be designed to go against them. The title itself is that she’s a “test case” to see if women can survive the physical training to survive in India’s special forces.
You’ll Love It If: You like patriotic stories that aren’t too pandering and actually have:
good plot lines,
twist and turns,
and good themes.
You’ll Hate It If: You don’t like war training movies or you want typical blockbuster action. Other than that it’s a pretty cool show! Even Aamir Khan said the series was awesome and he’s a hard superstar to please!
CAST: Nimrat Kaur, Akshay Oberoi, Atul Kulkarni, Rahul Dev and Anup Soni.
34. Engineering Girls
The newest offering from TVF’s Timeliner brand that shows them scaling with yet another show about academia and the middle class struggle, this time from an all female perspective. You get to follow along with three girls in Engineering college and see what they have to deal with. Could have also been called girls hostel. Plot is a bit thin but the youth LOVES this show with over 11M views just on the first episode!
Update October 2019: Also appears to be on Netflix now.
Other users who reviewed it say it’s a simple girlish series while others think it’s a female rip off of 3-idiots. (Speaking of Aamir Khan).
Will there be a season two of Engineering girls? If you want it or don’t, comment it below!
You’ll Love It If: You like simple shows about young girls in college and you want to relate to also being a girl in an engineering school.
You’ll Hate It If: You realize it’s a very quickly written show and can’t really relate to the characters since they’re all 21 and the problems and struggle seem very contrived and forced, and sometimes just silly. There’s not much plot going on either.
CAST: Barkha Singh, Sejal Kumar and Kritika Avasthi.
35. Man’s World (Yash Raj)
What happens when gender roles are flipped and women are treated like men and vice versa? This trading places sort of story was well received on YouTube and is a Yash Raj Films mini series, one of their earliest web series online.
Episode 1 was well received online and the entire series has a load of big time actors like Bollywood stars Parineeti Chopra, Kalki Koechlin and Richa Chadha.
Audiences seem to enjoy the show based on the 8.5 million views per episode and growing every day. Critics like the Hindustan Times don’t seem too impressed and found the show regressive.
Regardless, we live in a time when critics and audiences of India don’t agree all the time and the numbers don’t and YouTube comments don’t lie, people seem to enjoy this show as entertainment so here it is for you to watch, completely for free.
You’ll Love It If: You like these role reversal fantasy stories and don’t want to commit to a full story but rather a mini series instead of 5-6 episodes with some very recognizable actors in a different format.
You’ll Hate It If: You find plot holes or think it’s not pro feminism but just a sexist storyline.
I don’t understand some of the immature commenters on YouTube saying this show is just mindless masala. Those who comment are the same ones who will be the ones giving the naughty sites all their traffic.
This show about two families and a crazy big fat Indian wedding (including the drama involved) hits all the right notes and evolves the modern romantic comedy.
Good job to this team! Way to use urban modern relationships in a tasteful way! Also available on Prime Video.
YRF has some small time actors in big roles for a Hinglish web series that clearly the audiences are very interested in, as Episode 1 already has 14 million views!
Did you enjoy it?
You’ll Love It If: You liked shows like Sarabhai vs Sarabhai or Made in Heaven and/or you don’t write off a show just because there is a risque or adult scene that’s done as part of the plot.
You’ll Hate It If: You want something family friendly and the usual story you’ve seen 100 times because you think anything that doesn’t agree with you is against Indian culture. Or you’re just not into a romantic comedy at all.
CAST: Ali Fazal (from Mirzapur), Angira Dhar, Rajit Kapoor .
37. Aisha My Virtual Girlfriend
Year: 2016, 2017, 2018
This is easily the best sci fi Indian web series from the Arre and MX Player team and also one of the only ones ever made.
Comparisons to the movie “Her” will be made but aside from that the show is highly entertaining and also had aspects of being a thriller and a drama.
The concept is about an Artificial Intelligence App developer who makes an AI named Aisha that eventually falls in love with him and the show has won many awards especially for being unique in its genre.
Fans also jokes around that Raghu Ram is more or less playing himself.
Season Three just released a few months ago around April 2019 so this Indian science fiction web series is going strong!
You’ll Love It If: You like the bald guys from roadies and also hacker type of Sci fi drama. Geeks will call out the technical inaccuracies and hacker montage scenes that aren’t realistic but I mean, which shoe does that correctly? This is free entertainment afterall.
You’ll Hate It If: You’re not a fan of technology fantasy stories.
This drama and comedy, or dramedy from Dice Media’s Pocket Aces is a refreshing take on stereotypes and kicks off season one with a cool premise: A young man has to live at his in-law’s house due to work, while his wife (their daughter) continues to live in Delhi. Something we can all relate to (and would be scared of) right?!?!
Daily, modern Indian family stories you’ll instantly connect with. While India does seem backwards at times you realize a lot of people have come a long way, and this show keeps it fresh and innovative with the writing without pandering too hard or telling you the same moral stories in a tired fashion.
You’ll Love It If: You enjoy family shows that reverse stereotypes and try to challenge “Indian values” in a modern and effective way without being mindless masla. There is also great cinematography and some genuinely funny and endearing moments. If your family isn’t insanely convervative it’s a fun show to watch even with them together.
You’ll Hate It If: IF things are fine at home between you, your family and his/her family and you don’t need to dabble with family drama shows, stay out of this one. Or if you’re just an alpha male who likes thrillers and crime dramas but not stuff on the romantic type of comedy zone, you can probably miss it. But if your partner wants to watch it, go for it! Very cute Indian show to binge on as a new couple!
This Girliyapa Original show about four girls in dental school doesn’t try to be anything aside from what it is, a fun sweet comedy show about girls trying to get their medical credentials in a light hearted way.
You will really enjoy the characters and their nuances, led by Srishti Shrivastava. The only problem during its release was that the episodes took a month to release each time.
Originally from the Girliyapa YouTube channel and TVF Play, however now I see the show on Netflix so I”m assuming TVF is selling rights to Netflix India to stream a lot of their unique content.
You’ll Love It If: You want a nice relatable show about girls in dental school and living in a hostel with four other fun gals, each from different aspects of society.
You’ll Hate It If: You’re an alpha male who doesn’t care for the story, because if you give it time it has witty dialogues and fun characters. Or if you’re old you might not enjoy it as the problems may seem trivial.
Starring Parul Gulati, Simran Natekar and Srishti Shrivastava.
AltBalaji brings you this 2019, ten episode Indian version of something between 50 Shades of Grey and Gone Girl.
A best selling erotica writer is bored of his life and likes domination and pain sort of stuff in the bedroom, and eventually meets his match which turns his life upside down.
While I don’t think the IMDB rating for this spicy show should be as high as 8.5, I think as an adaptation from a book, it’s not a bad effort and has decent performances from some of the actors.
CAST: Priya Banerjee, Rajeev Siddhartha and Madhussneha Upadhyay.
41. Humorously Yours
Year: 2016, 2017, 2019
I’m excited to write about this one because Vipul Goyal is a dear friend of mine and this show delivers and also launched him into the Indian mainstream as almost a household name.
Since Stand Up Comedy in India is also on fire, this show gives you an inside behind the scenes look at the business in India which is still being figured out.
My favorite scene from season one is where Vipul has to figure out which one is Toor Dal. Just too good and relatable!
Season one was just awesome and season two was good, but I think all audiences agreed they loved the first season the most. A well written show that paces Vipul’s onscreen wife Rasika Dugal is just awesome in this show. His real life wife also makes a cameo during his little kiss scene.
Well done buddy!
Also, hats off to Vaibhav Bundhoo who does all the music and mixing for a lot of the TVF soundtracks from Pitchers to this show. It really brings the show to life! The show is on MX Player and the TVF apps.
CAST: Vipul Goyal, Rasika Dugal and Abhishek Banerjee.
This 8 episode series is by Sonam Nair and Bhavani Iyer gives some outstanding performances by the lead actor Dia Mirza about a woman from Pakistan Kashmir that ends up on the Indian side and is suspected of being a militant.
You will really like the story telling and scenery which also given current events in Kashmir make this a VERY compelling watch irrespective of your politics. Hats off to the Zee5 team for a quality, intelligent drama.
Indian or Pakistani we are all human and we can all relate.
You’ll Love It If: You want a well acted drama with a female lead that is based on a true story and appreciate good acting and good writing.
You’ll Hate It If: You want to let your personal politics get in the way of a good film effort and good story about the human condition.
A decent 8 episode thriller set against the backdrop of Aviation. The storyline does take it’s liberties…I mean, who really eavesdrops on planes as opposed to minding their own business? And the show runners borrow heavily from LOST to show backstories of the passengers and how they all kind of come together. But still, a decent effort for Indian cinema if you can stop the comparisons in production quality.
You’ll Love It If: You liked the movie Flight or appreciate these sorts of moody thrillers in unusual settings (e.g. an airplane).
You’ll Hate It If: The editing and production quality could have been tighter, and the story is a little forced. But if you can forgive that, it’s a good one time watch.
CAST: Arjun Rampal, Neeraj Kabi, Harshad Arora, Anupriya Goenka, Javed Jaffrey, Sakshi Tanwar, Paula McGlynn and Anshuman Malhotra.
A two season Zee5 thriller about a notorious gangster from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh in the 90s. This 2018 Indian crime show based on a true story was well received by fans with a 97% google approval.
Be careful, the language and violence is definitely adults only. The show has yet to get a big publicity push but maybe in the coming years it will find a following.
You’ll Love It If: You like crime thrillers based on true stories and are done with Mirzapur, Sacred Games and the other similar shows.
You’ll Hate It If: You’re going to compare it to Netflix’s Sacred Games.
CAST: Saqib Saleem, Aahana Kumra, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Ravi Kishan and Arun Kalra.
Is this the best new Hindi web series of 2019?
A superbly written show from (you guessed it) TVF but surprisingly it is on the SonyLIV platform. The show is getting a lot of great chatter so I’ve added it to this list recently.
Follow the antics of the Mishra family from North India (yawn, we keep seeing the same setting TVF) but despite a played out premise it’s fresh and quirky and highly engaging to watch.
You’ll Love It If: You like well written shows.
You’ll Hate It If: You want action and thriller type of drama.
CAST: Jameel Khan, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Shivankit Singh Parihar
Ok this is almost 9 years old so it probably shouldn’t be on this list but I find this show a cult classic and all the episodes are for free on YouTube, making it one of the best Indian web series to watch online with no strings attached.
The show has a cult following, fellow comedian Sumukhi Suresh told me about it in 2014 and it’s had a place in my heart since. A show that was ahead of its time and not for the masses of India, but well written and executed none the less.
You’ll Love It If: You liked Sarabhai vs Sarabhai
You’ll Hate It If: You didn’t like Sarabhai vs Sarabhai (Hey I’m tired ok?)
CAST: Pushtii Shakti
A show from YRF about the narcotic wars in Mumbai that was ahead of it’s time. You can see that newer shows like Mirzapur (also starring Pankaj Tripathi) and others were influenced by this ground breaking show.
Netflix saw the talent and acquired it as one of the first Indian series on the platform’s catalogue.
Starring: Panjak Tripathi and Manish Choudhary.
48. Mayanagari City of Dreams
A political thriller with multiple interconnected stories makes this a nice ten episode watch from Hotstar Specials. Set in Mumbai, fans of the political genre and non linear story telling will enjoy the show if they have access to it.
A good screenplay and lots of twist and turns make this a good binge worthy Indian drama.
Starring: Atul Kulkarni, Priya Bapat, Eijaz Khan.
Ekta Kapoor brings you this story about a middle class Indian family who has to vacate their home due to illegal construction of a shady builder.
Partially familiar yet a little fresh in it’s storytelling, give it a watch if you’re in the mood for an Indian family drama and seen most of the other shows on this list.
Starring: Annu Kapoor, Supriya Pilgaonkar
IMDB: 9.1 (Not sure if Accurate)
The reviews on IMDB seem to be fake with one negative genuine one, but I have a feeling this show will do just fine at giving Indians what they want. Plus it has friends of A-List Bollywood celebrities being casted so fans of all that Instagram sort of gossip column stuff may enjoy seeing familiar faces.
I’ve added it to this list because some of you suggested it in the comments and the trailer is enticing especially for zero star power. AltBalaji seems to have put some money behind it but I had a hard time finding reviews of Fittrat on any major publication.
Long story short…don’t expect any riveting ground breaking storytelling but watch the trailer and see if you’ll enjoy it as a time pass.
Gold diggers who are honest about what they want, and that to in an Indian show full with masala and Clueless vibes? I’m intrigued.
Season two just released and this show is pushing interesting stories beyond the television, so again, Kudos to Ekta Kapoor for that.
Reminds me of Pushpavalli from friend Sumukhi in that this show is about the awkward, messy love stories we don’t usually see. As India also goes more into divorce and second shaadi territory I’m glad the writers came up with interesting characters with innovative back stories to keep things mixed up.
Also looks like lead Actor Vikrant got engaged to one of his costars Sheetal on the show, so I guess the title broken but beautiful is very fitting!
Starring Harleen Sethi and Vikrant Massey.
52. The Chargesheet
This Zee5 mini-series had some recent controversy from the censorship world and critics, which maybe is a ploy to build buzz around the show.
Although reviews are mixed, if you’re a fan of these actors and interested in the backstory, it might be worth a watch. Loosely based on Saiyad Modi.
Another mini-series and finally TVF is partnering with Amazon and streaming platforms to give their content a wider reach and the income the studio needs.
The content house knows how to play the heart strings of the youth and here we go again. Read any of the comments or IMDB reviews online and see how much fans love the series.
Starring: Nikhil Vijay, Adarsh Gourav
54. The Forgotten Army Azaadi Ke Liye
Kabir Khan’s latest promises to be blockbuster playing to patriotism, great film making, suspense and much more. Amazon Prime will also be pushing this content very heavily in the first quarter of 2020.
Starring: Kabir Khan, Sunny Kaushal
It’s no secret that TVF is going to be bigger than anyone anticipated, with continual growth, clean humor, hit after hit and a roster of Bollywood’s next generation stars in its rolodex.
Fan Favorite Jitendra Kumar steals the show yet again in this comedy drama about a engineering graduate who has to work in rural India and all the life lessons/society morals learned along the way.
Easily one of the best Indian web series of 2020. A good watch either solo or with family. Also a noteworthy lockdown Indian web series to binge!
This Indian thriller series on Voot has some Indian fans saying it’s the best thing they saw since Inception. Whoa, that’s a bold statement!
Indian mythology and forensics science come together in a show that is part Sacred Games, part mystery and full awesome. If you’re looking for one of the best Indian or Bollywood thriller web series of 2020, this should one of the top of your lists.
I love that I have to put this on the list, because people who want to virtue signal that the show is too filthy or not a healthy show don’t also realize that it’s the most viewed Indian show on Amazon.
Where are those eyeballs coming from I wonder?
What does that say about us a society when we publicly rate something low but then enjoy it for all its glory otherwise?
While it’s not a super original story (the New York Times just called it India’s Sex in the City) it’s a fun show and although my wife and I rolled our eyes through season one…we finished it and will probably use the Quarantine to eventually watch season two. Amazon also just picked it up for a third season so enjoy everyone!
Disclaimer: This is definitely not an Indian family watch. Unless you want to awkwardly go to the toilet every 4 scenes.
Anushka Sharma has produced this new Amazon show by Writer Sudip Sharma from Udta Punjab.
While I have yet to watch it, it’s next on the list and has a lot of anticipation so unless is heavily disappoints me I’ll take the risk and drop it on this list for now.
For any readers who watch it upon release please do comment your suggestions below! Really looking forward to this Indian investigative thriller as the trailer seems very promising and Amazon has had some major hits recently.
Starring: Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi, Abhishek Banerjee, Gul Panag
61. Indian Match Making
Isn’t it funny how the shows that star the most conversation, controversey and buzz are the ones that get people pushing to say it’s not good?
I was waiting for a show that mixed east and western Indian experiences and glad to see this show does way more than just discuss relationships and marriages. It’s like Maid in Heaven meets reality (yet intelligent) TV and highly addicting.
Indian web series are going to push Bollywood and original content to unique new heights.
As audiences diversify to pull versus push (e.g. they can pick and choose what they want to watch) and OTT platforms dominate the conversation, we’re going to see a creative renaissance in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and other shows all across the world.
Niche is going to be the new mainstream and don’t be surprised if some of the most successful shows five years from now are about Indian astronauts, scientists, politicians, IT people, musicians or who knows what else. India is moving away from a guy chasing a girl down a corn field and I for one am super excited about the future of Indian digital content.
Did you know Indian stand up comedy gained a lot of early traction and growth in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai?
South India hasn’t always been “as cool” as Mumbai or Delhi, however when it comes to the arts, many film stars, actors, and now even comedians learn their talent here and then go abroad when demand calls.
Even many of the top Indian comedians who work in Bollywood and movies or have Amazon and Netflix specials do a lot of their recordings and writing in Bangalore and Chennai because that’s where they’ll get the best response.
Try cracking jokes about Narcos or Rajinikanth to a bunch of factory uncles in Ludhiana and see if they really care.
South Indian Stand Up Comedy
YouTube comedy videos
and social media apps like Instagram and Facebook,
stand up comedy growth in India owes a lot to the South Indian comedy market and audiences.
People in Bangalore and the South usually are more open to other languages and dialects and understand everything, from Hollywood woke boy references to the latest Rajnikanth meme or joke.
As a result, it’s a fantastic place to watch Indian stand up comedians go from nothing to something. Even though most of Indian stand up comedy viewership seems to be going to Hindi comedy, there is still a lot of room to diversify and find your niche.
I’ve been in Bangalore since 2010 and pushed a lot of the comedy scene here, so now that it’s maturing and everybody wants to be a comic, I thought I’d simply list out some of the best performers so you can get a sense of the market.
South Indian Comedy Clubs
In addition, thanks to comedy clubs like the Spotted Hyena in Chennai and Urban Solace in Bangalore, comedy is continuing to thrive from the ground up and you can see your favorite big time comedians at many local pubs and restaurants.
Feel free to check out of any of these comedians on BookMyShow or their relative Facebook and YouTube pages and do comment your thoughts on the same.
Best South Indian Stand Up Comedians
These are some of the top comics who either live in South Indian cities like Bangalore or Chennai, or are Tamilian, Kannadiga, Telugu, etc…
Bollywood is a fascinating industry that makes some amazing web series, TV shows, serials and films…but also a bunch of horrible ones.
Every day hundreds if not thousands of people flock to Mumbai to see if they can make it on the evolving silver screen.
But unlike Hollywood (which is also difficult to get into), there is less of a process and no direct entry for Bollywood registration. This isn’t like engineering or medicine, where at least some path into breaking in is structured.
If you have a flare of being charismatic or dramatic on screen…and you work hard, you can make things happen thanks to the good old internet.
Just remember, medical school is easier than making it as a superstar actor. Acting isn’t an easy profession to easy money, despite what society tells you…which ironically, is all an act.
So as someone who gets called almost weekly for some TVC (TV Commercial) or Web series audition or the other, I thought I’d share my experience, so you, the newcomer can know how to become an actor with no experience in Bollywood.
How Do You Enter Bollywood? First start recording yourself/posting on social media and shooting small films like YouTube or Instagram sketches, then sign up for local theater classes, and then use either platform to message contacts virtually or in person. You can also emcee or do stand up comedy, magic, singing or other creative things to grab interest from casting people.
Most people move to Bandra or Andheri East or West and think they’ll start taking acting classes and figure it out. But I can guarantee you while that might have worked at one point, these days you have a much better shot with doing that plus also staying busy with digital platforms.
Most casting directors and agents care about how you look on an expensive video camera for an ad they’re shooting, not how great your theater skills are to hold a bag of Doritos and say “wow yaar, yummy.”
They’ll also likely check your Facebook and Instagram anyways to see how you look in your latest stories and posts, so you may as well treat that as a resume.
Once you start getting basic ad work or small YouTube screen time, then you can increase your skills with acting workshops and drama. After that go ahead and try to find contacts at agencies like Kwan or whoever.
There’s a lot to consider as you learn how to become an actor in India let’s go!
How To Get Started in Bollywood
If you haven’t even messaged somebody who does theater in Bangalore or Chennai or Delhi, or attended a workshop, or watched many plays…why would you move to Mumbai and just think somebody is going to put you in a commercial because you have nice abs?
I’m not saying it won’t happen, but just like college kids make apps so they get a taste of the technology career lifestyle, you should also know what acting is REALLY all about right?
For the newbie with no acting experience who wants to get started in Bollywood, here’s a rough playbook of what you could do, whether you already live in Mumbai or are in another Indian city like Hyderabad or Pune.
Get involved in local theater. Message those people who do it on Facebook or go to some play for a 100 rupee ticket, trust me, they need the audience as most theater plays lose money and any audience, even yet another acting hopeful is fine.
Learn Hindi. If you’re Hindi is not great, start practicing it to make sure it is. Bollywood actors need to speak Hindi, whether for ads or small roles and eventually the movie gigs.
Know friends or distant people who make YouTube videos or small commercials? Ask them if you can act in any, or hold a camera, or help with sound, or even serve tea. Yes, I get asked these things all the time and when I do need somebody, I look in my spam folder to see who recently emailed me rather than try to call 10 friends and see which one is available.
Learn the basics of filmmaking. You can take a course on Udemy for like 500 rupees or start taking 100s of free courses on YouTube already. Don’t see a channel in Hindi? Go ahead and make one!
Start making sure you have a nice Instagram feed, and put “aspiring actor” in your bio. IF you don’t believe in yourself, how will anybody else? And yes, casting people sometimes search based on that also!
Get familiar with the acting lingo. Self test, sides (the script they want you to read), reference take, non compete (e.g. if you’re auditioning for Samsung they want to make sure you never did an Ad for Apple), etc… You can look at websites like Backstage to figure all that stuff out. TVC, Print, Digital, slates…all stuff you need to know.
Try to work at a radio station as an RJ or producer. Try to join or start your own improv team. Talk to restaurants to let you do events there and invite your friends and record it.
Eventually you will get called to audition for a commercial, whether on TV or YouTube. Then when people know you do this, you might get called to act in a web series or serial or TV show. From there, you’ll be on your way to small roles in films and more!
The majority of my friends are stand up comedians and all of them walked into Bollywood not by just trying to be an actor, but by building up a resume of talents for which Bollywood then called them.
Don’t just ask yourself “How Can I be an actor?” but also ask yourself “How Can I build up my portfolio online and in person so that people want me to be in their work?”
How Kubbra Sait Got Into Bollywood
Kubbra Sait is a friend of mine who I know through her brother Danish Sait.
Both of them interned at radio stations in Dubai and India.
From editing small commercials at a radio station on a slow Dell PC they eventually got to talk on the radio after a year or two, even recording jingles which are simple musical ads.
The work was probably peanuts but good experience in a medium that is now moving online.
Danish went on to make funny pranks on his Soundcloud, and Kubbra moved to Mumbai and started to get Emcee work.
She did any work, including:
Earning 500 rupees emceeing thankless marketing activations (another thing you need to google)
to then saving some cash to take acting classes in Mumbai,
to then being a full time emcee who was eventually #paidToTalk and later #paidToAct.
Once the emcee stuff got her bigger projects, she then started hosting events and award shows where producers and movie people “Hey we should use her for that TV anchor role in our show” or “Hey she would be good to be a sports announcer in this film!”
While continuing to emcee as her full time job, Kubbra slowly landed roles in Salman Khan’s movie Sultan, Gully Boy and of course her breakout role as Kukoo in Sacred Games Season One.
Her brother Danish more or less did the same thing by leveraging Emcee and Radio work to start hosting IPL events and then move into the South Indian film industry.
The point is, in the Indian film industry everybody has their advice on how you should make it or try it. But when you have no experience the only technique is to make your experience and then things happen.
I know people who do hundreds of acting classes and land no work, and people who have never done any acting and get tons of roles. And everything in between.
How To Market Yourself in Bollywood
Once you have built a good Instagram following, taken a few acting classes and learned the ins and outs of the industry, now the real hustle begins.
If you don’t know anybody, try emailing casting companies in Mumbai directly off their website with professional photos and list of things you’ve done.
You’ll probably get 1 response out of 100, but it is a start.
From there, message small time actors or producers on Facebook and Linked In.
But again, the most important thing you can do is also try to write and shoot things on Instagram, Facebook, or whatever else. This is a sure shot way to get ahead and also give you experience you’re going to learn on set anyways (shooting, rehearsing, editing, angles, lighting, etc..)
How To Respond to an Audition
When you’re new, you can feel intimidated or nervous if somebody is calling you to audition for some Samsung or Godrej ad. Casting agents can also easily determine that based on the questions you ask and if you call them “sir,” even though many of them might also just be 21 or 25.
My suggestion, if you’re able to…act like you’ve done this 100 times. You’ll get a call like this:
“Hi, we saw your profile on Facebook (or Instagram or YouTube) and have a requirement for a TVC (Television Commercial). Can you come in for an audition?”
“Sure, can you send me the audition script or reference take on WhatsApp?”
A reference take is just somebody in their office doing the same audition so you get an idea of what they’re looking for.
You can also ask them (if you’re really confident) how much is the role, what language is the role in (Hindi, English, etc…) and if you can just send a self recording.
These days you can make your own way as the gatekeepers no longer have as much power and a TV commercial will easily take the guy with followers and good theater credits than somebody who just knows the producer but otherwise only hang out in Santacruz coffee shops.
If you have specific questions comment them below and I’ll update this post with the answers!
Plus most people with large social media followings end up making more money through their influencing than even some of the TV shows!
They’re many ways to get into Bollywood, or Tollywood or even Hollywood so this post was just meant as a way to guide you on your options. I’m sure many people who went the theater/Mumbai dreams right probably have different viewpoints, but there is no one size fits all approach.
If there was, we’d all know about i by now right?
Auditions for Acting in Bollywood Movies
Most auditions for Bollywood films take place at offices in Andheri or Juhu, or via sending an audition recording via WhatsApp.
While casting couch days should be long gone, you should always exercise caution when going to some random building or studio.
Major casting companies that I know include Piyush Raina Casting and Casting Bay, although I’m sure they’re many others.
If you get a call, google them, check their Facebook page, look up the person’s number on TrueCaller and just do your general research to make sure the person seems sorted.
Direct Entry Into Bollywood
But what about that girl who got into a big movie at 21! Oh you mean Ananya Pandey or somebody else?
Well I’m sorry to tell you, but nepotism is alive and well. Just like your uncle got your cousin into Infosys, we as Indians network to our heart’s content.
Kangana Ranaut isn’t crazy, she just speaks the truth about people pushing their family favorites.
I’m not saying products of nepotism can’t act well (I’m sure some do), but for the average person with zero contacts, you have to build a portfolio on your own.
That means learning to do small roles in digital stuff that propel you further up.
That is exactly what folks like Nidhi Singh and Sumeet Vyas did with The Viral Fever (and more folks do daily) as well as Mithila Palkar with Dice Media and Filter Copy.
They probably made nothing or just 5 to 10K per video, and then went from there since people saw them act well. Ditto with Mallika Dua and AIB sketch videos and others who are making leap from YouTube to your local multiplex.
Bollywood Film Industry Jobs
If you’re reading this article you probably want to be an actor, maybe a director or producer. I would suggest if you have zero experience to make short films on YouTube and master your camera, whether it’s an iPhone, Canon 5D or Sony A7S (or whatever the newer ones are).
A basic 30,000 rupee camera or even less is enough to show your skills, and you can learn film editing for free using Premiere or other tools.
Another good way to break into the production crew, although doing sound and lighting in India aren’t the respectable union jobs they appear to be in the west, is to apply to production houses like Nirvana Films or Yolk Studio (both in Bangalore) or Supari Studios in Mumbai.
Amazon Prime Video is leading a big push into Tamil movies, series and original content like stand up comedy specials and reality shows.
The competition is fierce but it’s also never been a better time for Tamil cinema.
The Kollywood industry has always been known (along with the Malayalam industry) to produce well written and original stories that Bollywood often ends up remaking.
As Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar battle it out to see who comes out on top, the ultimate winner will the audience and public who will get quality content where they want it, when they want it. No more trying to search Tamilrockers for the various Tamil movies.
Instead, now you can get all the quality content of the best Tamil movies, with the latest superstars in HD quality on your TV. In the language you prefer!
I was wondering what the latest Tamil films were on Amazon Prime so I put this guide together. There are so many political dramas and crime thrillers every year from this film industry it becomes hard to filter through with limited time. So here you go, please enjoy!
What are the Best Tamil Movies on Amazon Prime?
2.0 Tamil (6.4)
Adhe Kangal (7.3)
Bharat Ane Nenu (7.7)
Imaikkaa Nodigal (7.4)
Kaatrin Mozhi (7.4)
Kadaikutty Singam (7.0)
Nadigaiyar Thilagam or Mahanati (8.6)
Pariyerum Perumal (8.9)
Thaanaa Serndha Koottam (6.9)
Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru (8.3)
Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru (8.3)
To Let (8.0)
U Turn (7.0)
Unakkul Naan (6.5)
Vellai Pookal (7.3)
Vidiyum Munn (7.4)
Best Tamil Films on Amazon Prime
This list is in alphabetical order, but please note I am only including news movies that are from 2012 to October 2019.
They’re many older Tamil movies on Prime Video but I assume you are interested in the new releases, so have included all those films with the IMDB ratings and double checked the Google audience score as well to ensure those ratings are accurate!
You can also find trailers and small details on each movie below!
Kind of strange to be first in the list even though it’s 2.0 right? We’re in ABC order folks! A 2018 Tamil-Hindi science fiction film with a nice social message. A nice pop culture masala movie. Give it a one time watch if you’re in the mood for this genre and it’s safe for the full family!
Simon Abrahams of RogerEbert.com gave the 3.5 stars and said “Against all reason–against all common sense–2.0 works, and in a big, big way.
Starring Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson and Sudhanshu Pandey.
An edge of your seat thriller type of movie about a free spirited girl who gets into trouble after a late night party. Playing on themes of conservative India and how we judge those in society.
Starring Amala Paul, Vivek Prasanna and Ramya Subramanian.
3. Adhe Kangal
This 2017 romantic action thriller is about a blind chef who falls in love with a mysterious customer, full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing and entertained!
From director Rohin Venkatesan.
Starring Kalaiyarasan, Janani Iyer, Sshivada and Bala Saravanan.
This 2017 socio political drama film was highly praised for its use of satire and more. The film also won many awards across the world and is one of the better movies on this list about a simple middle class girl dealing with society troubles.
An enjoyable film if you’re a fan of this type of genre. Filmfare choice awards and many other accolades.
Starring Aditi Balan, Anjali Varadhan and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy.
This 2019 revenge action drama has some stunning cinematography. It’s an official remake of the Telugu film Temper. About a police officer, corruption, morals and lessons from society.
Fans and critics were split as the IMDB scores aren’t so high but the Google reviews are at 91%.
Starring Vishal, Raashi Khanna, R. Parthiban and K. S. Ravikumar.
6. Bharat Ane Nenu
This 2018 Telugu movie has a Tamil dubbed version on Amazon Prime also as Bharat Enna Njan. It is a political thriller drama type of film about leadership and government reform when a kid has to take over his dad’s leadership upon returning from overseas.
The 2018 superstar Rajinikanth movie is an action and drama that had audiences split. However it is a must watch action drama film to see for yourself.
Starring Rajinikanth, Nana Patekar, Samuthirakani, Easwari Rao and Huma Qureshi.
10. Kaatrin Mozhi
This 2018 movie is one of the best Tamil comedy movies on Amazon Prime. It’s about middle class values and a housewife getting her shot to be an RJ on the radio. A very sweet film with some English Vinglish vibes!
A remake of the Hindi movie Tumhari Sulu, which was one of the Best Bollywood movies of 2017.
Starring Jyothika, Vidharth and Lakshmi Manchu.
11. Kadaikutty Singam
A 2018 Tamil drama film about a farmer family and trying to keep it together.
Definitely a Tamil crowd pleasing film and I predict will be a hit in smaller towns.
Starring Karthi, Sathyaraj, Sayyeshaa, Priya Bhavani Shankar and Arthana Binu.
A 2015 direct to online independent film about the perfect murder. A small Tamil amateur film that now has a home on Amazon Prime, give it twenty minutes to see if it hooks you in.
Starring R. Arvind.
A 2017 movie action thriller Tamil film about ransom. Great reviews and a compelling story with good review ratings and scores make this one of the better Tamil movies on Amazon prime.
The movie was written and directed by Lokesh Kanagara.
Starring Sri, Sundeep Kishan, Regina Cassandra, Charle, Madhusudhan Rao, Ramdoss and Vivek Prasanna.
A science fiction movie has a mystery angle to it with a serial killer plot. One of the better Tamil suspense film to watch on Amazon Prime.
Starring Sundeep Kishan, Lavanya Tripathi, Jackie Shroff, Daniel Balaji, Mime Gopi, R. Amarendran, Bagavathi Perumal and Jayaprakash.
A new Tamil comedy animation movie for 2019 on Amazon Prime Video about a guy chasing a rat only to have a criminal looking for diamonds in his home.
A nice family fun movie to watch in a live action cartoon format with good special effects.
Go ahead and give it a watch if you’re in the mood for good acting and some nice light hearted humor!
Starring S. J. Surya, Priya Bhavani Shankar and Karunakaran.
16. Nadigaiyar Thilagam (Mahanati)
A wonderful film that opened immediately to success from critics and audiences alike. There is also a Malayalam version which was recently dubbed. It’s an emotional biopic about the legendary famous actress Savitri.
Won many awards, one of the best Tamil and Telugu films on Amazon prime.
Starring Keerthy Suresh, Dulquer Salmaan, Samantha Akkineni and Vijay Devarakonda.
A political action film about fighting corruption. Flop or Fan favorite? Fans were split over this movie, and superfans of the director trolled anybody who dared speak a bad thing about the movie. Sad that is the reality of 2019 internet but what to do?
If the movie wasn’t for you die hard fans say that ten years later you will appreciate the movie. Regardless, do watch for yourself and comment your thoughts below.
Starring Suriya, Sai Pallavi (who also was the worldwide star of Rowdy Baby fame) and Rakul Preet.
A video game designer from the UK has to return to Tamil Nadu to fight government corruption.
Another Tamil political thriller film from 2018 that is part of Amazon Prime Video’s Tamil Drama collection. Vijay Deverakonda’s is a very versatile actor.
Starring Vijay Devarakonda and Mehreen Pirzada.
19. Pariyerum Perumal
One of the best Tamil movies on Amazon Prime from 2018 and the best Tamil drama film.
A law student from a lower level in Indian society finds for an upper caste girl. Fantastic debut direction by Mari Selvaraj. A great testament to the power of Tamil cinema.
Must watch Tamil movie that received many awards across the world.
Starring Kathir and Anandhi.
A bold social film with many themes about modern life in which a father has to take care of his daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy yet is trying to deal with all the usual hurdles of life.
Starts around the time his wife walks out on him.
Critics and audiences gave many awards for this movie. Cool narrative devices told in chapters. This 2019 film features a great actor and director and has very high ratings and reviews. Some called it a rare masterpiece. Some say it’s also the best Tamil film of 2019.
Starring Mammootty, Anjali, Sadhana and Anjali Ameer.
A lovely 2019 movie about a headmaster at a school overcoming obstacles and society.
Jyothika holds the movie together well. Directed by Sy. Gowthamraj.
Starring Jyothika, Hareesh Peradi, Poornima Bhagyaraj, Sathyan, Nagineedu and Aruldoss.
Two brothers, one of whom is hard of hearing try to take down a bad village ruler. A Telugu film but worth watching the Tamil Version on Amazon Prime Video. Also a box office success which one many awards and had an ensemble cast.
Starring Ram Charan, Samantha Akkineni, Jagapati Babu, Aadhi Pinisetty and Prakash Raj.
This interesting Tamil art film also covers some drama and comedy. An artsy and entertaining film about a theater actor shifting to the big screen that is all Vijay Sethupathi.
Film has it’s moments but won’t be for everyone. It is also nearly three hourslong but got very positive reviews from the Indian media.
A Tamil mystery crime thriller type of film what was filmed in Seattle, Washington in the United States about a retired officer who visits his son and then investigates a missing person in the area.
One of the better Tamil crime genre movies on Amazon from 2019. Directed by Vivek Elangovan and well received by critics.
Starring Vivek, Charle, Dev, Pooja Devariya and Paige Henderson.
33. Vidiyum Munn
A Tamil thriller in which a girl call and a twelve year old she is trying to protect are running from four goons.
Not a major production but worth a one time watch if you have seen all the other thrillers on Amazon.
Directed by former ad executive turned filmmaker Balaji K. Kumar.
Starring Pooja Umashankar, Malavika Manikuttan and Vinod Kishan.
One of the newer Tamil films about family drama with mass punch lines and good action scenes to keep all of the fans happy.
For sure a one time watch and entertainer that will delight you to watch if you don’t expect too much from the eventual predictable script.
Thala Ajith’s fans will be happy with this Amazon release! Directed by Siva.
Starring Ajith Kumar and Nayanthara.
One of the best Tamil films from 2019 available luckily on Amazon Prime.
A dark gritty drama about families at odds, farming life and good versus bad.
I don’t want to give too much away about this action drama but the actors and director are in top form and this is an edge of your seat movie that is not a passive watch, you should pay attention throughout and it won’t be too difficult too!
Another thriller by K.V. Anand about the lives of government security officials that has crowd favorite Suriya in top form.
A patriotic film that fans will appreciate, newcomers may find not as exciting as some of the earlier works in the genre. A good one time commercial watch in either case you can give a look if you’ve seen most of the other films on this list.
What do you think are the best Tamil movies on Amazon Prime Video India?
I will keep updating this list with the latest releases from Kollywood so do keep the comments coming!
Sanjay Manaktala is a stand-up comedian, author of the Harper Collins Book “My Beta Does Computer Things: You’re Guide to the IT Industry” and digital content creator. His latest effort is the Birdy Num Num podcast, helping you learn creativity in life after engineering. You can learn about Sanjay here or check out his stand up comedy YouTube channel here.