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- Dowry and outdated issues which still plague Indian life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.
7. TVF Tripling
Year: 2018 and 2019
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
- Young Love
- 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:
- police officers
- 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.
CAST: Sunny Leone, Bijay Anand, Grusha Kapoor, Raj Arjun and Karamvir Lamba.
14. Smoke (Eros Original)
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.
CAST: Ritvik Sahore, Tanya Maniktala, Sunakshi Grover.
Year: 2015 and 2016
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.
18. Bose Dead/Alive
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
- Adult Themes
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:
- bedroom olympics
- 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.
CAST: Vivek Oberoi, Richa Chadha, Tanuj Virwani, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Angad Bedi.
23. The Trip from Bindass
Year: 2016 and 2018
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.
CAST: Taranng Takrani, Kubbra Sait, Ridhi Khakhar, Sumeet Vyas.
28. Coldd Lassi Aur Chicken Masala
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.
CAST: Jasmeet Singh Bhatia, Shivankit Singh Parihar, Gopal Dutt.
31. Stories by Rabindranath Tagore
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,
- valuable lessons
- 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).
Either way it’s a cute web series TVF probably had some easy money or brand endorsement to make and quickly rushed it out. Definitely not one of the great TVF series but a nice free show to enjoy for the youth, and if you’re a girl in Engineering, I know the struggle of trying to cater content for you.
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.
CAST: Gurpreet Saini, Nivedita Shukla, Ramakant Dayma, Ranjini Chakraborty, Shikha Talsania, Parineeti Chopra, Kalki Koechlin, Richa Chadha and Silky Khanna.
36. Bang Baaja Baraat
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.
CAST: Harman Singha, Ruslaan Mumtaz, Nimisha Mehta, Raghu Ram, Auritra Ghosh, Flora Saini, Adesh Sidhu, Sameer Sharma, Manav Kaul, Rashi Mal, Meherzan Mazda and Aahana Kumra.
38. What the Folks
Year: 2016, 2018, 2019
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!
CAST: Harsh Vyas, Hitesh Chauhan, Veer Rajwant Singh, Baldev Trehan, Deepika Deshpande Amin, Dhruv Sehgal, Eisha Chopra, Vipin Sharma and Anula Navlekar.
39. Girls Hostel
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.
CAST: Dia Mirza, Mohit Raina.
43. Final Call
Based on the Priya Kumar’s novel I Will Go with You: The Flight of a Lifetime about a pilot who decides to take his own life…with all the passengers on board.
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.
Starring: Krystle D’Souza, Aditya Seal, Anushka Ranjan
51. Broken But Beautiful
Year: 2018 and 2019
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.
Starring: Arunoday Singh, Sikander Kher
53. Hostel Daze
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
Phew, that took me a few days but we did it!
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.
Sanjay Manaktala is a stand up comedian and digital content creator who runs his own YouTube channel, podcast and the SanjayComedy.com blog about inspiring creative India for a life after engineering.