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.
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
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.
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…
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.
Netflix India continues to invest in Tamil language content, as well as Malayalam and other regional languages which continue to churn out some of the best written films in all of India.
In fact most of these movies end up being remade into Hindi and Bollywood versions. South Indian actors are some of the best in the country and the OTT platform is heavy on showing Indian audiences the best Netflix Tamil movies available.
Even Amazon Prime is now competing with Netflix, Hotstar, Zee5 and other platforms to bring the best Tamil web series and movies to NRI audiences across the world.
My friend Comedian Praveen Kumar and I were in Chennai last week and we were trying to find a list of popular Tamil movies on Netflix, but we couldn’t really find anything good and with IMDB scores and ratings. So we sat on the train back to Bangalore and put this list together.
What are the best Tamil movies on Netflix?
Baahubali: The Beginning
Bahubali: The Conclusion
Goli Soda 2
Merku Thodarchi Malai
Power Paandi Pa Paandi
Sarvam Thaala Mayam
Super Deluxe Movie
Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru
Aval (Tamil)| The House Next Door (Hindi) |Gruham (Hindi)
Manusangada (Cry Humanity)
Whether you want superstar Rajinikanth films to enjoy on Netflix, or funny Tamil comedy movies, or drama and suspense type of genres, Netflix has a decent offering of the newest Tamil movies.
There’s no need to mess up your laptop with Tamilrockers, you can simply get good deals these days and watch the movies in high quality on a larger screen and enjoy to your heart’s content.
Best Tamil Language Films on Netflix
These are the most popular Tamil movies on Netflix India as of October 2019.
It opens with strong scene of the hero’s origin and then moves into action, adventure, love and obstacles to find your true self. Fans of mythical figures in India will rejoice as all aspects of religions, cultures, kingdoms, folklore and battles are in abundance in this big budget production.
Baahubali also did 650 crores at the box office and proved to the rest of India the power of South Indian Cinema and South Indian actors. An epic mythology story that will please the entire family for years to come.
If you haven’t seen it, it is definitely one of the blockbuster south Indian films of the last few years.
This ransom crime thriller was a decent first effort for Sarjun KM.
Audiences were divided on the story’s depth and second half but overall if you’re looking for a Tamil crime film to watch tonight and seen all the other films in this list in this genre, go ahead and give it a one time watch.
Starring Sathyaraj, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Kishore, Vivek Rajgopal and Yogi Babu.
4. Goli Soda 2
I don’t see Part 1 on Netflix but part 2 is here and although maybe not as great as part 1, is a nice movie by itself. The lives of three people who are underdogs in their own unique ways.
SD Vijay Milton makes a nice 2018 film that had reviewers and audiences split. Some said the first half was the second half but I thought it was a decent film.
This Telugu movie (in Tamil on Netflix) is a remake of a South Korean film “Miss Granny” in which a 70 year old woman then becomes her younger 25 year old self again. A very cool concept that serves well in Tamil cinema.
She is now able to relive her life. Audiences and critics loved this family friendly Tamil comedy movie which is also emotional in parts and will be a great watch with friends or large gatherings.
Starring Samantha Akkineni, Lakshmi, Naga Shaurya and Rajendra Prasad.
11. Orange Mittai
This Tamil comedy film from 2015 is about an old man and ambulance drivers who have to go on a journey together.
A beautiful memory lane nostalgia type of story that father-son sort of folks will truly enjoy.
Starring Vijay Sethupathi, Ramesh Thilak, Aashritha and Karunakaran.
A 2017 Tamil Action Thriller film directed by first time director Firoz about an underground fight club.
Naturally, there is also a romantic angle which turns the plot in this nice Tamil movie. They’re a lot of twists and turns which audiences will be sure to enjoy.
A Tamil Action Drama with a 83% google audience rating and of course superstar Rajnikanth. Times of India said the 2019 movie “gives Rajini fans their Thalaivar in a way that they have been dying to see him, celebrating the Rajinisms”
The Karthik Subbaraj movie did 250 CR at the box office and will do a lot more for years to come!
Starring: Rajinikanth, Vijay Sethupathi, Simran, Trisha, Sasikumar, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bobby Simha, Sananth, Megha Akash and Malavika Mohanan.
14. Power Paandi (Pa Paandi)
In this 2017 film, after arguing with his son, retired stuntman Aman goes to find his first love.
This is a wonderful comedy drama Tamil movie that is enjoyable to watch with the whole family. Themes are mature and not easy subject matter but done in a nice way that will keep audiences thinking about real life and it’s nuances.
Starring Rajkiran, Revathi, Prasanna and Chaya Singh.
15. Puriyatha Puthir
This 2017 psychological thriller film, which was directed by Ranjit Jeyakodi is about blackmail and using the camera on your phone in wrong ways.
A decent one time watch with a social message.
Starring Vijay Sethupathi, Gayathrie and Mahima Nambiar.
Won the audience award at the Busan International Film Festival in 2015.
A 70 year old man has issues in this Tamil drama film that was highly reviewed as you’ll have feelings of grandma, old age, nostalgia (who uses a radio still) and more.
Starring Lakshmanan, TVV Ramanujam, Shobana Mohan and Nivas Adithan.
As an NRI, I also enjoyed seeing this NRI story about government corruption and bad voting practices.
This 2018 political action film was actually written AND directed by AR Murugados. Vijay also gives a great performance.
A musical drama film from 2018 that is a feel good story and will keep you smiling throughout the movie. G. V. Prakash Kumar was nominated for some best actor awards.
A movie fanatic turns into a musician. Hmmm, who else is a composer and an actor here in real life?
Starring G. V. Prakash Kumar, Aparna Balamurali, Nedumudi Venu, Vineeth and Kumaravel.
19. Sigaram Thodu
An action thriller father-son police drama type of movie, which has its moments.
This 2014 film is one of the older ones on our list for Tamil movies on Netflix (curious why we don’t see too many older ones?) and not even the highest rated, but fans may enjoy seeing it on the streaming platform.
A 2017 movie that is very experimental in its narration.
The movie was shot simultaneously in Malayalam and Tamil. Directed by Bejoy Nambiar. Romantic thriller in genre and anthology.
It is not for everyone but has a great climax and if you enjoyed strange plot lines like the Hollywood movie Dunkirk or Kill Bill, you may enjoy the storytelling structure here as it has various worlds and narrative devices.
Starring Dulquer Salmaan in lead role, Dhanshika, Neha Sharma, Sruthi Hariharan, Arthi Venkatesh, Dino Morea, Manoj K. Jayan and Soubin Shahir.
21. Sometimes (Sila Samayangalil)
This 2017 suspense thriller is a Tamil Netflix Original film which takes place in a hospital waiting room.
This is a Tamil film industry remake of the Malayalam comedy drama Maheshinte Prathikaram.
The movie is about seven strangers who are awaiting their HIV test results to come back and recollect their experiences. It was released directly to Netflix. Premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival and was highly appreciated!
Starring Prakash Raj, Sriya Reddy and Ashok Selvan.
22. Super Deluxe Movie
This hit movie is probably the best Tamil movie on Netflix right now.
Four stories are intertwined much like the Hollywood film “Crash.” The film has:
What more do you want these days? Many great Tamil pop culture references also.
Really deep characters and highly appreciated in this neo-noir type of Tamil genre film. A future masterpiece by Thiagarajan Kumararaja. One of the best new Tamil films of 2019 also.
Starring Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, Samantha and Ramya Krishnan.
As an IT Guy this movie stuck with me for some time.
I think the picture had its moral lessons go over a few people’s heads.
It covers modern topics like virtue signalling and being a single parent. You can’t hide misogyny bro. The plot is a bit all over the place at times but it eventually comes together for better or worse.
A really thought provoking modern 2017 Tamil drama film by director Ram about jealousy, corporate life, family, love, romance and relationships.
Starring Andrea Jeremiah, Anjali, Vasanth Ravi and Adrian Knight Jesly.
The 2012 movie could have been a bit more chopped down or tighter, but overall still a nice action thriller type of movie with spy type of scenes and mystery angles.
Worth a one time watch as a good Tamil murder mystery film. The lead actor is blind so it keeps you guessing.
Starring Vikram, Jagapati Babu, Anushka Shetty, Amy Jackson and Lakshmi Rai.
25. Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru
A software engineering romantic comedy Tamil film a bit more on the lighter side than some of the similar genre movies above.
New freshers in their companies like Accenture or Infosys might relate to this story a little bit. The Tamil version of this 2012 movie was rated higher than the Telugu version.
Starring Siddharth, Hansika Motwani, Santhanam and Ganesh Venkatraman.
This 2019 corruption themed political thriller was a nice 2019 addition to Netflix’s Tamil catalogue of movies that uses the backdrop of Bhopal Gas tragedy.
This Tamil disaster movie sequel was directed by Vijay Kumar and produced by Suriya.
Starring Vijay Kumar, Sudhakar and Vismaya.
27. Uyare (Tamil)
In this 2019 Malayalam movie, a girl wants to be a pilot but falls prey to an acid attack. Netflix has this version in Tamil.
An important movie with a great message about important issues and also surviving the odds against you and hardships.
Starring Parvathy Thiruvothu, Asif Ali and Tovino Thomas.
This 2015 movie was written and directed by Vetrimaaran. An excellent crime and thriller and drama film. Premiered at the Venice Film Festival where it was also praised. One of the best Tamil films on Netflix India and a must watch suspense film.
This film received the best movie award in 2016. Awesome climax and fantastic acting by the whole team.
Finally a horror movie from Tamil and Telugu and Hindi cinema (the movie was shot in three languageS) that matches the CGI, production and most importantly, plot/storyline of a good Hollywood horror film.
This is a great step forward for Indian cinema to actually make good jump scares and keep you gripped to your seat.
Major credit to Milind Rau for this 2017 horror film. Don’t read too much about it, just know it’s one of the best new Indian horror films you can watch on Netflix now.
CAST: Siddharth and Andrea Jeremiah.
30. Manusangada (Cry Humanity)
This film festival favorite won many awards and is a Tamil movie about Dalit struggles in India. It’s a sad, very heavy film about caste divide in India that does not tie it up in a war and fuzzy feeling, that is partly the reality right?
A great independent Indian film that’s based on a true story about how we look down at those who are less fortunate in modern Indian society, even after passing.
Amshan Kumar made a great film that is only 93 minutes long and will leave you thinking and hurting and hopefully being a better human being as time goes on.
CAST: Rajeev Anand, Manimegalai, A.S.Sasikumar, Sheela Rajkumar, Vidhur Rajarajan, Sethu Darwin and Anand Sampath.
Did we miss any of your favorite Netflix Tamil movies on this list? Let me know in the comments, and if you have any suggestions to add feel free to ping me on Instagram. South Indian movies continue to get better and better so we will maintain this list monthly.
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.
Amazon Prime is investing heavily in Hindi and Indian content.
From thrillers to comedy to truly original independent films featuring some of India’s biggest stars and talented actors, there is so much choice it’s hard to decide.
So I put this guide together after my wife and I spent hours figuring out what to watch and then just giving up due to the paradox of choice. I hope it helps you decide what to watch.
What are the best Indian and Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime India?
102 Not Out (7.5)
2.0 Hindi (6.4)
2016 the End (6.2)
Aashiqui 2 (7.0)
Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain (6.8)
Ankhon Dekhi (8.0)
Ankur Arora Murder Case (6.5)
Arjun Patiala (4.0)
Badrinath Ki Dulhania (6.2)
Bajrangi Bhaijaan (8.0)
Band Baaja Baaraat (7.2)
Bhindi Baazaar (6.2)
Chaarfutiya Chhokare (6.4)
Chhota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka (6.7)
Dark Side of Life Mumbai City (7.2)
Dashing Detective (7.5)
Dedh Ishqiya (7.1)
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (7.6)
Dil Dhadakne Do (6.8)
Dil Jo Na Keh Saka (7.0)
Don 2 (7.0)
Dum Laga Ke Haisha (7.5)
Fastey Fasaatey (6.4)
Fukrey Returns (6.5)
Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 (8.2)
Gangs of Wasseypur Part 2 (8.2)
Gully Boy (8.3)
Hamari Adhuri Kahani (6.7)
Hasee Toh Phasee (6.8)
Hindi Medium (7.8)
Intelligent Khiladi aka Goodachari (7.8)
J.D. 2017 (6.5)
Jab Tak hai Jaan (6.7)
Jalpari the Desert Mermaid (7.2)
Kapoor and Sons(7.7)
Karthik Calling Karthik (7.0)
KGF Chapter 1 (8.2)
Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl (5.9)
lashtam pashtam 2018 (6.5)
Lipstick Under My Burkha (6.8)
Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (6.5)
Mere Dad Ki Maruti (6.4)
Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge (6.9)
Murder 2 2011 (6.2)
Rough book (7.3)
RX 100 (6.9)
Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (7.1)
Student of the Year 2 (2.4)
The Ghazi Attack (7.6)
Tiger Zinda Hai (6.0)
Tumhari Sulu (7.0)
Union Leader (7.6)
Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani (7.1)
Zed Plus (6.5)
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (8.1)
Even with high ratings and awards not every movie is a good choice. They’re various factors to look into and you can read a few lines below on each film to figure out which one is right for you and your partner, family or kids.
Best Bollywood Movies on Amazon Prime India
These are the best Hindi (and few regional) movies on Amazon Prime India as of October 2019.
1. 102 Not Out
An India drama comedy film with big stars, this 2018 movie will be loved by anybody above 50 and is honestly fun for the whole family.
Put it on if grandparents are over, based on a Gujarati play. Reminds me of Grumpy Old Men from Hollywood.
Starring Amitabh Bachchan Rishi Kapoor and Jimit Trivedi.
Whoa so weird that its also number 2 on this list.
Ok, I know if you don’t get some of these movies are meant to suspend your belief and be generous with that suspension but I enjoyed this flick.
This 2018 movie is a Tamil-Hindi science fiction film and has a decent message.
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.
Give it a watch if you’re in the mood for this genre and it’s safe for the full family! A great Indian popcorn flick!
Starring Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson and Sudhanshu Pandey.
3. 2016 The End
An apocalyptic Hindi comedy film with a few funny moments about what four friends would (unrealistically) do if you knew the world was going to end.
If you like movies in the stoner comedy genre or want something kind of like Delhi Belly but not quite goa head. It wasn’t as bad as I expected and a fun one time watch.
Starring Harshad Chopda, Priya Banerjee, Divyendu Sharma and Kiku Sharda.
The supreme court of India makes friendships tested.
This movie is a slow burn and it’s a movie to appreciate acting, kind of how people enjoyed Glengarry Glen Ross.
Maybe it will age well with time, but speaking of time this movie is very long.
You might get bored or you might just enjoy the talent on screen, but definitely not a popcorn flick.
Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Deepika Padukone and Prateik Babbar.
5. Aashiqui 2
A really great film for hardcore romantic fans.
Great chemistry between the main characters and they really play off each other well in this 2013 film.
Starring Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor.
A great blockbuster film with a star-studded cast, that opens and ends with tension.
This 2012 Bollywood film is all about revenge.
Starring Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Om Puri and Zarina Wahab.
7. Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain
This 2018 movie that translates to “how do you say that in English?!?” was widely appreciated by critics and did the film festival rounds in New York City and Jaipur.
It has great actors but didn’t do much in terms of the box office collections department. One of those movies you hear die hard fans say “please Bollywood push movies like this instead of that masala crap” type of flicks.
A good watch to see some actors doing what they do best, however.
I really enjoyed this Hindi black comedy from 2018 and Irrfan is great in a funny satire like this.
The comedy of errors of constant blackmail is also done well.
Starring Irrfan Khan, Kirti Kulhari, Divya Dutta, Arunoday Singh and Omi Vaidya.
Many fans were split that it was too much drama and not enough sport, but this 2015 film is a testosterone movie about MMA and fighting.
It’s a Bollywood Indian remake of the Hollywood movie Warrior.
Two brothers, fighting and family drama? Sign me up.
Starring Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra, Jacqueline Fernandez and Jackie Shroff.
18. Chaarfutiya Chhokare
This 2014 is about an NRI girl who returns to India to start some NGO work in the villages but realizes there’s a dark side to village life and exploitation is abundant.
Starring Soha Ali Khan, Harsh Mayar, Seema Biswas, Mukesh Tiwari, Zakir Hussain, Suhas Sirsat, Lekh Tandon and Umesh Jagtap.
19. Chhota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka
Put this on and let the kids enjoy themselves, one of the best Hindi movies for kids on Amazon Prime.
Of course, if you’re comparing to Kung Fu Panda and the likes it’s a little behind in CGI and story but for the budget, I was very impressed, even if I didn’t pay attention and just played it to keep the kids quiet.
Fox Searchlight picks some indie winners. This is a tragic 2014 film that has outstanding acting by Rajkummar Rao.
Really glad Amazon picked it up.
You will cry by the end of it so be warned.
Starring: Rajkummar Rao and Patralekha.
A political crime drama type of movie, if you like this gangster flicks you’re sure to enjoy this 2017 nailbiter.
This 2017 Tamil film has a Hindi option on Amazon prime and I’m glad it does. If you like movies heavy on good story give this one a watch.
The original title was Thupparivaalan.
Starring Vishal, Prasanna, Vinay, Anu Emmanuel, and Andrea Jeremiah.
23. Dedh Ishqiya
This 2014 Hindi black comedy is great and star studded. Unfortunately, it is not for the masses who may not get all the subtle humor or simply can’t relate to it.
It’s a very intelligent comedy and I highly urge if you’re tired of lazy filmmaking you watch this and appreciate the art of writing and cinema to see a well written Bollywood film.
Starring Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi, Naseeruddin Shah and Huma Qureshi.
24. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
A 1940s Bollywood period piece about mystery and crime-solving.
India needs to make more movies like this.
This 2015 ode to Bengali fiction is a great thriller mystery film that proof that Bollywood can still sometimes produce a great story.
Honestly, such a fun movie to watch.
If you haven’t seen it make sure you do if any of the movies on this list.
Starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Anand Tiwari and Swastika Mukherjee.
25. Dil Dhadakne Do
I personally didn’t enjoy this 2015 film but my brother kept it on the TV so I just watched it and despite it’s snooty shortcomings I guess the stars make it an interesting watch.
The upper middle class Indian’s first world problems seem to be a bit hard to empathize with (ironic from me considering I grew up in Los Angeles) but there is something on the screen that keeps you watching.
I guess that’s the Zoya Akhtar charm to pull off a family holiday on a cruise ship relating to the Indian masses.
A small low budget film that is a little charming but nothing great. Watch if you’ve seen everything else on this list. There is even a (LOL) typo in the trailer.
Starring Himansh kohli, Priya Banerjee and Manoj Pahwa.
27. Don 2
Talk about having some of the biggest stars in the world. Farhan got everybody in this 2011 Don sequel.
It’s a great blockbuster crime thriller that keeps you engaged until the end, even if they’re some boring scenes in between.
Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Kunal Kapoor, Boman Irani, and Om Puri.
28. Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Yash Raj Films picks some interesting films and this one was a great effort.
This 2015 film about a guy who has an arranged marriage to an overweight girl covers a lot of ground and themes about Indian society and beauty. The tagline on the poster was “Love comes in all shapes and sizes!”
Starring Ayushmann Khurana and Bhumi Pednekar.
Shah Rukh Khan gets teased for being too into himself.
So Shah Rukh Khan makes a movie about Shah Rukh Khan being obsessed with Shah Rukh Khan, starring Shah Rukh Khan.
Either way, it’s an entertaining 2016 Bollywood movie to watch at home.
Wasn’t that successful at the box office but probably made more money in streaming and international releases.
Starring: Any guesses?
30. Fastey Fasaatey
A romantic 2019 Bollywood comedy that is nothing crazy but a good time pass.
It’s not the best film, there is a no name cast but it is better than much bigger films out there.
Great to watch with family, just know it’s a low budget flick with some nice simple yet emotional dialogues.
Starring: Karishma Sharma, Arpit Chaudhary, and Nachiket Narvekar.
One of the best 2017 Telugu movies on Amazon Prime. A Hindi version is also available. Simple dialogues add up to something more organic.
NRI themes about India also in the film.
Starring Sai Pallavi, Varun Tej, Sarah Uriarte Berry
A 2013 Hindi slacker comedy. Plays on the theme of educational corruption but is just fun and uses some good actors well.
I enjoyed it even if the plot seemed a bit far fetched at times.
Starring Pulkit Samrat, Ali Fazal, Manjot Singh, Varun Sharma, Priya Anand, Richa Chadda, and Vishakha Singh.
33. Fukrey Returns
The 2017 Sequel to Fukrey is just as fun but doesn’t really offer anything new.
Maybe it’s because there was such a long gap between the two movies, but it just feels like an extension rather than a proper sequel of the same antics.
Starring Pulkit Samrat, Manjot Singh, Ali Fazal, Varun Sharma, Priya Anand, Vishakha Singh, Pankaj Tripathi, and Richa Chadda.
34. Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 and 2
If Godfather met Gangs of New York you’d have a lot of the storytelling devices used here. Regardless, this is a beast of a movie over 5 hours in total.
It’s a push for modern Indian cinema and one of the best Bollywood films of 2012.
The original cut was over 300 minutes (five hours) hence Anurag Kashyap had to split this movie with an ensemble cast into two.
Starring: Manoj Bajpai, Jaideep Ahlawat, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vineet Kumar Singh, Piyush Mishra, Pankaj Tripathi, Richa Chadda and Reemma Sen.
Akshay Kumar continues to prove his love for India in this 2018 film about India’s first Olympic gold medal (in hockey).
A Bollywood sports drama and a period piece set in the 1940s.
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Mouni Roy, Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh, Vineet Kumar Singh and Sunny Kaushal.
36. Gully Boy
Ranveer Singh really makes you root for him trying to be the small town boy nobody really thinks of and then rises up to win these competitions.
A blockbuster movie and one of the best Bollywood films of 2019, based on the true story of Divine.
Ironically when I went into the movie at PVR during its last week of showings, I got a notification from Prime that it was coming next week.
#facePalm Time Aayega?!?
For me oddly enough the scene of him just waiting outside a nightclub as a driver was oddly one that stood out to me since I knew that all the hip hop swag shots would be fun as is.
Zoya Akthar continues to impress with how to get the Indian middle class caring about stories that cross literally, all walks of life.
Starring: Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt and Siddhant Chaturvedi.
37. Hamari Adhuri Kahani
Emraan Hashmi holds this 2015 film together about a plot we’ve heard before. Lover goes missing, other love finds someone else but then lover returns.
Don’t worry, there weren’t any spoilers here.
Starring Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan and Rajkummar Rao.
38. Hasee Toh Phasee
A slightly off the cuff romantic comedy film that will win you over with the charisma of the two leads. Reviewed well by major critics also.
Rani Mukerji does a great job in this 2018 film about a teacher with a speech impediment.
It ends up being a beautiful film and this is a perfect family-friendly Bollywood movie to watch on Amazon prime.
Starring: Rani Mukerji
40. Hindi Medium
A comedy of errors about education and wealth in India’s modern society. Appreciated by critics in India and worldwide.
One of the best Hindi movies of 2017.
Starring Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar.
An adult comedy that is not family friendly, this 2015 Bollywood movie is about a guy thinking life is more than just one night stands
Don’t expect any prize winning lessons but compared to some of the really really bad and cringe worthy films Bollywood puts out that are really backward, this at least has SOME story and some bit of character. (e.g. Compared to Grand Masti types)
Starring Gulshan Devaiah, Radhika Apte, Sai Tamhankar and Veera Saxena.
42. Intelligent Khiladi aka Goodachari
A nice Telugu movie with a 2018 Hindi remake.
Like an Indian James Bond movie that was praised by critics so if you’re in the mood for a Hindi or Telugu spy thriller gave this unique movie a watch.
Universal critical acclaim, important tribal issues and India’s official entry for the Oscars. A black comedy-drama film that is an excellent political satire.
This 2017 is a triumph for the lead actor who continues to prove his mettle. One of the best Hindi films of 2017.
Starring Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Anjali Patil and Raghubir Yadav.
One of the most hyped up Bollywood blockbusters of 2018.
A 200 crore production that ran too long at 163 minutes, but glad Amazon Prime has the rights so you can enjoy it at home during your own schedule.
Mixed reviews from critics and audiences (for the historical context) but a visual treat that is a blockbuster worth attempting to watch. Also was it real controversy to try and stir up the box office or actual problems?
I know these movies take a long time to make but the edit table can at least keep up with consumer’s attention spans right?
But aside from all that, it’s worth watching for 30 minutes and then deciding if the movie is for you.
Ranveer Singh was praised for his acting.
Starring: Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.
This 2016 movie was critically acclaimed and for good reason. It explores four women in Gujarat who have their own wants and desires and have to deal with outdated customs and traditions that suppress them.
With a talented cast and subject material that makes you think, the film isn’t for everyone and some holier than thou folks will kind of look away, but I thought it was a well-done film with a message, whether you want to hear it or not.
Forced patriarchy anyone?
Starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, Adil Hussain, Lehar Khan, and Sayani Gupta.
This horror movie is also on Netflix. Not too scary but a good first attempt by Anushka’ production company.
Don’t confuse it with another movie of the same name with a lower rating.
Starring Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, and Rajat Kapoor.
This 2018 film is about two sisters who are part of the same family yet always bickering like *cough* India and Pakistan.
A really good movie and a hidden treasure by Vishal Bhardwaj.
It’s a nice colorful film and has its moments. Got pretty good reviews from the media also.
Starring: Radhika Madan, Sanya Malhotra, Sunil Grover and Vijay Raaz.
An Amazon Original movie! Finally!
A photographer is pressured to get married by his family so he convinces a lady to act as his fiance.
This 2019 Hindi movie premiered at the Sundance Film festival.
A beautiful movie with a beautiful storyline that again, unfortunately, won’t appeal to masala masses but looks like Google users and other crowds really appreciated it’s simple sweet message.
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sanya Malhotra.
A straightforward 2017 family-friendly Hindi movie about Malavath Purna, the youngest girl to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
And considering the danger in recent years (even around the same time frame), this movie is even more impactful.
If you like mountains and true stories, you’ll love this film.
Starring Aditi Inamdar, S. Maria, Harsha Vardhan, and Rahul Bose.
My wife and I really enjoyed this 2018 film about an undercover RAW agent married into a Pakistnai family just to get some intel.
Firstpost who is usually a bit more hard to please on their reviews gave the film a 4.5 out of 5 stars saying the espionage was heart-stopping and edge of your seat. Audiences also loved the film.
One of the best espionage spy thrillers out of Bollywood in 2018 and recent memory.
Starring Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal.
A nice bit city story starring the web series stud Sumeet Viyas about what happens when career minded folks get kids before they’re ready.
The second half of the movie has a turn that is unexpected and kind of resolved quickly which makes you wonder what the movie was really about, but overall a good flick to pass the time.
Starring Kalki Koechlin, Sumeet Vyas, and Hitesh Malhan.
72. Rough book
This 2016 movie is all about analyzing the education system in India. Premiered at the 2015 New York City Indian Film Festival.
Some bitter truths in the movie that the masses looking for a popcorn flick might find boring.
One of the better movies about Indian education.
Starring Amaan Khan, Joy Sengupta, Jayati Bhatia, Vinay Jain, Deepika Amin and Kinjal Rajpriya.
73. RX 100
A Hindi and Telugu film with a twist that makes you realize this movie was never like the simple repetitive premise you thought it was.
An audience favorite Telugu film from 2018.
Starring Kartikeya and Payal Rajput.
This Hindi movie premiered in 2016 at the Cannes Film Festival and is about the true story of an Indian man who drunkenly stumbled across the Pakistani border and then had to spend 22 years in prison, which is so sad.
Movie got mixed reviews from critics but it’s a good home watch on Amazon and has decent acting from the leads. Not all the true facts were in the movie so you’ll have to research on your own to get all the details in case you want to after watching the film.
Starring Aishwarya Rai, Randeep Hooda, Richa Chadha, and Darshan Kumaar.
An emotional action thriller with breathtaking visuals. Most people enjoyed it but it is quite long at 3 hours.
One of the best Bollywood action movies of 2016.
Starring Ajay Devgn, Sayyeshaa, Erika Kaar, Abigail Eames, Vir Das (hey bro!), Girish Karnad and Saurabh Shukla.
A jaded young Bangalore professional wants to go on a road trip to get away from his boring copywriting job in this 2017 independent film.
He lands up in various situations that show him more to life along the way.
A great effort by Sandeep Mohan which hopefully lands him other things in the future. I included it here because I’m glad to see Bangalore stories being made and it was an enjoyable watch.
Starring Arjun Radhakrishnan, Falah Faisal, and Chandan Gill.
77. Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety
One of 2018’s best Hindi comedy films, don’t take this movie too seriously.
Some ladies might roll their eyes how the boys can’t stick up for themselves and they make the lady a gold digger.
Audiences appreciated it and if you can get past the little bit misogynistic nature of the bros before girls sort of attitude, it has its moments. I personally didn’t enjoy the film too much but put it on this list because I know it was an audience favorite and maybe you will. I felt the same way about Pyaar Ka Punchnama 1 and 2 also.
Starring Kartik Aaryan, Nushrat Bharucha and Sunny Nijar.
78. Student of the Year 2
This movie is so bad that I had to put it on this list. I’m also curious if you read this post so if you did please comment below.
I think the folks at Dharma Productions are really smart and they’re taking a Rebecca Black Friday approach to drawing buzz.
Either way I guarantee you a lot of people will watch it on Amazon Prime just to see what all the buzz was about, then want to talk about how bad or unrealistic it was.
One of 2019’s worst Bollywood movies? Let me know.
Starring Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday.
This 2016 Bollywood blockbuster about wrestling was Salman Khan’s best movie of the year.
It’s a sports drama and typical popcorn masala movie but good for family and friends alike.
A 2016 Tamil movie with Hindi options is an action-packed revenge drama.
Doubled it’s production budget in collections which made it a commercially successful film also.
Fans really appreciated the pace of the movie and I think you will enjoy either the Tamil or Hindi versions as well. One of the best Tamil movies on Amazon Prime India.
Starring Vijay, Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Amy Jackson.
84. Tiger Zinda Hai
A way better movie than Race 3. This 2017 masala entertainer was good to Salman Khan at the box office and doesn’t try to be anything other than what is marketed.
Don’t expect any amazing twists or a very tight script, but if you want to escape mundane life and not think too much, this movie is for you.
Starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif.
The Hindustan times called this the best Hindi film of 2014.
A very gritty film that portrays some of the sad realities of life in the slums. Looks like Yash Raj Film is going after Fox Searchlight and getting off the cuff stories to give Indian audiences some clever films to make them think.
A lot of people enjoyed this film and looking at all the awards it got, you might also.
Praised internationally by the Hollywood Reporter, this 2014 film was well received and hopefully finds a nice home on Amazon or other streaming platforms.
Starring: Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl, and Shivani Raghuvanshi.
A survival 2016 film about a man who gets locked inside his own house with no way of getting out. If you liked a movie like Hollywood’s Room you might like this.
Rajkummar Rao got a Filmfare Award for Best Actor for this film.
It is a “one-room drama” much like many other Hollywood thrillers of recent memory but this movie keeps you engaged.
They’re a couple of missing logical plot points but either way, it’s very entertaining thanks to the outstanding performance of its lead actor.
Starring Rajkummar Rao and Geetanjali Thapa.
An audience favorite that premiered at the Venice film festival. This historical period drama film will keep you hooked to the edge of your seat.
Finally, a movie critics and audiences can agree on.
One of the best Hindi thrillers of 2018. Kind of reminds me of the Spanish movie Pan’s Labyrinth.
Amazon Prime Video is investing heavily in original Indian content for its streaming service.
Indian viewers are hungry for stories more than just Bollywood love stories and also want a diverse set of actors and fresh faces to keep things interesting.
Combined with fierce competition from Netflix India, Alt Balaji and Zee Five, the content market is on fire with more money being dumped than you can count.
My wife and I spend more time looking for what to watch than actually watching, so I put this list together to help you quickly figure out the best web series and shows to watch on Amazon Prime Video India.
What are the best Hindi and Indian series on Amazon Prime India? In no particular order:
Made in Heaven
The Family Man
Laakhon Mein Ek
Four More Shots
Chacha Vidhayak Hain Humare
Mind The Malhotras
Vir Das Jestination Unknown
Harmony With A.R. Rahman
One Mic Stand
The Forgotten Army
Not all of these shows will be for everyone, but they each have their appeal.
I’ll explain the ratings and reviews of each below so you can find what’s right to watch for you.
What to Watch on Amazon Prime India
India is unique in that Bollywood and Hindi shows usually get the numbers, but the content is diversifying and that will have both pros and cons.
Just like nobody in the south is going to watch Gujarati cinema, you’ll see a lot of negative reviews on shows that are:
too “wannabe”, (WTF?)
too sexual or whatever else.
Regardless, I’ve seen most of these and aside from Hear me, Love me (uff) everything has a place on this list and is worth watching as detailed below.
So quickly scroll through and make the choice that’s best for you.
Best Amazon Prime Indian Series
Amazon is killing it with these Prime original Indian language shows that are pushing the boundaries of Indian storytelling.
Here’s more detail on each show. Let me know which web series is your favorite in the comments below!
R. Madhavan leads the cast with this flagship Amazon show that is highly rated, highly reviewed and as with all good Indian dramas…sheds light on our money-driven society that exploits medicine and law enforcement in times of need.
If you’re new to Hindi shows on Amazon India and want something is generally family-friendly but not comedy then this is a great place to start.
The show grips you to the end and we’re all waiting for season two.
One of the best Amazon Prime series from India.
The Breathe web series is also starring: Amit Sadh, Sapna Pabbi, Shriswara and more.
Like a mix of HBO’s Entourage meets IPL meets the American Showtime Show Ballers, Inside Edge is a great first attempt and personally I think it hits a couple of sixes during various at-bats.
Vivek Oberoi and Richa Chaddacontinue their career trajectories and Tanuj Virwani, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Angad Bedi all shine in this exciting high paced show.
As usual haters on blogs and reviews will have a hard time reconciling the “wannabe show off” culture whether it’s IPL, drugs and sex and rock and roll, English scenes or all of the above but it’s a fun show to watch and has its place.
Reminds of how the movie Any Given Sunday in America got a lot of flack for showing the downside of football life but let’s be honest…all of the stuff depicted in this show probably exists in India’s favorite pastime cricket.
The motion graphics look a little tacky and outdated but other than that, it’s like a better execution for Four More Shots (on the masala front) and the B-roll stadium scenes really amp the production.
My brother is in the Indian wedding DJ and Lighting industry in America, I recently got married in Bangkok and this show hit all the right notes for me at just the right time.
The series is about two Indian wedding planners in Delhi who have to deal with snobby upper-class Indians (and middle-class, lower class and society in general who all have their hopes and aspirations) and uses the vehicle of the wedding industry to show life for South Asian culture.
It’s just awesome. Each episode is a different big fat Indian wedding which also has different subplots, while also continuing each character’s arc, including martial affairs and LGBTQ issues in this country which are as important now as ever.
Zoya Akthar continues to find a perfect blend of east meets west and is great at showing Indian middle-class culture in a non-condescending way, which trust me, as an English comedian in India is not easy to pull off without inviting trolls and haters.
This is probably the only English Indian show on Amazon or anywhere that pulls off a majority of the English content in a non-cringe way.
I personally think that this show is going to launch a ton of careers, and as Kubbra Sait told me about Arjun Mathur, the guy has been at it forever and it’s so nice to see him get recognized the big time for his performance in this show.
A great example of an “overnight” success taking years. Made in Heaven is probably the best series on Amazon Prime India.
Amazing performances all around by the cast of Arjun Mathur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Kalki Koechlin, Jim Sarbh (reminds me of Screech from Saved by The Bell), Shashank Arora and Shivani Raghuvanshi.
Reminds me a bit of the show Rishta.com which I’m sure they used as influence which had Kavi Shastri from YRF Television.
I think that show was ahead of its time and probably succumbed to the same “masses hated but real writing fans loved it” types ala Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. Notice how Ratna Pathak always ends up with some quality stories!
This show is close to me because my friend Suman Kumar has also been working hard to be a stand-up comedian for the last five years, and he’s spent the last two years on this and none of us knew what he was really doing.
Considering how difficult it is to do comedy especially after 30 I’m glad to see his labor of love pay off to such high reviews.
Well done to you and your team buddy, and check out his stand up comedy also! (Also fun fact both of our wives are doctors).
This is Amazon India’s newest Indian web series and going to be right up there at the top. It’s a spy thriller but also does a bit of comedy and it’s hitting all the right notes.
Similar in tone to the Netflix Bard of Blood espionage thriller, I think you’re going to see Amazon put a lot of muscle in promoting this show after the early reviews and viewer data come in.
I didn’t even realize it was out until my friends were telling me to watch it, which is why I thought let me deep dive into it.
This show is:
part Spy Versus Spy,
part Mission Impossible,
part Sacred Games,
part that new Sacha Baron Cohen thriller The Spy…
The Family Man is easily the top of the Amazon Prime Hindi web series list.
This is going to be a big one, mark my words as of October 2019!
Starring Manoj Bajpayee as Srikant, Sharib Hashmi, Neeraj Madhav as Moosa, Priyamani as Suchitra, Vedant Sinha, Mehak Thakur as Dhriti, Shahab Ali as Sajid, Pawan Chopra as Sharma, Shreya Dhanwanthary as Zoya and Sharad Kelkar, Darshan Kumaar.
This Mafia crime thriller has just been renewed for a second season and Pankaj Tripathi and Ali Fazal steal the show as always in this North Indian mobster story full of violence and lawlessness.
It all starts with an inciting incident (film school or hero’s journey anyone?) at a wedding (not like Made in Heaven though) and takes off from there.
My brother loves this show, fans of Netflix’s Sacred Games will love this show and while you may not want to binge on it with mummy and papa around, it’s a gripping show that will hold you until the end.
Starring Ali Fazal, Vikrant Massey, Pankaj Tripathi, Divyendu Sharma, Shweta Tripathi, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Rasika Dugal, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Amit Sial, Sheeba Chaddha, Harshita Gaur and Anangsha Biswas.
The show just got renewed for a second season on Amazon and should be out in less than a year.
Another comedy friend of mine Biswa Kalyan Rath wrote the two seasons of this show about middle-class India’s struggle to either get into engineering or medicine.
I always say that in India, engineering and medicine is a blueprint to the middle class and this show sort of highlights this theme, from a comedian who quit life after IIT to do stand up comedy and now more dramatic storytelling.
In India, you can do what you want after Engineering, right?
A good show for families and youngsters alike, it’s a good watch and motivating at the same time.
A couple of episodes you’re unsure where things are going but it’s meant to keep the viewer thinking and I think if you’re not in a crime/action mood it’s a wonderful show to give a go.
But you know what, just like we saw with Dave Chappelle’s latest special Sticks and Stones on Netflix, sometimes the audiences and critics don’t get along.
They do seem to agree on this though.
However, knowing this show had low ratings I still watched it since I’ve met and worked with a few of the staff here once in a while and we run in similar circles.
My wife and I wanted to hate it, we really did. But we just kept watching. Until we finished it.
Is there a lot of unnecessary sexual stuff going on? Of course. But it’s done truthfully. We are a country that gives adult websites like 90% of their ad revenue thanks to Jio.
So why are people hating on a show that talks about things already on the minds of most Indian people anyways?
Get off the high horse folks!
People have affairs, the workplace isn’t exactly innocent and yes, women think about all the things you twisted guys think about in incognito mode.
Although the script was a bit loose and the production quality could have gone up a bit, I thought it used the actors very effectively and gave each character something unique to do.
Plus I remember seeing all the tweets on social media during the show. Some cringed, but everybody watched. What does that say? If you don’t like something, change the channel. If you watch the whole thing in a time when most YouTube viewers quit a video within 8 seconds, you clearly were engaged.
Starring Sayani Gupta, Bani J (who MTV made famous), Kirti Kulhari and Maanvi Gagroo who stars along with other web series star Sumit Vyas in TVF’s Tripling.
My darling friend Sumukhi Suresh has created this show and it was one of the first I watched because well, we’ve also made several videos together including this one about a maid that about 10 million of you have watched (across YouTube and Facebook).
One of the few shows after Made in Heaven that can really pull of English in India, I loved it because it’s Sumukhi’s true-life story and Sumukhi is just such a versatile actor, I actually almost cried at that closing monologue.
Girls can be irrational stalkers also and this was one of the first Amazon web series to capture the nonmainstream market, so well done dear.
Any millennial girl who grew up in a hostel will relate to the dialogues and humor as well.
Season two is currently being scheduled for release.
Starring Sumukhi Suresh, Naveen Richard (another comedian) Preetika Chawla (also in Made in Heaven) and Manish Anand.
Varun Thakur is another name that’s been around the Indian stand up comedy and sketch scene for years. He used to act in AIB videos on their YouTube channel and was a part of the now split SNG Comedy You Tube gang.
He’s also always been a fan of Bollywood and acting and played a few roles in various Bollywood films.
I’m glad to see he got his own show when Amazon first kicked things off in India and although not a very high budget Amazon production, the show is hilarious and fans of the B rated horror genre in India will totally find this show wonderful.
The other irony is that this show about low budget Indian 80s horror flicks actually has a much higher budget and cinematography than the original subject material.
A great comedy watch during or after dinner, and sad we didn’t see a Season two from Amazon Prime of Shaitaan Haveli.
Starring Varun Thakur, Neha Chauhan and Bhupesh Singh.
Zakir Khan has skyrocketed to become the most popular stand-up comedian in India, with literally any video he touches guaranteed to get 2-3 million views.
The show feels similar to Zakir’s themes of being a small-town boy trying to find his way in life and also faking it to make it.
Very popular with his fans and public alike, do give it a watch and it’s a very family-friendly series for Amazon India, unlike many of the other items on this list.
Starring: Zakir Khan as Ronny, Vyom Sharma as Anwar, Kumar Varun (another Indian comedian) as Kranti, Venus Singh as Avantika, Zakir Hussain as Rajesh, Alka Amin as Amrita and Abhimanyu Singh as Chachaji.
This show is an acquired taste, as those would end up clicking on it would also compare it to Modern Family.
I don’t expect some small family in a small town in Gujarat to relate to this show or its sarcasm and first world problems, but I also think the family in Bandra that does get it would just prefer to watch Modern Family instead.
Ahh, the beauty of trying to run entertainment in India. I’m curious how the Indian version of the Office will do on HotStar as well.
If you’ve watched all the other comedy shows on Amazon Prime and are looking for something a bit off the cuff, it’s still entertaining, cleaner than Four More Shots Please and a very commendable effort that I hope the Indian audiences adopt soon.
Starring Mini Mathur, Cyrus Sahukar, Denzil Smith and Sushmita Mukherjee.
12. Jestination Unknown
A unique reality based travel show from fellow stand up comedian Vir Das in which he and Raj Sharma and Ashwin Mushran (both friends of mine, disclaimer) travel around the country exploring the cities of India with a fresh twist.
Early reviews are positive of the digital travel show based on Twitter research. They travel around Jaipur, Calcutta, Punjab and other cool parts of India while also doing some jokes and shows.
Starring: Vir Das, Raj Sharma, Ashwin Mushran, Anu Menon.
13. Harmony With A.R. Rahman
Continuing the Amazon Prime Indian travel tend, The Mozart of Madras has a beautiful five part mini-series exploring the sounds of Mother India. He travels all across the great land to blend tradition with modern sounds and give the viewer something unique.
If you’re in a five part non-fiction sort of mood, it’s a wonderful show to follow the legend that is A.R. Rahman. The show is more interest piece and knowledge focused, so don’t expect any drama or comedy in abundance, although it has it’s light hearted moments.
Starring: A.R. Rahman
14. One Mic Stand
Fellow stand up comedian Sapan Verma from East India Comedy takes Bollywood celebrities and musicians on a journey of self discovery via India’s booming stand up comedy scene.
As someone for whom this is close to home I really enjoyed the Shashi Tharoor Episode and so did the internet!
Starring Sapan Verma, Shashi Tharoor, BB Ki Vines and various others.
15. The Forgotten Army
I have yet to watch this show but as I’m updating this blog and it’s out tomorrow, I thought I’d drop it in.
The timing for the subject matter couldn’t be better and early approval even on the trailer points to something that you’re going to watch for sure.
Netflix India is making a huge push in original Hindi shows, regional content, and competing fiercely with Amazon, Alt Balaji and Zee Five on who can make the best Indian web series.
With budgets that seem to be infinite, most major streaming platforms are hungry for India’s attention.
What are the best Indian shows on Netflix India in 2019? They are:
Sacred Games Season 1
Sacred Games Season 2
Bard of Blood
Little Things Season Two and Three
and many more below as Netflix is now acquiring TVF and other studio’s content…
Thanks to cheap internet, Jio, free time and increasing consumer preferences to sit and home and order in, the Indian middle-class economy is hungry for original binge-worthy content.
They want Indian stories a bit further from the censor board and not the stuff they’ve seen on traditional mediums like TV or Film, but also a bit more polished than what’s on YouTube.
Who needs Netflix and Chill when you can Netflix, Swiggy, Instagram and then do it all over again tomorrow?
From comedy to drama, true crime to thrillers, Netflix’s Indian shows are crowding the home screen and we thought it’d be best to put together a list of the best Indian shows on Netflix.
Not every show will be for everyone, and the only thing worse than watching a show where nudity comes on is watching an INDIAN show where nudity comes on, so check below for the detailed pros, cons, and recommendations for each show.
The beauty of a lot of these shows is that they’re also available in Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, English and various other regional languages.
Best Indian Original Shows on Netflix India
1. Sacred Games Season 1
One of the best thriller series on Netflix is arguably their flagship Indian show. You can totally binge on this despite its heavy subject material.
Varun Grover has been a name most of us in stand up comedy world have known for years, and he doesn’t shy away from talking about things that are uncomfortable and clever.
I knew when he wrote this show it was going to be some next-level writing.
Combined with Anurag Kayshap, Saif Ali Khan, revered actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Pankaj Triptahi who often steals the show…and platform favorite Radhika Apte…the cast is awesome.
Complimented by Kubbra Sait(who was on my podcast here)…it’s no wonder everything lined up to deliver a high budget, highly entertaining and highest-rated show for the platform.
2. Sacred Games Season 2
Kalki Koechlin, Amruta_Subhash and a few other big-name actors joined for the second season which was slightly less well-received than the first season but expectations were high and this season is honestly just as good.
Ignore the reviews comparing it to the first season, the show is popular both within India and with the NRI crowd abroad which is a commendable feat to be relatable to all parties.
The show’s characters also remind me of Harshita Gaur from Mirzapur, but it’s more or less just based on shooting, storytelling, and genre.
3. Delhi Crime
My wife and I watched this show in literally two days.
Despite the horrific subject material which is even sadder because of its true basis, the tone of the show is gripping from the start.
The characters are also well defined, even the young daughter who can be annoying at times is well thought out from all aspects of the family.
It covers the horrific case, the government corruption, has a very bleak no soundtrack tone sometimes and sheds light on society, politics, family and a lot of the disparities we see daily in India but often overlook until times of crisis.
I personally think it’s one of the best Indian original Netflix series.
Starring Shefali Shah, Rasika Duga (loved you in Humorously Yours with Vipul Goyal)l, Adil Hussain, Rajesh Tailang all giving excellent performances, the show is top-notch and has the ratings and reviews to boot.
The seven episodes will go by in a flash, but we warned, probably not a family binge and it’s drama and it’s best. So don’t expect to be in the best mood afterward. Truth is a bitter pill to swallow, right?
IMDB: 4.6 (because of political and religious trolls), Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Indian shows, much like Indian commercials sometimes all start to look the same after a while. The couple on the sofa, on a tablet, trying to order something and then the obvious solution.
So I always appreciate when sometime tries to do something different and off the cuff, and although the story can feel a bit drawn out sometimes, definitely give Leila a watch.
Huma Qureshi does a nice job as the lead and the Netflix Original also stars Siddharth, Seema Biswas, Rahul Khanna, Sanjay Suri, Arif Zakaria, Ashwath Bhatt and Anupam Bhattacharya.
If you enjoyed Sacred Games and want something set in the future in a dystopian setting much like Children of Men, this show is definitely next on your list.
Ignore the reviews, the critics for once have it right with this show and you will enjoy it. Bingeable in two days or less depending on how much time you have.
Regarding the online trolling this show is getting…unfortunately people forget that entertainment and art is supposed to ask questions.
While the show has certain messages, you can see Hindu folks super sensitive thinking they’re being attacked and dumping negative reviews on IMDB and YouTube.
We have shows showing extreme Christians, Muslims, violent sexual crimes, humor, satire, horror, monsters and pretty much any other group…can people relax and just appreciate art for what it is? And also not be so hypocritical?
They’re good and bad folks in every lot.
Netflix India can be funny sometimes, taking after the parent companies social media with classy humor and good taste. And they even tweeted that yes, Radhika Apte is in yet another series. This streaming miniseries, however, is anything but funny.
The Indian horror is definitely worth a watch and has a few big cares and delivers a better than Typewriter in my opinion. I mean compare the trailers…which one scares you out of your seat? Which one feels more like a Hollywood leap for Indian cinema?
It’s from a team similar to Insidious and Get Out and shows that India is ready for real talent and real films, not just the nepotism sort of stuff we see from Karan Johar and those love stories.
They have a place and a form in pop culture, but millennials and elder folks alike are appreciating modern storytelling that is edge of your seat fun.
Also starring, Manav Kaul, Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, Mahesh Balraj ,S. M. Zaheer it’s a great show you won’t expect all parents to like but perfect for an evening of Netflix and Chill.
Always fun for the new couple to enjoy the small 3 episode run time.
6. Selection Day
Similar in genre to Amazon’s Inside Edge with youngster Mohammad Samad, Yash Dholye, Karanvir Malhotra, Parul Gulati, the ever graceful Ratna Pathak Shah and more, the series is about India’s favorite obsession, cricket.
I mean India loves cricket so much it’s probably the one thing with higher rankings than Bollywood.
This show is probably better if you’re younger as you’ll relate to the protagonist and also has a similar story vibe to Dangal of a kid trying to match his overzealous parents.
It’s not a show you’ll remember for years but if you’re looking for something to play with the family and cousins over, you can’t beat this.
Plus its cricket galore!
This show seems to be filmed with a bit of Haunting of Hill House in mind, but seems to be a thriller more than straight horror.
Either way, there was news about people giving up after episode 1 because it was too scary, but I enjoyed it despite the mixed reviews and if you’ve seen the other on this list go ahead and give it a binge.
Emraan Hashmi is no stranger to the big screen and Sobhita Dhulipala is a household name after Zoya Akthar’s Made in Heaven.
This show promises to be exciting as it explores espionage and action which usually gets eaten up by audiences these days.
Unfortunately, the show will have comparisons to a buddy of mine Suman Kumar’s show Family Man on Amazon Prime (which is also getting great reviews) but let’s see how things shape up. It’s out in a few days and I’ll update it here.
9. Little Things
Year: 2017 to 2019
After getting her start in Girl in the City, Mithila Palkar is a star after this show pushed her over the top.
She more recently starred in the major Netflix movie Chopsticks.
Update: Season 3 of Little Things just announced. (see Trailer below).
Little Things is a fun take that builds small scenes (e.g. Little Things) into big long drawn out monologues much like you see in Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight.
It’s a light-hearted yet serious twist on common Bollywood tropes and sometimes fresh, sometimes drawn out but for some reason highly entertaining.
Even when you want to shout at the screen or complain about the characters, you still don’t change the channel.
I’m sure the viewers will learn towards the more female fanbase, but overall a fun show and I was surprised.
10. Lust Stories
Lust Stories is an awesome show that shows 4 disconnected stories that are totally believable. Zoya Akthar is great at capturing Indian society in a serious yet humorous way and this is no different.
Built off of the success of 2013’s Bombay Talkies (you’ll definitely binge on that after this), the show is meant to be watched in any order.
Pretty sexual undertones but done tastefully and intelligently, and starring folks like Radhika Apte, Bhumi Pednekar, Kiara Advani, Manisha Koirala, Vicky Kaushal (who’s also having a great run, Neil Bhoopalam, Neha Dhupia, Sanjay Kapoorand Akash Thosar.
It’s no secret why Netflix India swiped yes on this show immediately and made it an original.
11. Girls Hostel
This 2018 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.
12. Engineering Girls
The 2018 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. Now on Netflix as of October 2019.
You get to follow along with three girls in Engineering college (unlike Dental school which is girls hostel above) and see what they have to deal with.
Plot is a bit thin but the youth LOVES this show with over 11M views just on the first episode! Curious to see what Netflix does with this show and these numbers are probably why it was acquired in the first place.
Other users who reviewed it say it’s a simple girlish series while others think it’s a female rip off of 3-idiots.
As Netflix continues to dump more money into India and Pakistan and South Asian cinema in 2019 and beyond, there are a host of shows, movies, comedy specials on more all fighting for attention on the streaming platform.
We’re also seeing Amazon invest heavy in Prime Video and they have some amazing shows in the pipeline as well.
It’s an exciting time for Indian entertainment and cinema since for the first time, the box office is not the only benchmark and the audiences are truly speaking.
Indian stand-up comedy continues to gain popularity in India and worldwide as local and NRI audiences realize TV shows aren’t keeping up with what the modern country wants.
From just 15 comedians in 2010 to well over 200 in 2019, it seems everybody you know is changing their DP into a picture of them holding a microphone at the open mic.
Thanks to Facebook and YouTube and insanely priced internet access, Indian stand up comedy is also at the forefront of entertainment.
Amazon Prime and Netflix are also looking at comedy closely as a way to continue to buy market share of the middle-class Indian consumer. It’s insanely cheap to spend on a Amazon Prime comedy special that produce a web series or a movie.
But how do you decide who to watch and what flavor is right for you? Which one is the funniest Indian comedian?
In a country as diverse as India where Hindi is king, the numbers clearly favor the Hindi comics. However, in years to come, we will continue to see a diversification of comedy in English, Tamil, Kannada, Punjabi and who knows what else.
But in the meantime, since YouTube doesn’t really allow you to sort the biggest videos, here’s a quick list of the most viewed Indian stand up comedians I know from being in the scene.
Best Stand Up Comedians From India in 2019 (Hindi)
The list below is based on the videos/artists I know of in the comedy space by YouTube views. If I missed anybody let me know. They’re plenty of other great Indian comedians in English, Tamil, Kannada and more.
Updated View counts: November 2019
So who are the best stand up comedians in India in 2019?
This video from the AIB Diwas festival in Mumbai arguably launched Zakir Khan into the mainstream.
Although it was hardly an overnight success and Zakir had been at it for years, the timing of his talent and exposure lined up nicely from this point onwards.
It’s easy to see why Zakir and Abhishek continue to be thought of as the best Indian stand up comedians because wow, they’re blowing the numbers out of the water. You probably also know Zakir from his Amazon Prime Haq Se Single special.
Continuing his hot streak from the same show, Zakir follows up by giving his fans more of what they wanted. Girls check, exams and studies check. Middle class comedy has never been so relatable to the Indian audiences.
Zakir eventually used these videos as a way to launch into the Great Indian Laughter challenge. He also used the phrase Sakth Launda which means to be a kind of flirtatious, non committing guy.
Taking home the gold, silver, and bronze in most viewed Hindi stand up comedian, Zakir keeps at it in this clip from Canvas laugh club in Mumbai.
Speaking of Canvas Laugh Club, the largest comedy club in India also launched the careers of many of the comics on this list. Unfortunately it shut down but hopefully, it opens soon, because of the number of views featuring its branding is insane.
One such name you probably know is Abhishek Upmanyu who along with Zakir probably has the most views of any Hindi stand up artist across the world.
How many of you knew Abhishek also worked at Bain and quit that to enter the comedy world? How much talent and luck can one person have!
Respecting elders, questioning Indian middle-class society and more is all great in this clip from Canvas yet again.
India loves it’s YouTube, and there is one other Tube that probably gets most of its traffic from the subcontinent. Abhishek gives us insights into both.
Anybody who’s stepped outside in India knows the beauty of dealing with strangers.
Now that both Canvas comedy clubs have shut, the new big player with a very recognizable backdrop is the Indie Habitat in Mumbai.
Another very popular cultural reference in India is about the TV shows we all watch, and Abhishek continues to reference the right topics with the right jokes.
The comedy club is a great space to record and has probably taken over the Indian YouTube’s stand up comedy subconscious with its instantly recognizable backdrop. If you see a thumbnail from here, you will assume the quality is fairly decent.
The craziest thing about stand up comedy in India is that nobody has a linear career.
This is not like engineering or medicine where the longer you work, the higher you are. Thanks to YouTube and proper timing, this video from a guy I never heard of (at the time) shows if you work hard on your sets for a few years and then time it right, good things can happen.
But they’re no short cuts, and I’m sure he’s also a gifted storyteller or communicator. But this funny video on exams and cheating and so on shows you also have to hit the right notes for Indian audiences (e.g. school, girls, middle-class life, etc..).
In comedy having a unique voice also helps. The term is often overused, but basically some comedians (ahem) take years to find their style, while others seem to have it naturally. In Bassi’s case it seems to the be the second. Well done!
4. Manik Mahna
Similar to Bassi above, if you hit the right notes, have good jokes, a good audience and get a good recording with good audio, good things can happen.
Manik Mahna is another name who has nearly 400K subscribers with just two videos. In stand up comedy talking about school, classmates, engineering, girls, families and much more can be considered evergreen content, and I’m sure these videos will keep the fans coming for years to come.
Another great success that shows the democracy of talent in the age of YouTube.
Speaking of democracy, Kunal Kamra burst onto the scene by giving Habitat its first big viral video as well as himself with Patriotism and Government.
He had been performing at Canvas Laugh Club in Mumbai for years before then.
He continues to troll the Modi supporters, mainstream media and pretty much anyone in government with his comedy and has a very popular Instagram page.
While I personally am looking for Kunal to talk about dating or his personal challenges (weight loss maybe?) his success proves that sometimes doubling down on a niche (family, dating, politics, Indian society, engineering) might be a good way to craft your space in an increasingly crowded Indian comedy world.
Amit Tandon is one of the few folks on this list who has been doing stand up comedy since 2010. Lucky for him Facebook has been a huge boom and being a personal friend of mine, I have no bias noting him down here. This video on Facebook currently has 18M views and gets traction daily.
Amit likes to discuss clean comedy topics related to family and kids. You’re not going to see him ripping a joke on Modi or Rahul Gandhi, but more so on middle class nuances and family dynamics. He’s one of the best Indian stand up comedians from Delhi and in India generally, and also one of the highest paid corporate comics.
Clean comedy pays off folks!
7. Aditi Mittal
Aditi Mittal is another name in the Indian stand up comedy scene who’s views also matches her work ethic. With 10M views on this clip alone, it’s easy to see why her comedy is both hilarious and required in the growing comedy market that is India.
Aditi jokes about general Indian life, dating, women’s issues, middle class family dynamics and a host of other relatable topics.
8. Sundeep Sharma
Sundeep Sharma is kind of a “slacker” comedian that works too hard for it to actually be true. His style is very casual and confused with the world.
Rising to fame strictly on the back of YouTube and WhatsApp, it’s glad to see him getting the success he deserves.
9. Nishant Tanwar aka Joke Singh
Unliked the clean comedic stylings of Mr. Tandon, Nishant Tanwar is quite the opposite. His Amazon special is called “I’m from Delhi Mother FU****” and you can guess what those asterisks spell out.
Regardless, Joke Singh deserves much of his recent success.
He is one of the hardest working guys in the scene, who has traveled the world trying to figure out his comedy zone.
Thanks to a switch to Hindi and consistent uploads, he’s hit it big by focusing on quick comedy content and catering to his audience.
Nishant is proof that you don’t need to have crazy camera quality to get popular in the Indian stand up comedy scene, as his earlier viral clips were shot simply on an iPhone.
Amazon Prime Indian Stand Up Comedy Specials
Most Indian stand up comedy in the future will focus on Hindi and Tamil as the streaming platforms look at what’s working on YouTube.
While we don’t know the numbers from Amazon or Netflix, or even comments to see what the audiences are enjoying, you can easily determine that based on promotions and what’s happening on the Prime Video home screen.
If you’d like us to list out the most well known Amazon Prime Indian stand up comedy specials do comment and we’ll throw in our recommendations.