Be it Gangsta Gaitonde’s clarion call challenging police officer Sartaj Singh to save the city within 25 days or Masaba’s quip – “Creativity is not like a tap na, jab kholo paani behna shuru!” (Creativity is not like a tap no, that water will flow as soon as you turn it on!), we have been provided with some memorable characters through Netflix’s slate of Hindi web series.
Even though drama dominates its repertoire of original content in India, Netflix seems to be diversifying gradually by adding comedy (Hasmukh) and semi-fiction (Masaba Masaba) to its genres of web series.
Not every country has an extensive content library on Netflix in its local language. But India’s unique level of appreciation for film and show culture has led to extensive investment in creating premium native content by the platform.
Here’s our list of the top 10 Netflix Hindi web series, appearing in the order of their debut, which you need to binge-watch:
1 Sacred Games (2018)
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Pankaj Tripathi, Kalki Koechlin and Ranvir Shorey
Did the opening theme just start playing in your mind? Well, it is the web series that started it all for Netflix in India. Based on Vikram Chandra’s 2006 novel of the same name, Sacred Games is an award-winning crime thriller drama in which a dangerous cat-and-mouse game ensues between a troubled police officer and a hardened criminal in Mumbai.
Does the former manage to save the city within 25 days from the savage and unpredictable machinations of the latter? The second season ended on a cliffhanger but there is no confirmation of a third season yet.
2 Ghoul (2018)
Cast: Radhika Apte, Manav Kaul, S. M. Zaheer, Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, Mahesh Balraj, Resh Lamba, Mallhar Goenka, Rohit Pathak, Robin Das and Surender Thakur
Ghoul is a horror mini-series based on the Arab folklore about a demon-like being called ghoul. Inserting the creature in a dystopian future setting in India, where fascism reigns supreme, the story revolves around the supernatural events that occur after a dreaded terrorist is brought to a secret government internment camp.
It is a chilling web series which will definitely give you goosebumps. Even though Leila is purported to be the first Indian dystopian series, Ghoul debuted about a year before that.
3 Selection Day (2018)
Cast: Mohammad Samad, Yash Dholye, Karanvir Malhotra, Rajesh Tailang, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ratna Pathak Shah, Shiv Panditt and Akshay Oberoi
Based on Aravind Adiga’s 2016 novel of the same name, Selection Day is a sports drama which follows the life of two brothers who have been raised by their cricket-obsessed father. The story is about wannabe rookies whose sole focus, according to their father, should be the selection day, when players are chosen to play in the domestic leagues.
Will their father be able to fulfil his ambition of creating the next great pair of cricket batsmen through his sons, maybe through some divine intervention? The first season has been divided into two parts. As of December 2019, the web series has reportedly been renewed for a second season.
4 Delhi Crime (2019)
Cast: Shefali Shah, Rasika Dugal, Aakash Dahiya, Adil Hussain, Rajesh Tailang and Jaya Bhattacharya
Delhi Crime is an award-winning police procedural based on the gut-wrenching real case of the 2012 Delhi gang rape. The crime drama follows the story of how a DCP, tasked to find the people responsible for the assault and death of the female victim, takes immediate action to apprehend the culprits, while greater powers are at play simultaneously.
The web series has been renewed for a second season.
5 Leila (2019)
Cast: Huma Qureshi, Siddharth, Leysha Mange, Seema Biswas, Rahul Khanna, Sanjay Suri and Arif Zakaria
Based on Prayaag Akbar’s 2017 novel of the same name, Leila is a dystopian drama which follows the life of a woman as she attempts to find her missing daughter.
Set in a totalitarian regime in the near future, which is sure to creep you out, the web series has been likened to the dystopian tragedy The Handmaid’s Tale. But there is no harm in enjoying the series, more the merrier after all.
6 Bard of Blood (2019)
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Vineet Kumar Singh, Sobhita Dhulipala, Danish Husain, Kirti Kulhari, Jaideep Ahlawat and Rajit Kapur
Based on Bilal Siddiqi’s 2015 novel of the same name, Bard of Blood is an espionage thriller web series. The story revolves around a former Indian Intelligence Wing officer who left behind the life of espionage.
But an international incident forces him to embrace that life yet again, and what follows is nail-biting action. Does he manage to finish his mission and get back to his love of Shakespeare?
7 Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega (2020)
Cast: Amit Sial, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Aksha Pardasany, Sparsh Shrivastav, Monika Panwar, Aasif Khan and Harshit Gupta
A crime drama web series, Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega is set in the Jamtara district of Jharkhand, a place which is notorious for phishing operations.
Based on true events, it is a tale from our hinterlands and captures the essence of rural India, where it doesn’t take long for simple scams to turn into violent schemes. It will keep you hooked with its realistic storytelling.
8 Taj Mahal 1989 (2020)
Cast: Neeraj Kabi, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Danish Husain, Sheeba Chaddha, Anud Singh Dhaka, Anshul Chauhan, Paras Priyadarshan, Middat Khan and Shirin Sewani
In a complete departure from the types of web series that Netflix India churned out till then, this romantic comedy debuted on Valentine’s Day 2020.
Set in Lucknow, Taj Mahal 1989 is about four couples who attempt to find love in the pre-Internet age. It will take you back to the olden days but with a modern twist. Get ready to roam the streets of Lucknow and experience what dating felt like before Tinder appeared on the scene.
9 Hasmukh (2020)
Cast: Vir Das, Ranvir Shorey, Amrita Bagchi, Deeksha Sonalkar, Ravi Kishan, Manoj Pahwa, Raza Murad and Suhail Nayyar
A first-of-its-kind dark comedy web series to debut in India, Hasmukh is the story of a small-town comedian who is also a serial killer.
The twist in the tale comes when he realises that to give a successful performance on stage every time, he has to kill someone beforehand. Does the comedian manage to evade capture or does he become a prey of the glitzy and glamourous profession?
10 Masaba Masaba (2020)
Cast: Masaba Gupta, Neena Gupta, Satyadeep Mishra, Neil Bhoopalam, Rytasha Rathore, Smaran Sahu, Nayan Shukla, Suchitra Pillai, Tanuj Virwani, Pooja Bedi and Gobind Singh Mehta
Another first, Masaba Masaba is a semi-fictional biographical series based on the life of fashion designer Masaba Gupta. Albeit a scripted version, where Gupta and her actress mother play themselves, the story involves incidents from their real life.
As Masaba tries to navigate her life, love, and career; what we get is a glimpse of the quirks and the craziness of a fashion designer’s life who has her own label and doesn’t stand any nonsense from anybody.
Which one are you going to binge on now? Or if you have watched them, which one of the above did you enjoy bingeing on the most?
Also read: Top 10 OTT platforms for Indian viewers