Top 10 Indian streaming performances of 2021 (Ranked)

The advent of OTT media has exhibited an excellent shift towards the crafting of layered characters which were a rare sight earlier. It has also connected cinemas to the challenging realities.

Characters with such profoundness require an additional effort to become exceptional and require actors to shell out their best performances.

Let’s take a look at the outstanding character depictions in the OTT space by phenomenal actors in the year 2021.

10. Amruta Subash in Bombay Begums

Available on Netflix

Amruta Subhash plays Lily, a bar dancer in Bombay Begums. The is centred on five women from different parts of the city whose lives gets interconnected as they strive for survival.

Bombay Begums also stars Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami, Plabita Borthakur and Aadhya Anand.

Lily is a fearless woman at work and a caring mother at home who cannot tolerate the absurdity of social statuses. She fights head-on with Rani (Pooja Bhatt) when the latter’s son hits her son in a road accident.

Lily is a dynamic woman who can speak up for her rights and fight against any discrimination and Amruta Subash did complete justice to the role.

9. Jimmy Sheirgill in Your Honor Season 2

Available on SonyLIV

Sony Liv’s Your Honor 2 is a continuation that focuses on Bishan Khosla, played by Jimmy Sheirgill, who is compelled to choose between his roles as a father and a court judge.

Bishan’s son is accused in a hit and run case that led to the death of a gangster’s son.

Sheirgill perfectly demonstrates Bishan’s helpless state, who is being forced to act against the tenets of his job and likewise, his judgements are being constantly tampered with.

8. Vijay Sethupathi in Edhiri: KaruṇāNavarasa

Available on Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Navarasa’ is a Tamil anthology film comprising nine individual episodes produced by renowned filmmakers, Mani Ratnam and Jaydendra Panchapakesan. The film talks about 9 human emotions that steer our lives.

It is a special project as the best talents and acclaimed directors of the industry have taken part to breathe life into the film. Notable actors of the likes of Parvathy Thiruvothu, Suriya, Siddharth Suryanarayan, Prakash Raj were also part of ‘Navarasa’.

Edhiri: Karuṇā directed by Bejoy Nambiar gives a glimpse of Vijay Sethupathi in the role of Dheena who visits the house of a man and kills him as he was enraged about the fact that the man was the reason his elder brother committed suicide.

The man’s wife, Savithri (Revathi) is in horror to see his husband dead but does not disclose Dheena’s identity. What follows is a life of regret and remorse for Dheena, who askes for forgiveness from Savitri.

Vijay Sethupathi is known to weave magic whenever he comes on screen and he does it again. Both Vijay’s and Revathi’s powerful performances combined with the Bejoy Nambiar’s directorial enhances the beauty of the plot.

7. Mohit Raina in Mumbai Diaries 26/11

Available on Prime Video

Mumbai Diaries 26/11 is a hugely popular series based on the terror attacks undertaken by militants in the city of Mumbai in 2008. It pays a special tribute to the determination and selflessness of front-line workers even in a state of despair which is analogous to the pandemic situation due at present.

Mohit Rana yet again amazes with a stellar performance in Mumbai Diaries 26/11 after his short yet praiseworthy role in the film, Uri: The Surgical Strike.

He plays the role of Dr. Kaushik Oberoi, Head of Trauma Surgery in the fictional Bombay General Hospital. His powerful performance emphasises the selfless effort put in by doctors even in such horrific tragedies which often gets overlooked.

6. Kay Kay Menon in Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story

Available on Disney+ Hotstar

Kay Kay Menon returns in a special spin-off, Special Ops 1.5: The Himmat Story which provides a detailed account of RAW agent Himmat Singh after the 2001 Parliament Attacks. Himmat sought after finding the sixth mastermind behind the attacks.

The personal story evolves to help Himmat connect with the audience and Menon fulfils this responsibility with such ease.

His performance outshines all and keeps the audience engaged throughout the plot. We witness a gradual transformation of a young and vulnerable Himmat to the intimidating Himmat in Special Ops.

5. Sushmita Sen in Aarya Season 2

Available on Disney+ Hotstar

Sushmita Sen as Aarya Sareen shines in her character in a lengthy yet compelling crime thriller with its own range of unexpected twists. Her performance has been outstanding and kept up to the audience’s expectations.

Season 2 opens with Aarya returning with her children to have a major face-off with her own family. A mother who turns aggressive in order to protect her children from any harm posed by her enemies from the dark world of drugs and crimes.

Sushmita absolutely stuns us with her transformation from a weakling who attempts escape to a fierce protector against all evils. Aarya is adapted from a Dutch series, Penoza.

4. Pawan Malhotra in Tabbar

Available on SonyLIV

Sony Liv’s ‘Tabbar’ garnered attention due to its unusual take on conventional thrillers. It was quick to forge a connection with the mass as it mirrored reality.

The cherry on the cake is Pawan Malhotra playing the role of ‘Omkar’, a retired policeman who is determined to pull his family out from a grave mess they have been doomed with.

An edge of the seat thriller that became so engaging at times that it provoked us to lose our own morals and cheer for the protagonist.

Malhotra is quick enough to make audiences become fond of Omkar. He dons many hats — a doting husband, a caring yet strict father and a shield who stands against anything that proves to be a threat to his clan.

The portrayal of an honest family man turning into a heartless murderer, directed by the only ideal, “Nothing before family”, is exquisite.

3. Manoj Bajpayee in Family Man Season 2

Available on Prime Video

Manoj Bajpayee returns as Srikant Tiwari, a member of the intelligence agency, TASC who is gearing up again to put his life on the line and protect his country from the web of terror attacks being conspired by the terror masterminds.

Srikant is seen balancing both the ongoing crisis in his domestic life and the risky adventures of his field of work. Season 2 captures the indestructible Srikant terrorized as a father when his own daughter becomes a pawn in this vicious gamble.

Manoj Bajpayee never fails to charm the audience with whatever role he is in. He approaches this character with utmost authenticity and he never misses a detail. The complete contrast exhibited between the stern and know-it-all attitude he has at his workplace and the complete cluelessness as soon as he enters his home is entertaining.

Bajpayee was also seen in Ray, a Netflix anthology web series based on works of Oscar-winning filmmaker, Satyajit Ray. Bajpayee played the role of a kleptomaniac singer, Musafir Ali in Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa.

2. Raveena Tandon in Aranyak

Available on Netflix

Raveena Tandon was an absolute stunner enacting Kasturi Dogra in Aranyak. The Show marks Tandon’s debut in the OTT domain and proves why she is so accomplished as an actor.

Aranyak was released on Netflix on December 10 and instantly positioned itself as one of Netflix’s top shows further evolving into a global hit.

Kasturi Dogra is a fierce policewoman in the fictional town of Sironha, a hill station cocooned within high mountains and dense forests. Kasturi balances her responsibilities as a wife, a mother and also as a policewoman expertly.

She is ambitious and competent but fails to find the perfect case on which she can showcase her skills. While she is being replaced, she stumbles on a potentially huge case that will eventually uncover grave mysteries linked to the town.

Kasturi’s fierceness and her unbendable attitude are her real strengths. Her extreme professionalism and promptness are a sneak peek at reality. Tandon has been pitch-perfect in all of the above notes.

1. Adarsh Gourav in The White Tiger

Available on Netflix

The White Tiger was an unexpected gem in 2020’s OTT release slate and vowed the audience with its layered narrative and spectacular performances.

Adarsh Gourav, who plays the protagonist Balram Halwai, caught everyone’s eye as he outshone his seasoned co-actors like Priyanka Chopra and Rajkummar Rao.

His nuances while playing a low class driver who climbs the social ladder while struggling with constant discrimination are noteworthy.

His performances was globally loved and even earned him a BAFTA nomination in the ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role’ category.

Also Read: Top 10 Indian web movies of 2021 (Ranked)

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