The year 2021 was supposed to be a year of healing and going back to the way things were, but while not every issue has been resolved and there is a ‘new normal’ to wrap our heads around, one of the things that have returned is the consistent release of some our favourite web series.
We have compiled a list of some of the eagerly awaited returning web series as well as some new ventures that took the streaming landscape by storm. Starting from number 10, here is a list of the top 10 web series of 2021:
10. Aarya 2
Available on: Disney+ Hotstar
Cast: Sushmita Sen, Vikas Kumar Sikander Kher, Ankur Bhatia, Jayant Kripalani, Maya Sarao
The return of the Sushmita Sen-led crime drama Aarya includes yet another powerhouse performance by the actress. Her evolution across the season from a desperate mother to an eventual cold and calculating crime boss is quite captivating to witness.
While a particularly slow build-up is employed, the final payoff from the climax is completely worth it with the story well placed to explore interesting avenues in the future.
Available on: TVFPlay
Cast: Naveen Kasturia, Shivankit Singh Parihar, Namita Dubey, Sunny Hinduja, Abhilash Thapliyal, Kuljeet Singh
TVF have added yet another exquisite entry into their library of web series and it is a testament to their creativity that they can consistently produce such fascinating stories. Aspirants is the story of 3 friends who strengthen the bonds of their friendship while preparing for the UPSC examinations.
One of the charms of this series is how it managed to capture the essence of Delhi’s Old Rajendra Nagar, which is known as the hub of UPSC aspirants. It provides that authenticity that makes the series relatable to the audience.
8. Gullak 2
Available on: SonyLIV
Cast: Jameel Khan, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Vaibhav Raj Gupta, Harsh Mayar, Shivankit Singh Parihar
Yet another offering from the prolific TVF production house, Gullak a collection of likeable and relatable tales surrounding the wholesome middle-class Mishra family. The simple nuances of a small-town existence are captured perfectly in this series with the background score meshing well with the story
The performances from the central characters are spot on as they depict the typical small-town Indian family quite perfectly. The actors have done such a good job with the material that there is a certain realness factor that elevates the entire narrative.
7. Qatil Haseenaon ke Naam
Available on: ZEE5
Cast: Rubya Chaudhry, Sanam Saeed, Sarwat Gilani, Beo Raana Zafar, Faiza Gilani, Eman Suleman
Meenu Gaur’s Neo-noir anthology series is at the pinnacle when it comes to showcasing strong female leads while maintaining their sensitivity. Qatil Haseenaon ke Naam does a good job of breaking the stereotypes when it comes to the portrayal of female characters, especially in the noir genre.
The series gives the audience a good look at the fabulous talent that exists across the border, with the ensemble cast of Pakistani actresses performing their roles with distinction.
Available on: ALTBalaji
Cast: Rithvik Dhanjani, Tanuj Virwani, Jitendra Joshi, Monica Dogra, Supriya Pathak, Samir Soni
Ekta Kapoor’s crime drama follows the delicate balance between the various families of the criminal underground in Mumbai and how one single attack sets off a chain of events that completely flips the status quo.
Heavily influenced by ‘The Godfather’, the web series adapts several aspects of the mafia classic quite seamlessly making it an enthralling watch from beginning to end.
5. Mumbai Diaries 26/11
Available on: Prime Video
Cast: Mohit Raina, Konkona Sen Sharma, Mrunmayee Deshpande, Satyajet Dubey, Natasha Bharadwaj, Prakash Belawadi
The Prime Video original, focusing on the events that took place in the Bombay General Hospital during the fateful night of 26 November 2008, is completely raw and intense, totally in line with the real emotions people felt during that time. The portrayal of the doctors and other first responders as well as their vulnerabilities is bound to pull at the heartstrings of the audience.
The web series is not afraid to show the viewers the darker side of the government’s medical infrastructure like the constant harassment of doctors based on their sex, religion and more. The immersive experience, coupled with the stellar performances, makes this a must-watch.
Available on: SonyLIV
Cast: Pawan Malhotra, Supriya Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Paramvir Cheema, Nupur Nagpal, Gagan Arora
Tabbar is an intense family drama that focuses on the Singh family and how an unfortunate event sends them all into a sense of fear and uncertainty. It shows the importance of family unity during tough times and how it is essential to always have each other’s backs.
The various plot twists and performances make the series an absorbing watch from beginning to end, with Pawan Malhotra in the role of ‘Omkar’ showcasing that no matter how much you might want to stick to your principles, the moral lines are blurred when it comes to the safety and well being of your own family.
3. The Family Man 2
Available on: Prime Video
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Priyamani, Sharib Hashmi, Ashlesha Thakur, Shahab Ali
For the longest time, there existed uncertainty as to whether the second season of ‘The Family Man’ would actually see the light of day and yet once it did hit our screens, it proved why it deserves to be adored by the viewing public. The blending of multiple genres over one another makes the series a truly exciting affair bound to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
The story is well crafted, developing genuine emotional connections with the characters on screen making any investment in their eventual fates all the more intense. Thrilling action sequences and top-notch performances make ‘The Family Man’ a most definite must watch.
Available on: Netflix
Cast: Raveena Tandon, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Ashutosh Rana, Taneesha Joshi, Anna Ador
Raveena Tandon’s big debut in the streaming landscape is nothing short of extraordinary with her putting in a tireless shift in the crime drama, ‘Aranyak’. Set in a fictitious town in the hills, Sironah, the story follows Raveen Tandon as a Cop who delves deep into the mysteries that are buried in this remote location.
The cinematography captures the beauty of the hill station quite perfectly, while the direction makes this web series an edge of the seat thriller. There is a slow gradual build-up that picks up at the right moment making the end a very compelling affair.
1. Kota Factory 2
Available on: Netflix
Cast: Mayur More, Jitendra Kumar, Ranjan Raj, Alam Khan, Revathi Pillai, Urvi Singh, Ahsaas Channa
In a year where most educational institutions attempted to cram in a year’s worth of syllabus into the space of a few months, a web series that depicts the competitiveness of the landscape that exist under normal circumstances was bound to stand out. The second season of Kota Factory shines bright thanks to its reliability factor with viewers of all ages.
Every single aspect of the series is on form here from the script to the performances to the subtle background score. It succeeds in getting across the message it tries to relay without really shoving it right up the viewer’s faces. Kota Factory is one the best offerings to come out of the Indian streaming market, which is why it tops the list for must see recommendations.
Also Read: All web series and films on OTT in 2022