The meteoric rise of the Indian web series witnessed in 2020, continued to grow and provide entertainment to viewers across the world even in 2021. Though all of them did not live up to the expectations of the viewers in providing a satisfying and entertaining experience, some of them excelled with their out of the box storytelling style were well appreciated as well as watched by several viewers. Here is a list of my five top web series made in the year 2021 in ascending order.
5. Mumbai Diaries
Mumbai Diaries streaming on Amazon Prime is Nikkhil Advani and Nikhil Gonsalves’s recreation of the Mumbai terror attacks 26/11. Performance-wise the casting has been one of the brightest feathers in the crown of the series. The editing by Maahir Zaveri keeps the tension and anticipation rising with each of the episodes. The art direction by Vijay Ghodke and cinematography by Kaushal Shah works hand in hand to bring authenticity to the narrative. Though the series had all the elements to keep the viewers hooked but could not have consistency throughout all eight episodes.
4. TVF Aspirants
Aspirants might have thematic similarities with the previous web series of TVF’s Kota Factory but vary in terms of the treatment of the subject. Aspirants benefit from the realistic performances from the actors and display the grim reality of the cut-throat competition in cracking the UPSC examination. The web series was released on YouTube and had received praise and appreciation from the viewers right from the beginning. However, the series got involved with a controversy when writer Nilotpal Mrinal accused the team of Aspirants of plagiarizing his Sahitya Akademi Award-winning book Dark Horse.
Actor turned director Anirban Bhattacharya’s Bengali adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth for the streaming channel Hoichoi, Mandaar is a visually stunning piece of work with some enchanting characters portrayed by some potential actors from the Bengali cinema. Bhattacharya displays his acumen both in writing as well as extracting the desired performances from the ensemble cast. But at times he goes overboard with his visual extravaganza and as a result, the concluding episodes lose steam. Nonetheless, coming from a regional production house Mandaar stands at par with some of the web series made for the big streaming platforms like Prime Video and Netflix both in terms of directorial flair and technical achievement.
Award-Winning Independent filmmaker Ajit Pal Singh’s foray into the space of web series with Tabbar has been a very successful venture. The series moves at breakneck speed for a crime drama, which both have benefits and detracting aspects. The series excels an engaging tale of a family caught in the vortex of one nefarious act after the order. Their moral compass deviates from good to evil as the story spirals in directions that keep the viewer off-guard as to what is going to be the next step of these characters trapped in their wrongdoing. It is a dark, compelling, intelligent piece of work with few blemishes. Though the resolution is far from tidy or closed, yet it still manages to satisfy.
1. Family Man 2
Raj & D.K. ‘s dark comedy spy thriller Family Man 2 attracted controversy due to some of the liberties taken by the creators in depicting the struggle of the Sri Lankan LTTE. But despite such allegations the form of storytelling, as well as the cinematic style in which events in each of the episodes unfolds, is fantastic. Rather than explaining why the series is on my number one list, I would like the readers to watch the series on Prime Video and decide for themselves.