Hotstar, one of the top OTT platforms in India, partnered with Disney Plus last month to announce that over 25 original shows and 10 movies and specials will be streamed soon. This promises more new content on a platform that currently has one of the best collections of Indian movies and serials. Earlier this year, Zee5 also announced the launch of originals in south Indian languages, and some of them are already out. Amazon Prime, Netflix, YuppTV are churning out great content, and also releasing films that did not get too many screens in theatres.
Here’s a list of 9 popular shows and movies to binge-watch on OTT platforms right now:
Auto Shankar is an edgy thriller, a 10-episode series chronicling the life of Gowri Shankar and how he started out and became the most sought-after gangsters in a posh neighbourhood in Thiruvanmiyur, where he ran illicit arrack and prostitution rackets, and was hanged for murdering six people, which shook Madras in the 1980s and 90s.
The series is produced by cinematographer Manoj Paramahamsa, along with Ravindran of Trident Arts, and stars Sarath Appani, one of the stars of Angamaly Diaries, as Gowri Shankar. The series is directed by Ranga, written by Maniji, a blogger who has closely followed Shankar’s life. As part of the research, the team spoke to Shankar’s family, friends and neighbours, whose accounts are part of the film.
The series has been streaming on Zee5 since April 23.
Amala Akkineni is making her comeback with this Telugu web series, directed by Pushpa Ignatius. High Priestess stars her as a tarot card reader who steers seven plotlines. The series revolves around her experiences with her clients and the various stories from her life. It has been pitched as a supernatural thriller and a feel-good show, also starring Kishore, Brahmaji, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Sunaina, Vijayalakshmi, Bigg Boss Nandini Rai and GV Prakash’s sister, Bhavani and others.
The series has eight episodes and premiered on April 25.
Badnaam Gali is a comedy film starring Patralekhaa as a surrogate mother, and Divyendu Sharma as a character from Punjab who leaves home because of differences with his family. Shot in Delhi, the web feature deals with the stigma around surrogacy and an unwed mother.
In an interview with Indian Express, Patralekhaa says, “It’s a film about surrogacy, but that’s just a part of it. We are dealing with really important issues but in a humorous way. Most importantly we aren’t going the dramatic way rather have a fun aspect to it. The gali and it’s various characters also play an important part in the film.”
The film is directed by Ashwin Shetty, and premieres on Zee 5 on May 10.
Hutatma is a web-series loosely based on the Marathi novel of the same name by Meena Deshpande. It tells a part-real, part-fictional story of the formation of the state of Maharashtra on May 1 in 1960, and the agitation of the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement. The first season has seven episodes, and starts with the police firing that killed 15 protesters near Flora Fountain, which was later renamed Hutatma Chowk. The story centres on a young woman who becomes part of the agitation and conflict.
Directed by Jayprad Desai, the series stars Anjali Patil, Vaibhav Tatwawaadi, Vikram Gokhale, Mohan Agashe, Sachin Khedekar and others. It is currently premiering on Zee5.
Ekkadiki Ee Parugu
Ekkadiki Ee Parugu is a crime-thriller starring Shashank as a chef who files police complaint when his wife, played by Pavani Gangireddy, goes missing. An inspector who is soon going to retire from his job agrees to investigate the case, and the suspense is built around whether the husband killed Pavani, or was it someone else. There are sub-stories involving kidnappers, land-grabbing and drug dealings.
The twelve episode series, intended to be a film at first, is directed by Abhilash Reddy, and is streaming on both Yupp TV and Zee5 currently.
Lakhon Mein Ek
The second season of Laakhon Mein Ek is out. The first season of the series, created by Biswas Kalyan Rath, directed by Abhishek Sengupta, centred on a student sent to a coaching centre in Visakhapatnam to prepare for IIT entrance exam. The second season is about Shweta Tripati’s character Dr Shreya, and her fight with the politicians and government against the corrupt healthcare system in Sitlapur Village.
Sandeep Mehta, Milind Joshi and Ishan Mishra also star in the second season. It premiered on Amazon Prime on April 12.
Selection Day, another popular series on Netflix, is back for a second season. Based on the Aravind Adiga novel of the same name, the series follows a cricket-obsessed father who wants to make his sons, played by Yash Dholye and Mohammad Samad, into sports stars even though his second son dislikes cricket. The first season ended with both of them being enrolled in an academy in Mumbai, and the second season follows Mohammad’s character taking up his other interests.
The series is written by Marston Bloom, directed by Udayan Prasad. It premiered on April 19.
Roar of the Lion
Directed by Kabir Khan, this Hotstar docu-series stars MS Dhoni, and is about how the Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings team made a comeback in the Indian Premier League following a two year suspension for match-fixing. The series has been streaming on Hotstar since March 20.
In an interview with PTI, the director reportedly said that the series is a human exploration, one beyond the legal side and the uproar over the spot-fixing allegations two years back, and it will focus on what the phase did to Dhoni and the cricketers and others involved. This is Kabir Khan’s second cricket-related project after 83, which is based on the India’s win in the 1983 World Cup.