A still from Paatal Lok
A still from Paatal Lok

Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story

From Scam 1992 to Paatal Lok: The 2020 web series we loved

When you think of none other than Hansal Mehta reprising one of the biggest scams of India – you know that this will be a moment that you won’t easily forget. Set in 80’s and 90’s Mumbai, the series follows the life of Harshad Mehta, a stockbroker who took the stock market to dizzying heights and his catastrophic downfall. Hansal has taken absolute new faces and made an unforgettable series. The series is hands down one of the best, this year.

Cast: Pratik Gandhi, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Hemant Kher and others

Streaming on: SonyLiv

Paatal Lok

From Scam 1992 to Paatal Lok: The 2020 web series we loved

Crime thrillers have been a go-to for Indian web series. It might get tedious at times but when once in a while we get something like Paatal Lok, it shakes us up through to our souls. Be it the dynamics within the protagonist’s family, the helpless fate of the transgender community or the politics in rural India — everything is touched upon with a human quo which makes the narrative very empathising and relatable. Kudos to Jaideep Ahlawat, for finally getting his due and being able to ensure he makes it memorable.

Cast: Jaideep Ahlawat, Ishwak Singh, Neeraj Kabi, Gul Panag, Abhishek Banerjee

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

Panchayat

From Scam 1992 to Paatal Lok: The 2020 web series we loved

Panchayat’s biggest strength lies in its simplicity. The story revolves around city boy, Abhishek Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar) who appointed the Panchayat secretary of a small town. It is a different world from the mall culture and Friday nights that he is used to, but never once in the eight episodes writer Chandan Kumar or director Deepak Kumar Mishra glorify poverty, filth or illiteracy of the Indian village. The story instead takes you on a journey that makes you smile despite the shortcomings.

Cast: Jitendra Kumar, Raghuvir Yadhav, and others

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video/TVF

Aarya

From Scam 1992 to Paatal Lok: The 2020 web series we loved

Yet another crime-saga but unlike Paatal Lok, Mirzapur, Aarya is set in a whole different space. The change in the socio-strata reflects in the look of the series. Of course, the USP of the series is Sushmita Sen. Her hold of the character, blurs the line between real and reel, making Aarya her and vice versa.

Cast: Sushmita Sen, Chandrachur Singh and others

Streaming on: Disney+Hotstar

Bandish Bandits

From Scam 1992 to Paatal Lok: The 2020 web series we loved

Indian web series scene has mostly been about sex and violence, but suddenly when you get a dose of music ringing in, that too with actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Atul Kulkarni in the lead, you can be certain you are in for a treat. Directed by Anand Tiwari Bandish Bandits’ pillars are Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who make the Indian classical music scene interesting for us commoners too. The story line is simple, but the series rises above the mediocre simply because of the sterling cast it can boast about. The series has garnered enough applause to ensure that the second season will be well received.

Cast: Ritwik Bhowmik, Shreya Chaudhary, Naseeruddin Shah and Atul Kulkarni

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

Special Ops

From Scam 1992 to Paatal Lok: The 2020 web series we loved

An Indian espionage thriller created by none other than Neeraj Pandey himself. The series was highly recommended by the critics and the audience. Special Ops chronicles a 19-year-old manhunt conducted by a RAW agent, Himmat Singh and his task force. In the bid to capture a criminal mastermind, the agents have to face imminent danger and Himmat also has to face an internal audit. Despite the uneven narrative, you wait till all the eight episodes are watched and relished.

Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Karan Tacker, Saiyami Kher, Sajjad Delafrooz

Streaming on: Disney+Hotstar

Asur: Welcome To Your Dark Side

From Scam 1992 to Paatal Lok: The 2020 web series we loved

This mythological thriller, Asur staring Arshad Warsi and Barun Sobti is said to be inspired by True Detective. Asur follows Nikhil Nair (Sobti), a forensic-expert-turned-teacher, who returns to his roots at the Central Bureau of Investigation, and along with his former mentor Dhananjay Rajpoot (Warsi), finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game with a brutal serial killer. The biggest plus for the series was its novel concept that meshed mythology with thriller that completely Indianised the original inspiration. Our best estimate is that Asur season 2 will most likely release sometime in the new year and it will certainly be a series to watch out for.

Cast: Arshad Warsi, Barun Sobti, Anupriya Goenka and others

Streaming on: Voot

Mirzapur 2

From Scam 1992 to Paatal Lok: The 2020 web series we loved

The second season almost always fails to reach the expectations the first one leaves you with. But not Mirzapur. The first season had ended with the horrific wedding massacre that left many dead and drove a permanent wedge between a grievously wounded Guddu and his boss Kaleen Bhaiyya. Season two follows the principle of tit for tat — if you kill mine, I will kill one of yours. The vicious circle of death and glory isn’t over with season two. And the fans can’t hardly wait for the third one!

Cast: Ali Fazal, Divyenndu, Pankaj Tripathi, Vijay Verma and others

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

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