The theatres are probably going to be out of bounds for a while if you want to catch a movie. But, if viewing some solid content is what’s on your mind, try a few web shows instead. With ‘real’ story lines, powerful acting and classy direction, these are a must watch…
Mentalhood (ZEE5 & AltBalaji)
A light-hearted series focusing on the life of affluent moms — whether working, stay-at-home or work-from-home — and a single parent as well, Mentalhood gives a new dimension to how mothers are usually portrayed in Indian cinema. Marking the digital debut and comeback of actor Karisma Kapoor, the show also stars Tilotama Shome, Shilpa Shukla, Shruti Seth and Sandhya Mridul, as they each use unique strategies to become the best mom ever. An entertaining watch, this web series embraces the imperfections, dilemmas and struggles of mothers in the age of social media.
This show has a moving narrative set against the age-old India-Pakistan conflict. Kainaaz, played by Dia Mirza, is a woman from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, held in India under the suspicion of being a militant. Housing a sea of emotions in her eyes, Mirza has essayed one of the most layered roles of her career. Since its release, the show has received glowing reviews and touched audiences globally. Through this cross-border struggle written adeptly by Bhavani Iyer and brought to life by director Sonam Nair, Kaafir teaches us about the borders that make and separate us. A celebration of humanity and hope with deeply honest performances by Mohit Raina and child actor Dishita Jain, it is a must-watch to kindle hope in these trying times.
Family Man (Amazon Prime)
A typical spy-drama based on the travails of a middle class man who is employed with the National Investigation Agency. The pay is nothing to shout about, but his job is top-class and secretive. This man is caught between the dual responsibilities of protecting the country from terrorists and his family from the after-effects of his job. The lead role is essayed by the earnest Manoj Bajpayee as he keeps the episodes and the plot running in a fine tempo, one that doesn't let up till the very end.
A quiet surprise from the Netlfix, Jamtara demystifies the workings of phishing scams in rural India. A group of young men quietly run a lucrative phishing operation from the small village of Jamtara, until a corrupt politician wants a cut of the profit and a cop wants to fight it. The series is a refreshing take on power-play and crime dramas audiences are used to, with never-seen-before faces and a fast-paced plot that never lets up. A must watch for thrills, it makes for a perfect binge session with 10 episodes of a mere 25 minutes each, but packed to the brim with drama.
Panchayat (Amazon Prime)
A light-hearted reflection of rural India, Panchayat follows a fresh engineering graduate who is compelled to become the secretary at a Panchayat office in remote UP. With no favourable job prospects in the city, Abhishek Tripathi, played by Jitendra Kumar, find himself taking up an unattractive government job. The show has a lot of take-aways, one of the most important being how rural India is possibly more equipped to handle 'isolation' compared to its urban counterparts. A fitting comedy drama for these tough times, the show gives insight into a world not many in urban India know about.
Little Things 2 (Netflix)
Since the runaway success of its first season, Little Things created a modern love story that every urban Indian young adult resonated with. Following Dhruv and Kavya (essayed by Dhruv Sehgal and Mithila Palkar) the show effortlessly showcases how a modern romance pans out through live-in relationships, gender politics and sensible discussions that help them work through their issues. Unlike most love stories written for the screen, Little Things breaks the clutter for its smart, insightful observations made with limited fuss and a developed sense of maturity.