By Pranjali Wakde
The lockdown has made everyone a couch potato, quite literally! No way to step out – and even go to theatres, for that matter – people have been resorting to OTT platforms to entertain themselves. Not only them, but this ever-increasing use of such platforms has also pushed the producers and directors to release their movies or series digitally. And four months into the new normal of 2021, there’s been an onslaught of fascinating movies and series, of which the top 10 trending ones are listed right below.
- Tribhanga: Tedhi Medhi Crazy on Netflix:
When 15th January dawned bright and happy, Kajol, Mithila Palkar and Tanvi Azmi got busy charming our hearts in Tribhanga: Tedhi Medhi Crazy. The first look of the movie, along with it being Kajol’s digital debut, garnered much attention from the audience. And it didn’t disappoint! It was laced with emotional bonds, dysfunctional family dynamics and women with unconventional lives. Even though Netflix didn’t release its gross estimation, it was clear that everyone loved it, based on the favourable reviews, Instagram posts and Twitter fan tweets!
- The White Tiger on Netflix:
Based on Aravind Adiga’s Booker Prize-winner, the debut novel of the same name, The White Tiger was a much-anticipated film. The movie, released on 22nd January on Netflix, showcases the world of the Ameer Log (Rajkumar Rao and Priyanka Chopra), through the eyes of their servants (Adarsh Gourav). Apart from being an almost-perfect book adaptation, the movie also has a strong star-cast, impactful dialogues and engaging screenplay. It was no wonder then when Netflix reported the film was in the top 10 in the first month of its release, in more than 60 countries!
- 1962: The Wars in the Hills on Disney+ Hotstar:
Whichever movie or series that stars Abhay Deol, is going to be a hit – and this war drama series was no exception. Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, 1962: The Wars in the Hills was released on Disney+ Hotstar on 26th February and is a fictional retelling of the battles in Galwan Valley and Rezang La. And even though the critics weren’t that impressed by the series, the audience welcomed it with enthusiasm. They excitedly noted Deol and Gill working together after Dev.D, were energized by the title song and were busy recommending the series to everyone!
- The Girl on the Train on Netflix:
Based on a world-famous English novel of the same name, The Girl on the Train caused an inexplicable excitement in the audience. And when it finally appeared on Netflix on 26th February, this excitement just transformed into positive fan reactions on the social media handles. People praised Aditi Rao Hydari, Avinash Tiwary and Kirti Kulhari for their amazing performances; but they were even more impressed and in awe of Parineeti’s flawless rendition of the book’s protagonist. The mixed reviews of the critics didn’t deter the movie’s popularity – it just kept on trending!
- Bombay Begums on Netflix:
People were very excited for Bombay Begums, a women-centric web series, which was made all the more appealing by its release date, on 8th March, Women’s Day. The series features nuanced narratives of five women – different from each other in every way – struggling through life. The audience warmly welcomed Pooja Bhatt back again as the lead and complimented all the other actresses’ performance. Though the reviews and ratings were mixed, one can’t deny the accurate depiction of the patriarchal society and terrific, emotionally-stirring performances by the cast.
- Bombay Rose on Netflix:
If art and beauty can be combined and personified, it will give birth to this Netflix film, Bombay Rose. This 2019 animated feature film was released on 8th March on Netflix and is the first of its kind to be made in India. Though it might seem like a simple love story of a flower seller, the hidden themes and issues being tackled enrich the story with aesthetic realism. It is the brainchild of Gitanjali Rao, who managed to give a fascinating shade to the perilous lives of slum-dwellers in Mumbai. What’s more, the audience, as well as the critics, absolutely loved it!
- Pagglait on Netflix:
Right from its weirdly exciting trailer to the eccentric name, fans have been early awaiting the release of Pagglait on 26th March. The story is about a young widow who is not able to mourn the death of her husband for few months. Directed by Umesh Bist, this movie employs dark humour to propel the nuanced narrative of a mourning household – forward. Pagglait received largely positive reactions from the critics as well as the netizens. The latter was especially awed by the heart-warming performances and the subtle portrayal of society’s glaring problems.
- The Big Bull on Disney+ Hotstar:
When the trailer of The Big Bull was released, people were quick to compare it with the 2020 hit series, Scam 1992. When I was released on 8th April on Disney+ Hotstar, it was clear why the comparison ensued as it’s based on the famous market manipulator, Harshad Mehta. Mixed reviews were thrown around, but many netizens praised Junior Bachchan’s fabulous acting. The film has also been reported as one of the trending movies of the year and has garnered around 5.8 million streams within a week after its release.
- Ajeeb Dastaans on Netflix:
An anthology of films is still a new genre for Bollywood, even if there have been a handful of experiments in it. Ajeeb Dastaans, released on Netflix on 16th April, featured a beautiful ensemble cast and heartwarming feelings, all packed in four ajeeb stories. These four stories are – Majnu, Khilauna, Geeli Pucchi and Ankahi, evoking a turmoil of emotions in that exact order. The anthology received much love and appreciation from the audience, especially for Neeraj Ghaywan’s Geeli Pucchi, starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Aditi Rao Hydari.
- Tandav on Amazon Prime Video:
Political thrillers are always appealing to the Indian audience, and Tandav used that concept as its trump card. The hype around this web series was impressive, which was given justice (or not?) on 15th January. Unfortunately, the 9-episode-series didn’t stir the critics and even underwent a religious and legal controversy. The netizens also gave out mixed reviews, which ranged from praising the series and especially Sunil Grover’s fabulous acting to tweeting #BoycottTandav. Whatever the verdict, one can’t deny the fact that Tandav was a much-awaited and trending web series.
2021 didn’t really promise us a complete end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it did something good in the department of streaming materials. There might be even more amazing additions to this one, later in the year. However, for now, suffice it to say that these works of art have moved the hearts of the Indian audience.