How many of the OTT shows and movies had you on the edge of your seat?
The year is 2022, and the world has been trying its best to adapt to the new normal. When the year started, there was a scare of the third wave, and once again, theatres were shut and business was affected. But in just a matter of months, everything came back to normal, and how! A lot of pending movies were finally getting their releases on the big screen, and OTT was continuing with the successful run it had the previous year. This year, when theatres had movies from every genre with big and medium budgets, OTT had a long run with the crime thriller genre.
Human, a web series that is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, was the first big show in this genre to come out on OTT. The medical thriller series was gruesome and came in the second week of January 2022, when the world was still battling the coronovirus pandemic. When asked if the makers considered postponing the show knowing the situation in the country, co-director Mozez Singh told OTTplay, "This was a decision taken by Disney+ Hotstar that they wanted to release at this time, and these decisions are not taken at the last minute. They have things like marketing and release plans that have been in place for quite a few months. So we were always working toward this date. The fact that this third wave has come and everything has become so crazy was something that just happened, so we decided to go ahead with it. I mean, when is a good time? You can't even predict anything anymore; everything keeps changing all the time. So we just said, 'You know what, if it's not now, then when?' and decided to stick with 'now' and just go for it."
On the same day, Netflix released the romantic crime thriller Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein. The series, starring Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi, and Aanchal Singh, is more on the edge of romance and dark comedy, more along the lines of pulp fiction. However, the underlying tone of being a crime thriller takes the cake, making the series much lighter and more entertaining to watch.
Within two months, Ajay Devgn's big OTT debut, Rudra: The Edge of Darkness, premiered on Disney+ Hotstar. The series, which is the Hindi adaptation of the British series Luther, is a psychological crime thriller and is about DCP Rudraveer Pratap Singh "Rudra," played by Ajay Devgn. In the show, he is on the trail of a suspect who winds up in the hospital in a vegetative state. After an investigation into what took place, he was restored to the force a few months later; nonetheless, the time away from the force had a negative impact on him. Although Rudra received mixed reviews, having Ajay Devgn as its leading hero helped the series get a lot of viewership since its premiere.
The other thrillers that made it onto OTT during the first quarter of 2022 include Bestseller (Amazon Prime Video), The Fame Game (Netflix), Mithya (ZEE5), Apharan 2 (Voot), Anamika (MX Player), and Undekhi 2 (SonyLIV).
In just the first three months of the year, it was more or less understood what genre was set to make viewers of OTT content glue themselves to their screens. But, even though there were a lot of thrillers, especially crime thrillers, only a very small number of them were interesting to watch.
Although Stranger Things Season 4 drew the majority of Netflix viewers' attention from April to June, a few found some relief in the thriller genre. One of the biggest titles that captured all the attention this year on OTT is Suzhal: The Vortex, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video this June. The Tamil series created by Pushkar Gayathri was praised by people all over the country for its brilliant execution.
The second quarter started with Abhay Season 3 on ZEE5, and from thereon, London Files (Voot), Escaype Live (Disney+ Hotstar), 9 Hours (Disney+ Hotstar), and Masoom (Disney+ Hotstar) were the thriller series that premiered on OTT.
After half a year, most of the new OTT releases are thriller shows that Indian filmmakers created. And then came the third quarter of the year, which kicked off with a thriller series set against the backdrop of the Indian military service, Shoorveer, on Disney+ Hotstar. Then, the legal drama Criminal Justice: Adhura Sach, which stars Pankaj Tripathi, was added to the same streaming service.
Despite the fact that there were many Hindi shows, it was the Tamil-language series that drew the most attention. Following Suzhal: The Vortex, SonyLIV debuted the thriller show Tamil Rockerz.
The final quarter of 2022 brought back the much-anticipated Amazon Prime Video series, Breathe: Into the Shadows 2, starring Abhishek A. Bachchan in the lead role. The hit Israeli show Fauda was remade into an Indian show Tanaav, which came out the same week on SonyLIV. In its first season, the action thriller series is all about Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir, Gulf money, and moderate separatists.
If there's an action thriller, there has to be a spy thriller, which was released in the name of Mukhbir: The Story of a Spy on ZEE5. The novel Mission to Pakistan: An Intelligence Agent in Pakistan by Maloy Krishna Dhar, who is now retired from his position as Joint Director of the Intelligence Bureau, has been adapted into a television series. So it did with the crime thriller Khakee: The Bihar Chapter, which premiered on Netflix a couple of weeks ago.
The year has not ended yet, and so has the list of thriller releases on OTT platforms. Fall is a thriller drama that premiered on Disney+ Hotstar a few days ago. The Tamil series is an official remake of the Canadian television series Vertige.
OTT released not only series but also a number of thriller films. Although it is a romantic drama, Gehraiyaan has a twist that makes it edgy and thrilling. On the other hand, Jalsa, which also debuted on Amazon Prime Video, is a thriller starring Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah.
It was a Neo-Noir kind of era in Hindi, with Gehraiyaan giving a glimpse of it, followed by Thar, which is a Neo-Western action thriller. Moreover, Netflix banked on the genre so much that they dropped one of the best films of this year, Monica, O My Darling, which is a neo-noir crime comedy thriller.
Whether it's A Thursday with Yami Gautam on Disney+ Hotstar, Looop Lapeta with Taapsee Pannu and Tahir Raj Bhasin on Netflix, or Love Hostel with Bobby Deol, Vikrant Massey, and Sanya Malhotra on ZEE5.
Lastly, Freddy, which is Kartik Aaryan's first outing in the psychological thriller genre, premiered on Disney+ Hotstar a few weeks ago.
Although it was all about thrillers, only a few left the viewers on the edge of their seats or glued to their screens. I hope this isn't the end of this type of story and that we'll see more of it, but with better writing and not just to make "exciting" content for the sake of "whatever."