From drama, crime, and real-life tragedies, here's a glance at the best Hindi web series this year.
With a wide variety of riveting stories that have enthralled viewers across platforms, 2023 has undeniably been a watershed year for Hindi OTT series. Thrilling stories abound this year, from Asur 2's psychological criminal thrills to Dahaad's dramatic investigative drama, from Shahid Kapoor's OTT debut Farzi to Jubilee's historical fascination, and beyond. The offers have been absolutely remarkable, with Kohrra exploring the intricacies of human weaknesses and Scoop revealing the secrets of Mumbai's underbelly. This year has been absolutely incredible for Hindi OTT, with series like The Railway Men and Trial By Fire exploring real-life tragedies through cinema and delivering emotionally charged experiences that audiences will never forget.
Check out the best Hindi OTT series of 2023 in detail below:
After a wait of three years, Asur returned with its second season this year. Viewers have praised the psychological crime thriller for its unique blend of geopolitical content and mythological aspects. The series, with the ethereal city of Varanasi as a backdrop, follows forensic expert-turned-teacher Nikhil Nair (Barun Sobti) as he goes back to his roots at the Central Bureau of Investigation. He and his former mentor, Dhananjay Rajpoot (Arshad Warsi), find themselves entangled in a relentless pursuit of a ruthless serial killer. In this season, Shubh (Vishesh Bansal) ups the ante considerably in his quest for vengeance. The eight-episode series showed how he was able to thwart now that the heroes of the series were disintegrating. Season 2 of Asur claimed to be a masterwork in storytelling, directing, drama, and performances that immersed viewers in its ominous universe.
Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti surprised many with their crime drama, Dahaad. Sonakshi Sinha made her OTT debut as sub-inspector Anjali Bhaati, assigned to spearhead the investigation into the unexplained deaths of multiple women discovered in public restrooms. As the case progressed, a captivating battle of wits ensued between a seasoned criminal (Vijay Varma) and an underdog officer, while her growing suspicions hinted at the possibility that the seemingly obvious suicides might be the handiwork of a serial killer who remains at large.
As far as Dahaad goes, it is head and shoulders above the others. The narration of the women is what sets the series apart from others, considering the circumstances. No one can deny the allure of crime thrillers. The narrative emphasis, however, lies more with the "why" than the "who" of the atrocities. With the exception of the beginning and the rather vague finale, the series holds your attention for eight hours straight. And who can forget the unforgettable performance by Vijay Varma, who once again delivers a terrific performance?
Shahid Kapoor's OTT debut in a Raj & DK universe has become one of the best series ever on OTT. The series shows the talented actor being a con "artist" and making everything look exciting on screen. Michael (Vijay Sethupathi), a ferocious and unconventional task force commander, works towards eliminating the counterfeiting threat from the country, while Sunny (Shahid), a talented but unorthodox artist, gets unexpectedly pulled into the high-stakes world of counterfeiting after creating the perfect counterfeit currency note.
The series works very well because of everything that happens. You see Sunny transform from an anti-hero into a villain. Farzi benefits entirely on the basis of Shahid Kapoor's character and his performance with the quirks of Raj & DK.
Vikramaditya Motwane, showing the world the background of the golden era of Indian cinema, had millions of viewers on OTT. The series boasting an ensemble cast such as Prosenjit Chatterjee, Aditya Roy Hydari, Aparshakti Khurana, Wamiqa Gabbi, Siddhant Gupta, and Nandish Sandhu caught the eyes of many, and rightly so! A refugee, a nautch girl, a studio owner, his movie star wife, and a reliable assistant cross paths in their quest for fame and fortune in post-independence India.
Even in the pilot of Jubilee, it's clear that Motwane loves making films. The director takes his time setting up and developing his characters, who are based on many historical personalities who were influential in the industry in the past.
Sameer Saxena created this survival drama, which probably many viewers weren't ready for. Taking people to the world of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a rarity in the celluloid, and on top of that, adding a viral disease as a plot makes for a thrilling as well as disturbing watch. An unexplained disease hits the Andaman and Nicobar Islands hard, turning the search for a cure into an arms race.
The series features Mona Singh, Ashutosh Gowariker, Amey Wagh, Vikas Kumar, Chinmay Mandlekar, Sukant Goel, Arushi Sharma, Radhika Mehrotra, and Poornima Indrajith. Kaala Paani has an intriguing plot that will make you want to watch every second. The story captivates with its riveting plot, complex characters, and unexpected thrills.
The one series that has to be on everybody's watchlist is Kohrra. The Sudip Sharma-created crime thriller police procedural, set mostly in Punjab, showcases the shocking side of the law and features superlative performances, particularly by Barun Sobti and Suvinder Vicky. The series shows that after finding the death of an NRI bridegroom a few days before his wedding, two police officers must solve the perplexing case while experiencing personal turmoil.
The performances of the outstanding ensemble cast are what propel you forward in the series. For a show that delves into human frailties, like how our own subjective perceptions can blur the boundaries between right and wrong, check out Kohrra.
Hansal Mehta created Scoop, which is based on Jigna Vora's book Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison. The series follows Jagruti Pathak's (Karishma Tanna) pursuit of justice following the horrific death of a journalist (Prosenjit Chatterjee). A prominent crime reporter finds herself caught in the middle of the Mumbai underworld, the police, and the media.
Scoop has Karishma Tanna's amazing performance to date, but the entire ensemble cast, including Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Harman Baweja, is just as good. Hansal Mehta spares no effort in providing sufficient glances into Jagruti Pathak's universe, which is a masterpiece of world-building. The fact that Mehta and his co-writers, Mrunmayee Lagoo and Mirat Trivedi, have meticulously crafted Jagruti's world and the individuals who inhabit it is also a plus.
Sandeep Modi skillfully adapted the novel The Night Manager by John le Carré, which already has an English TV series. Aditya Roy Kapur made his OTT debut in the Hindi series, appearing alongside Anil Kapoor, Tillotama Shome, and Sobhita Dhulipala. In order to bring down the arms dealer Shelly Rungta's (Anil Kapoor) empire of war, the series follows ex-soldier Shaan Sengupta (Aditya Roy Kapur) as he infiltrates his inner circle.
The adaptation to appeal to an Indian audience does not water down the experience, even though parallels with the original will inevitably arise. The series is indeed a thrilling ride, and matching up to it are the performances, especially by Anil Kapoor and Tillotama Shome.
Netflix's final Hindi series of this year is The Railway Men, which also marks YRF's debut on OTT. Shiv Rawail's series depicts brave railway workers risking their lives to save others after a horrific gas leak at a Bhopal plant. Kay Kay Menon, R. Madhavan, Divyenndu, and Babil Khan portray the brave railway men.
A moving ode to the forgotten heroes of the Bhopal chemical disaster, The Railway Men is a must-see. It shows the bravery and selflessness of the Indian Railways workers quite well. Shiv Rawail's gamble in telling the narrative of the Bhopal gas tragedy—something you might have heard about but never seen—has paid off.
Prashant Nair and Kevin Luperchio created this crime drama series, which kicked off the Netflix roster this year with a bang. Based on the book Trial by Fire: The Tragic Tale of the Uphaar Fire Tragedy by Neelam Krishnamoorthy and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy. The hard-hitting series showed how, in the wake of the tragic Uphaar cinema fire, two bereaved parents face the death of their children while relentlessly seeking justice. The lead actors, Abhay Deol and Rajshri Deshpande, delivered applause-worthy performances that have definitely elevated the series to another level.
It's a known fact that modifications beckon with glaring similarities. In this series, the show's protagonists vividly bring to life the circumstances and emotions they experience during their 25-year fight for justice.