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From Aranyak to Tabbar, here are the best picks from OTT in 2021

We speak to actors and writers of five of the most-talked-about titles on the web space this year, about what made them stand out
From Aranyak to Tabbar, here are the best picks from OTT in 2021
Raveena Tandon and Ranvir Shorey in Aranyak and Tabbar, respectively
  • Titas Chowdhury

  • Hindustan Times

Last Updated: 07.52 AM, Dec 27, 2021

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As 2021 comes to a close, we enlist five of the most talked about and critically acclaimed shows and films on the OTT space. We speak to actors and writers of these projects on how they acted as a catalyst in their careers and what made them stand out from the crowd.

Ajeeb Daastaans

The anthology film struck a chord with the audience for its portrayal of unconventional relationships in the form of four stories — some dark, some heart-warming.

“The equation between my character and Shefali Shah’s touched people. They’ve always seen me in intense parts and didn’t think I could do something so light. Ajeeb Daastaans gave me the maximum visibility. I think the film worked because it touched upon different kinds of love stories,” says actor Manav Kaul.

Manav Kaul and Shefali Shah in a still from Ajeeb Daastaans
Manav Kaul and Shefali Shah in a still from Ajeeb Daastaans

Navarasa

This Tamil language anthology film based on the Indian concept of Navarasa or nine emotions, shot to pan-India fame for bringing together some edgy stories headlined by critically acclaimed actors

Parvathy Thiruvothu, who featured in Navarasa, “absolutely loves anthologies”.She adds, ”It’s interesting to watch stories connected together by a common theme or a mix of themes. That kind of a loose structure which can resonate with the audience on multiple levels and needn’t be boxed under one category really excites me as an audience.”

Siddharth and Parvathy Thiruvothu in a still from Navarasa
Siddharth and Parvathy Thiruvothu in a still from Navarasa

Tabbar

The crime thriller about a middle-class family resonated for its edge-of-the-seat writing, unusual treatment and great performances

Actor Ranvir Shorey lauds the great cast and writing in Tabbar, but over and above, he feels the direction of Ajitpal Singh gave it an edge, “which is why it was loved by everyone”. He adds, “Ajitpal is a visionary and to be able to take a good script and make a superlative series out of it is praiseworthy. Filmmaking isn’t just about what the story is but also how it’s told. He managed to bring an element of freshness and authenticity to the characters and the setting, and soulfulness to emotional conflicts. Tabbar has exceeded all my expectations.”

Ranvir Shorey in a still from Tabbar
Ranvir Shorey in a still from Tabbar

Aranyak

This murder mystery headlined by Raveena Tandon is a classic whodunit, which went on to be widely talked about for its mis-en-scene and locations that rendered an element of intrigue and grimness to the story

“At the heart of Aranyak, was the writing which connected with the audience,” states co-writer Rohan Sippy, who feels the actors, especially Raveena Tandon, a mainstream actor, took it to the next level. “It’s really a testament to her appeal that even after being in the industry for so long, she still has that connection with the audience. The wonderful locations of Himachal Pradesh also had a role to play. Once it was on paper, we had a great team, a great director, HODs, who made it possible to bring this story to life.”

Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Raveena Tandon in a still from Aranyak
Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Raveena Tandon in a still from Aranyak

Maharani

The political drama set in 1990s in Bihar grabbed the attention of many for a first-of-its-kind narrative of a homemaker-turned-politician humanised by the show’s writers

“With Maharani, we tried to give the audience a close glimpse into the world of politics,” explain co-writer Uma Shankar. He adds, “Our protagonist was a regular homemaker but she eventually becomes a politician. We’ve received a lot of love from the audience, especially women. In most of the projects based on women politicians, we’ve always seen that they’ve made their way through the crowd after going through a lot of compromises. These women have been shown from the lens of a man. But Rani Bharti (played by Huma S Qureshi) represents every woman who has a lot of potential within themselves. The other reason why it worked is because we humanised our protagonist and presented her in a way that’s far removed from the prototype of a politician in films and shows.”

Huma S Qureshi in a still from Maharani
Huma S Qureshi in a still from Maharani
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