While the Indian web series space has really exploded in the last few years with new shows, platforms and web-dedicated production houses popping up on a daily basis, 2018 could well be the year that blows the lid off the digital scene like never before. While we’ve had a slew of promising web series of late, India still hasn’t seen that one definitive game-changer which grabs the nation and proves that digital platforms have well and truly arrived, and this could be the year that changes that.
2018 is the year which will see the most shows commissioned and released by the two names most synonymous with the digital space, Netflix and Amazon. While both have been hard at work building up their content libraries, Prime Video has been far more aggressive thus far in the original content space having released a wide range of originals.
From multiple stand up comedy specials to series such as Excel Entertainment’s ‘Inside Edge’ and a number of comedian-led shows including Sumukhi Suresh’s ‘Pushpavali’, Biswa Kalyan Rath’s ‘Laakhon Mein Ek’ and Anuvab Pal’s ‘Going Viral’, to name a few. Conversely, the global mammoth of Netflix has taken a far more restrained approach and has only just begun green lighting a handful of projects.
What’s particularly interesting about the year ahead in streaming, is that it will see leading filmmakers from the film industry enter the digital space with notable stars and sizeable budgets. Put simply, it’s the first year we will see the film industry embrace the small screen in a big way with everyone from Ram Madhvani to Vikram Bhatt to RGV busy conjuring content for one platform or another. What will be fascinating is to see what these filmmakers do with the episodic format and a far less restricted platform with no shackles of censorship or language and a conducive landscape for envelope-pushing storytelling.
So without further ado, in no particular order, here are the shows we’re looking forward to most in 2018:
1. ‘Sacred Games’- Netflix
Without a doubt the one to lead the pack as the most eagerly awaited show of the year which sees two of our finest filmmakers in Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane helm the adaptation of Vikram Chandra’s underworld-based acclaimed novel of the same name. What’s more, it’s Netflix’s first Indian show, which also features an electric cast the likes of Saif Ali Khan, Nawaazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte. The hope is that ‘Sacred Games’ could be the show that puts Indian storytelling on the map and travels across Netflix’s massive global network, like the highly acclaimed German hit ‘Dark’.
2. ‘The Forgotten Army’- Amazon Prime
For all he’s done to up the competence and storytelling of mainstream blockbusters, it’s finally time for us to see what Kabir Khan is capable of outside the shackles of the mainstream machinery. He’s currently finishing up on ‘The Forgotten Army’, based on Subhash Chandra Bose’s ‘Indian National Army’ inspired by Khan’s own documentary of the same name. The series tells the story of the men and women who fought the heroic war for the independence of India as part of the Indian National Army, led by the charismatic Bose. We certainly can’t wait to see what the politically charged filmmaker brings forth and does with the medium.
3. ‘Made In Heaven’- Amazon Prime
© digital hash
This one had us at Zoya Akhtar. Reuniting with her longtime writing partner Reema Kagti, Akhtar makes her official foray into the digital space with ‘Made In Heaven’, a show which revolves around two competing wedding planning firms. Aside from the casting of Masaan’s Swetha Tripathi and actor Joy Sengupta, little is known about the show at present, however, Akhtar can do no wrong in our books and we can’t wait to see how she blows us away this time.
4) ‘The Ministry’- Amazon Prime
AIB. Irrfan Khan. Political comedy. If you aren’t bursting with excitement at the very prospect of this then something just isn’t right. Comedic powerhouse AIB is finally making its long overdue foray into narrative storytelling with ‘The Ministry’ which sees Irrfan Khan essaying the role of a washed-up, narcissistic Bollywood actor who has been appointed as a ‘placeholder’ culture minister. We are chomping at the bits to see what these explosions of talent conjure up together, but knowing AIB it certainly won’t shy away from going places few previously have.
5) ‘The Test Case’- Alt Balaji
Interestingly the only non-Amazon/Netflix entrant on this list, coming from Ekta Kapoor’s Alt Balaji, ‘The Test Case’ screams promise across the board from cast to director to premise.
Lead by the freakishly talented Nimrat Kaur playing the first woman to be inducted to the Indian Army and hardships she faces along the one. Brought to life by celebrated director Nagesh Kukunoor, ‘The Test Case’ boasts of an exciting trailer which promises to be exactly the kind of refreshing story one hopes to see in the digital space.
Special Mention: Amit Sadh-Madhavan-starrer Breathe and Ali Fasal-Swetha Tripathi-starrer Mirzapur.
Other recently announced Netflix projects to look forward to in future include multilingual original series, based on the book ‘Bard of Blood’, in partnership with Red Chillies Entertainment. ‘Selection Day’, based on the book by author Aravind Adiga, and ‘Again’, a supernatural, female-led detective series set in New Delhi written by Quantico-scribe Marisha Mukherjee. ‘Kahaani’ filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh is also currently working on a web series called ‘Suspect X’ for Amazon Prime Video.