As we bid farewell to another year of remarkable storytelling, it’s time to reflect on the gems that illuminated our screens. The world of OTT has been a treasure trove of diverse narratives, keeping us hooked throughout 2023. From gripping dramas to heartwarming comedies, each web series and audio series has etched its own unique space in our hearts.
With its engaging plot, “Asur 2” on JioCinema demonstrated why it was one of the biggest hits of 2023 and captivated viewers. With his conviction in season one, Shubh Joshi—the vengeful serial killer—raised the stakes for the task. The protagonists, a miserable Dhananjay Rajpoot (Arshad Warsi) and a devastated Nikhil Nair (Barun Sobti), faced the daunting task of stopping him. The show’s plot, script, photography, and soundtrack were all excellent, and its thrilling and rewarding ending kept spectators enthralled. The sermaintained viewers’ interest throughout all eight episodes, with unexpected twists and turns. It is definitely a must-watch sequel that had viewers glued to the screens all the way to the very end.
Pocket FM’s blockbuster audio series ‘Insta Millionaire’ secured its place as a hit, narrating Lucky’s extraordinary journey from rags to riches. Overcoming challenges with unwavering determination, Lucky’s story resonates with the common man. Despite facing relentless hardships, an unexpected message promises an end to his struggles and immense wealth. The series poses a compelling question: Will Lucky stay true to himself or succumb to newfound fortune’s temptations? Join us on Pocket FM for this immersive and inspiring tale that underscores success achievable without compromising core values. Through Lucky’s relatable character, experience the power of humility, determination, and a genuine willingness to help others. With over 1000+ episodes, Insta Millionaire, available in Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada, took the world by storm, surpassing 1 billion plays cumulatively. Not only this, it also became the first audio entertainment title to exceed Rs. 100 crores.
Guns and Gulaabs
Netflix’s “Guns and Gulaabs” garnered praise for its dark comedic crime thriller plot, making it one of the biggest successes of 2023. Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru created the series, which took place in the made-up town of Gulabganj, where opium with a government licence was legal and in high demand. Along with a gripping story, the seven-episode series had complement by excellent acting by the ensemble cast including Rajkummar Rao, Dulquer Salmaan, Adarsh Gourav, Goutam Sharma, Gourav Sharma, Sanchay Goswami and Gulshan Devaiah. While Raj and DK created a world in which individuals participated in illegal activities and conflicts, bringing the imaginary realm to life on screen, the eccentricities of lesser-known performers made a lasting effect. The ethically gray area that the characters occupied gave the story more realism, making the series a memorable watch.
Scam 2003: The Telgi Story
A compelling financial thriller biography drama directed by Tushar Hiranandani, “Scam 2003: The Telgi Story” on SonyLiv became one among the blockbusters of 2023. The ten-episode series, which tells the actual story of fruit vendor turned forger Abdul Karim Telgi, engages viewers with its many twists and turns. The series immerses viewers in a world of immorality and deranged fun organised by the cunning criminal, providing a realistic representation of Mumbai during Telgi’s age. Accessible on Sony Liv, the series keeps viewers on the edge of their seats even as it describes the measures used by law enforcement and politicians to hide their involvement. “Scam 2003” reveals the complex manipulation of the nation’s financial system and is a must-binge.
Devil Se Shaadi
Pocket FM’s hit audio series, ‘Devil Se Shaadi,’ took listeners on a riveting journey of love and conflicts. Centred around Rajveer, an arrogant figure in his family, and Ishqi, the story explored the unexpected union that defined their fate. The question lingered: Would Rajveer’s arrogance dominate, trapping Ishqi in fear? Or could love soften Rajveer, fostering understanding and consideration? Amidst the couple’s journey, external factors and meddling family members added unpredictable twists. “Devil Se Shaadi” unfolded an enthralling tale of love and passion, showcasing the challenges when two contrasting personalities collide, leaving an indelible mark on the year’s audio storytelling landscape.
Made In Heaven Season 2
2023 saw the release of the much-awaited season 2 of Made in Heaven, which brought back wedding planners Tara Khanna (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Karan Mehra (Arjun Mathur). Together, they have a new auditor, an unglamorous new office, and a profit-driven business partner, but they still do an amazing job designing expensive weddings in Delhi and beyond. The series featured an ensemble guest including Neelam, Radhika Apte, Dia Mirza, Mrunal Thakur, Sarah Jane Dias, Shibani Dandekar, and Pulkit Samrat, who brought depth to the storyline. Noteworthy episodes, like Neeraj Ghaywan’s exploration of an Amnesty award-winning author reclaiming her Dalit identity, made the series more enchanting. Made in Heaven Season 2 broke preconceptions and traditions, making it an enticing watch.
Kumite 1 Warrior Hunt
Kumite 1 Warrior Hunt, India’s first-ever MMA reality show, presented by MX Player’s in-house content arm, MX Studios, in collaboration with Toyam Sports Ltd., emerged as a notable hit of 2023. Hosted by MMA enthusiast and Bollywood veteran Suniel Shetty, the reality show showcased power-packed challenges among 16 contestants, testing their mettle to attain the title of the ultimate warrior. A testament to discipline and unwavering spirit, MMA gained significant popularity in India, attracting fighters pursuing their dreams. MX Player provided a launch pad for these athletes, presenting a groundbreaking reality show that captivated audiences from its debut on 12th February. In partnership with Toyam Sports Limited, the show garnered support from SATSport News as the Title Sponsor. Don’t miss the thrilling action!
The Netflix series “Rana Naidu,” which was directed by Karan Anshuman, cemented its place among the top shows of 2023. The main character of this action-crime drama, Rana Naidu, explores the complex world of celebrities. As the go-to problem-solver, Rana struggles with personal issues and family secrets after his father is freed from jail, coming to the realisation that the one issue he is unable to resolve is his own. Starring Venkatesh and Rana Daggubati, the series not only made its mark in Netflix’s top 400 most viewed but also showcased stellar performances. Blending crime, celebrity scandal cover-ups, and family drama, ‘Rana Naidu’ is a must-watch for all action enthusiasts.
‘Farzi’ on Prime Video emerged as a standout hit, delving into the seldom-explored world of counterfeit note production. The series unfolds with an artist inadvertently diving deep into the criminal realm, turning a one-time crime into a thriving syndicate. Creators Raj and DK skillfully navigate the intricate details of counterfeiting, from production to infiltration into the economy. Despite some cinematic conveniences, the show boasts strong characters and top-notch production values. Shahid Kapoor shines in his OTT debut, delivering a compelling performance. While facing pacing issues and forced subplots, ‘Farzi’ remains a refreshing and intensely gripping scamster saga, where the strengths significantly outweigh the drawbacks.
Saas Bahu aur Flamingo
“Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo” on Disney+Hotstar stood out as a hit in 2023, offering a gripping crime drama created by Homi Adajania. The series unfolds in the nondescript town of Hastipur, where Rani (Dimple Kapadia) leads a covert drug cartel with her daughters-in-law Bijli and Kajal, and their daughter Shanta. The gripping narrative explores the dangerous world of women engaged in an illegal drug business, filled with unexpected twists. The setting in north-western India, impressive costumes, and Sachin-Jigar’s original score added to the show’s authenticity. “Saas, Bahu aur Flamingo ” remains unapologetically brutal, showcasing the raw power of women in a captivating storyline that sets it apart in the crime drama genre.
TAJ: Reign of Revenge Season 2
‘TAJ: Reign of Revenge Season 2’ on Zee5 stood out as a hit, offering a captivating continuation of the Mughal Empire saga. Opening with veteran superstar Dharmendra as Sheikh Salim Chisti predicting dark times for Emperor Akbar, the season showcased improved dialogues, perfectly synced with the royal era. Aashim Gulati impressed as the wronged heir Salim, while Naseeruddin Shah’s natural restraint added depth to Emperor Akbar’s complex character. Despite women being relegated to historical constraints, the season successfully took cinematic liberties, weaving a plot with gory twists.
Yeh Meri Family Season 2
“Yeh Meri Family Season 2” on Amazon miniTV marked its place as a 2023 hit. Directed by Sameer Saxena, this comedy drama took a fresh perspective, shifting from 12-year-old Harshu to focus on Ritika, a rebellious teenager, and Neerja, a strict school teacher. With entertaining twists and abundant comedy, the series became a must-watch of the year. The second season, comprising 5 episodes, joined the first season’s 7 episodes, all available on Amazon miniTV for your enjoyment.