From 'The Railway Men' to 'Kaala Paani': Top web series picks of 2023

Top web series
Posters of web series'. Photo: IMDb

2023 has undeniably emerged as an exceptional year for cinema, offering India a plethora of outstanding movies and web series. As we approach the year's end, let's reflect on ten web series that have captivated both audiences and critics alike, standing out as some of the best picks of the year.

The Night Manager (Disney + Hotstar)
'The Night Manager' is a Hindi-language crime thriller TV series crafted by Sandeep Modi, presenting a remake of the British counterpart from 2016, adapted from John Le Carré's novel of the same title. Anil Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, and Sobhita Dhulipala take on the lead roles, supported by a talented ensemble including Tillotama Shome, Ravi Behl, and Saswata Chatterjee. For those who relish a compelling spy thriller, this series stands out as the ultimate binge-watching selection.

Jubilee (Amazon Prime Video)
One month prior to the Independence of India and Pakistan, Shrikant Roy, a legitimate producer who owns Roy Talkies studio in Bombay, is actively scouting for a new actor to make their debut as the protagonist in his upcoming film, 'Sunghursh'. Directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, the series features Aparshakti Khurana, Aditi Rao Hydari, and Prosenjit Chatterjee in pivotal roles.

Saas Bahu aur Flamingo (Disney + Hotstar)
'Saas Bahu aur Flamingo' undeniably emerges as one of the most groundbreaking web series in 2023. What sets it apart is its innovative approach, where women not only take centre stage but also step into traditionally male roles. While having women in lead roles is common, this series goes a step further by showcasing women seamlessly undertaking tasks typically associated with men in our conventional world. It portrays a world where women perform every role that men do in our everyday lives.

Made in Heaven season 2 (Amazon Prime Video)
The aesthetic and feel-good vibes of Made in Heaven remain unparalleled. While the second season may not reach the heights of the first, it still delivers a satisfying experience. This season revolves around Tara (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Arjun's endeavour to rebuild their struggling business. They establish their office in an old, run-down house, joined by the familiar face of business partner Jauharji (Vijay Raaz), reprising his role from the first part.

Guns and Gulaabs (Netflix)
Set in the fictional town of Gulaabganj, the story unfurls in a landscape where government-licensed opium is cultivated. The control over the opium trade is fiercely contested by two rival gangs, headed by Ganchi and Nabeed. Amidst this, Gangaram, a local student, becomes a witness to the murder of Babu Tiger, executed by the hired killer Four-Cut Aatmaram. In the leading roles of the series are Rajkummar Rao, Dulquer Salmaan, and Gulshan Devaiah.

The Railway Men (Netflix)
‘The Railway Men’, starring R Madhavan and Kay Kay Menon, opens with a brief coda following the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, the world's worst industrial disaster. Within the series, we encounter Station Master Iftekaar (Kay Kay Menon), the recent recruit Imad (Babil Khan), express bandit Baldev (Divyenndu), and Rati, the General Manager of Railways (Madhavan). The series excels in its attention to minute details, a factor that contributed significantly to its success. Even without drawing comparisons to Chernobyl, the series does stand out as admirable.

Kaala Paani (Netflix)
'Kaala Paani' stands out as one of the finest survival dramas for the Indian audience in recent years. Its resonance is heightened by the shared experience of the Covid-19 pandemic. Featuring talents like Mona Singh and Ashutosh Gowariker, the film unfolds the gripping story of a mysterious disease engulfing the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. A poignant blend of survival instincts, the quest for a remedy, and deep human connections, Kaala Pani threads a tale of love, loss, and despair.

Sultan of Delhi (Disney + Hotstar)
Starring Tahir Raj Bhasin and Mouni Roy in lead roles, the storyline unfolds against the backdrop of 1960s Delhi, portraying the ascent of a mobster. Arjun, a survivor of the 1947 Partition witnessing his family's tragic fate, makes his way to Delhi with his father. The show kicks off with a gathering of seasoned individuals overseeing the city's underbelly.

Scoop (Netflix)
Scoop emerges as one of the standout series releases in 2023, drawing inspiration from Jigna Vora's biographical memoir, 'Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison'. Centred around the true-life narrative of Jigna Vora, accused in the 2011 murder of mid-day reporter Jyotirmoy Dey, the series features stellar performances from lead actors Karishma Tanna, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and Prosenjit Chatterjee.

Bambai Meri Jaan (Amazon Prime Video)
Featuring Avinash Tiwary, Kay Kay Menon, and Kritika Kamra in key roles, the series unfolds in 1964 Bombay. Ismail Kadri, an upright police officer hailing from Ratnagiri and a dedicated family man, is entrusted with the mission of uncovering the criminal alliance between Suleiman 'Haji' Maqbool, Azeem Pathaan, and Anna Rajan Mudaliar. Ismail's integrity faces persistent challenges, both in his personal and professional spheres.

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