Yearender 2021: Clutter-breaking Indian films/shows that dominated OTT space

 | Updated: Dec 27, 2021, 07:25 PM IST

Yearender 2021: This is truly the year when brave and untold stories ruled the OTT space. Nothing about the entertainment industry was predictable or cliched in 2021 as filmmakers and storytellers moved beyond tired narratives to explore new milieus, themes and issues. 

Here is our pick of the clutter-breaking films/shows that dominated 2021

halla ho

This Sarthak Dasgupta directorial and Yoodlee production bravely mainstreamed a story about caste-based atrocities, the denial of justice and the inevitable retribution that follows when hundreds of Dalit survivors strike a blow to avenge the systematic suppression of their pain and violation. Inspired by true events, this ZEE5 original slow burns to reach a moment of cathartic explosion when 200 women take law into  their own hands to respond to centuries of erasure. Starring Amol Palekar, Rinku Rajguru, Barun Sobti and others, the film equated Dalit identity  with power and not just victimhood and reminded us why we must tell and hear more such stories. 


sardar udham

Vicky Kaushal continues to stun with ability to become every character he gets to play and 'Sardar Udham' is no exception. This historical drama helmed  by Shoojit Sircar, and produced by Rising Sun Films in collaboration with Kino Works, gives Vicky another chance to display his depth and histrionic range as an actor as he plays the titular character of  an iconic freedom fighter who assassinated Michael O'Dwyer in London to avenge the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The film is a far cry from hurried entertainers and takes viewers on an intense journey to meet the man who tried to right a historic wrong.


jai bhim

This Jyothika and Suriya production will go down in history as one of the most important films about Dalit rights. The Tamil legal drama is directed by T. J. Gnanavel and stars Suriya and Lijomol Jose with K. Manikandan, Rajisha Vijayan, Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh and others. Like '200 Hallo Ho', this film too is based on a true incident and recounts how in1993, Justice K. Chandru, fought relentlessly to get justice for Senggeni and Rajakannu. The lives of this tribal couple are forever changed when Rajakannu is first arrested and then goes missing from police custody. What follows next is wrenching and eye-opening. 'Jai Bhim' also became the first Indian film to top the IMDb ratings .



'Sherni' is yet another example of how director Amit V. Masurkar is pushing the thematic limits of Hindi cinema. Produced by T-Series and Abundantia Entertainment, Sherni had a solid female lead in Vidya Balan who played an upright and conscientious Forest Service officer caught in the corruption and inertia of a cruel and incompetent system. Sharat Saxena, Vijay Raaz, Ila Arun, Brijendra Kala, Neeraj Kabi and Mukul Chaddha played supporting roles. The film highlighted little known aspects of animal and human conflict and how habitat destruction is pushing wildlife on the margins of forests and into a spiral of extinction.  


Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam.

ZEE5 and Zindagi’s recent release, suspenseful desi noir series titled ‘Qatil Haseenaon ke Naam’ will stun you with its artful storytelling. It premiered on December 10 and is directed by critically acclaimed British-Indian director Meenu Gaur. It is a six-part anthology series featuring seven women. The stories showcase what happens when a woman’s limit is pushed. The series boasts of an eclectic ensemble cast including Sanam Saeed, Sarwat Gilani, Samiya Mumtaz, Faiza Gillani, Beo Raana Zafar, Eman Suleman, Saleem Mairaj, Ahsan Khan, Osman Khalid Butt and Sheheryar Munawar.


Matsya Kaand

Filled with action and comedy,  chase, Matsya Kaand, is a stylistic throwback to a noir theme. It tells the story of a conman Matsya Thanda who takes revenge with aptitude, intelligence and charm rather than brawn. He believes in using his charm, wit and power of words rather than physical violence to get his way. 

The series stars Piyush Mishra, Ravi Kishan, Ravii Dubey, Zoya Afroz, Madhur Mittal, Rajesh Sharma and Naved Aslam amongst others and is directed by Ajay Bhuyan.