Online TV is Honest TV

Gay couples. Divorced women. Cross-religion dating. Political conspiracies. These are just some of the many exciting themes that Indian OTT, or Over The Top content shows, are exploring and we are HERE for it. Indian television has changed dramatically over the years—from Doordarshan’s Mahabharata holding monopoly over entertainment, to Ekta Kapoor’s popular soaps, to the current democratic distribution of shows via online platforms—and the Indian audience has changed along with it. We no longer want to only watch skinny, beautiful people depicting unrealistic ideals of Indian society and culture. We want to watch real life with all of its quirks and tragedies. We no longer have time to watch TV as a family every night, and neither do we have to wait for Friday 8 pm to watch our favourite shows. We want to be entertained while taking train journeys, waiting at clinics and passport offices, or while waiting for the cooker’s three whistles.

Bose: Dead or Alive Source: Wikipedia

As the screens have gotten smaller, our mindsets have gotten broader too. Parents are trying harder to understand their kids, and their kids are struggling to handle the pressure of competitive exams with romantic relationships, queer identities, and cyber-bullying. There’s something comforting about the intimacy of watching people who look like us, and face the same issues as us, in the privacy of our own rooms and corners

Kundali Bhagya on Zee5 Source: YouTube

Ishq Subhan Allah, on Zee5, represents the young Muslim youth of India, Romil and Jugal, on AltBalaji, followed a homosexual love story, Delhi Crime on Netflix depicts the harrowing plight of Delhi Police trying to solve a rape case. Four More Shots Please! is Amazon Prime’s take on the urban woman, Sacred Games on Netflix rebelled against all traditional rules of Indian censorship, and Ghoul was unafraid to show what Indian dystopia would look like. For the Indian teenager, there is Guilty, Class of 2020, for the homemaker there is Mentalhood, Hum Tum Aur Them, and for the cynical romantic there is Lust Stories and Made in Heaven, among others.

Guilty on Netflix Source: IMDB

Thrillers and romances are currently dominating the small screen, for obvious reasons. They’re dark and twisted, surprisingly funny, and represent real people—warts and all. It’s refreshing to have no censorship over kissing and sex, gritty storylines and complex characters who are both ordinary and relatable. Fantastic content from all Indian states and languages are accessible, thus broadening our horizons to our own country’s various cultures, all in the comfort of our own homes.

Radhika Apte Source: Box Office India

OTT shows also breakdown all hierarchies of acting for the screen; it is a space that celebrates both newcomers and A-listers, TV stars and theatre talents. Actors like Sobhita Dhulipala, Sumeet Vyas, Kubbra Sait, Amol Parashar, Radhika Apte, and many more, became household names by starring in OTT shows. Bollywood bigshots like Saif Ali Khan, Nawazudding Siddiqui, Kalki Koechlin, Huma Qureshi, Adil Hussain, Richa Chadha, among others, have enjoyed their share of OTT shows as well. Webseries and multiple-episode shows allow them to tap into a wide array of their acting chops, and really delve into their characters in detail. 

Manoj Bajpayee in Family Man Source: Variety

As a viewer myself, I love feeling like I’m part of a show’s story, and a character’s journey. And that’s what OTT series reward me with. They’re feisty and funny, raw and realistic, and inspire me to be a better content creator. At the end of a long day, I genuinely enjoy tucking myself in my bed, green tea in hand, laptop open to Netflix/Prime/Zee5/AltBalaji/MXPlayer/YouTube/Whatnot, and watch something both entertaining and well-written. 

And, of course, it’s always a reason to Netflix and Chill. If you catch my drift ?. 


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