Over the years, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have really ramped up their library of Indian original series and movies. The two streaming services are actively competing with each other when it comes to local content. That’s because video watching in India has ballooned like never before.
A monthly (mobile only) Netflix subscription in India can now be purchased for as low as Rs 199 (~$2.79). Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video bundles the streaming service with its Rs 129/month (~$1.81) Prime package.
There’s no dearth of content on both streaming services, but If Indian original series is what you are after, you’re in luck. We’ve curated a list of the best Indian original series on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video right here. Take a look.
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Amazon Prime originals regularly as new ones are announced.
1. Sacred Games
This Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte and Kalki Koechlin starrer Netflix original is probably the best Indian original series to watch. If you haven’t already seen Sacred Games, it’s about time you do.
The storyline of the show revolves around an imminent terror attack in Mumbai, masterminded by gangster Ganesh Gaitonde (Siddiqui). It’s up to police officer Sartaj Singh (Khan) to stop the city from blowing up in 25 days. Only, he doesn’t know where to starts and how deep the conspiracy runs.
You have two seasons of this fast-paced thriller to go through. The mystery pretty much unravels in this timeline, which is why Netflix is probably not looking to renew the series for a third installment. Did we mention it’s based on a novel by the same name?
2. Delhi Crime
Based on one of the most shocking and heart-wrenching rape incidents in India’s capital city of New Delhi, this seven-part series will shake you to the very core. Delhi Crime chronicles what’s commonly referred to as the Nirbhaya rape case in India. The incident had even received immense international attention at the time because of the gruesome nature of the crime. However, most media reports were focussed on the victim and the incident alone.
Filmmaker Richie Mehta takes viewers behind the scenes of the investigation into the case conducted by the Delhi Police. The series navigates through the bureaucratic pressures, political influences and lack of resources faced by the Delhi Police during the investigation period.
Mehta worked on Delhi Crime for six long years and the series involves deep ground-level research conducted by the creator and his team. Although audiences questioned the series’ obvious bias in favor of the Delhi Police department, it makes for a gripping and eye-opening watch. We’ll let you come make your own judgments as to the optics of the whole thing.
3. Made In Heaven
Made In Heaven is a 2019 fictional Indian original TV series on Amazon Prime Video. The nine-part series has been created by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, in collaboration with screenwriter Alankrita Shrivastava. Made In Heaven is about big, fat Indian weddings and the people who work tirelessly to put up these events.
The series focuses on two wedding planners, Tara (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Karan (Arjun Mathur), who navigate Delhi’s moneyed society to score major accounts for their wedding planning agency. The show brilliantly captures the minutiae of typical rich Delhi families and the relationships that foster within them.
While the professional challenges of the central characters are the wrapping around the package, one also gets a deeper look into their personal struggles. The Indian original series is also a clever commentary on the prevalent classism and narrow-mindedness within the modern Indian society.
A second season of Made In Heaven has already started filming, so this would be a good time to catch up.
The first dystopian Indian original series, Leila has a helluva lot in common with the Hulu original show The Handmaid’s Tale. While the series isn’t a blatant copy of the brilliant Hulu dystopian drama, it borrows several elements from it. If you watch both the shows, you will be able to spot them immediately.
Nevertheless, Leila stands out on its own merits. Directed by Deepa Mehta, the series is based on a novel written by Prayaag Akbar. It follows the journey of a woman named Shalini (Huma Qureshi), who is snatched away from the comfort of her family life, into the shackles of a totalitarian regime called Aryavarta. Given India’s current political scenario, the series hits all too close to home and presents a disturbing futuristic scenario that is not too hard to imagine.
Another Amazon Prime Video Indian original series, Breathe is the story of love and desperation. A father will go to any extent, even to the point of murdering people, to save his son. Sounds all too familiar? Yeah well, it is the plot of multiple Hollywood films, including the famous Denzel Washington starrer John Q.
The protagonist in Breathe, Danny (R Madhavan), finds out that his son Josh is terminal and in need of a transplant. He then devises a plan to get Josh’s name on top of the organ donor list, but his methods are not as conventional as you might think. Danny’s troubles worsen when he finds himself the subject of a police investigation, one he desperately wanted to avoid.
Breathe might not be in the same league as some of the shows in this list, but it’s definitely worth the watch just for Madhavan’s impressive screen presence and a fast-paced storyline.
Some may find Mirzapur too crass for their taste, but it’s one of the most entertaining Indian original series to date. Great performances by Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal and Vikrant Massey are a definite plus for those looking to binge-watch this crime thriller.
The show revolves around the very real mafia rivalry prevailing in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. In a bid to save their father, two brothers, Guddu (Faizal) and Bablu (Massey), forcefully become part of mafia don Kaleen Bhaiya’s (Tripathi) nefarious operations. Through the course of time, these innocent youngsters transform into full-fledged violent criminals.
7. Selection Day
Selection Day is an ocean of fantastic performances by the likes of Ratna Pathak Shah, Mahesh Manjrekar, Rajesh Tailang and the two young stars of the series, Mohammad Samad and Yash Dholye. It follows the story of two small-town teenage boys Manju (Samad) and Radha (Dholye) who aspire to become international cricketers. Their father (Tailang) is a strict taskmaster and their coach. The boys score a scholarship to a prestigious sports school run by Pathak and things start to change.
What follows is a story about the boys discovering their individual personalities, the pressures they face to succeed and the way their relationship evolves with their father. Produced by Anil Kapoor and Anand Tucker, all 12 episodes of Selection Day are a lesson in good storytelling and even better direction.
8. Little Things
Little Things was not really a Netflix original, but the streaming service later bought the franchise. You have two seasons of the show to watch and third installment is on the way. The show is based on the lives of a couple, Kavya (Mithila Palkar) and Dhruv (Dhruv Sehgal), who live together in Mumbai. As its name suggests, Little Things follows the daily lives of the couple and tracks their relationship over the years.
What’s great about this Indian series is that it’s very light-hearted yet relevant and relatable. One ends up finding a lot of “little things” in common with the couple. It’s almost like a relationship mirror for young couples still struggling to find their footing in the world. If a quick and feel-good watch is what you’re after, Little Things will give you just that.
9. Lust Stories
Lust Stories is a collection of four short stories created by some of India’s most celebrated filmmakers. The anthology series features stories by Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, and Karan Johar. Radhika Apte, Manisha Koirala, Vicky Kaushal, Neha Dhupia and Sanjay Kapoor are some of the many noteworthy names that adorn the cast of the series. The central theme, of course, is that of lust. However, each story has a different message.
The first story featuring Apte is about a married woman who is eager to explore her sexuality. The second story casts Bhumi Pednekar and Neil Bhoopalam. It shines a light on an unlikely relationship between a man and his house help. The third follows the story of a couple dealing with infidelity and the tough choices they are forced to make. The last episode in the series is a humorous tale of a housewife who desperately seeks sexual intimacy with her husband. Instead, she finds it with a vibrator, in the most unusual circumstances.
Another Netflix nail-bitter Indian original, the Ghoul deals with the themes of supernatural horror, military activism and Arabic folklore. The three-part series will spook you to say the least.
Radhika Apte is one of the key characters of the series. She plays a military officer who has to interrogate a terrorist possessed by the Ghoul, Arabic for evil spirit. As the demon gains strength, all hell breaks loose at the military facility where the terrorist is retrained. Who will survive the wrath of the Ghoul? You’ll have to watch and find out.