Tag Archives: Indian Series on Netflix

Streaming Video News: May 20, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with two big additions to the catalog: Shahid Kapoor’s Hindi remake of Jersey and the Hindi-dubbed version of RRR, which was preponed from its previously announced June 2 streaming release date. The original Telugu version of RRR is streaming now on Zee5, along with dubbed versions in Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam.

Netflix just announced that Season 2 of the crime drama She will release on June 17. And this is the last week to watch Raees (which I sort of liked) on Netflix before it expires May 26.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with the Telugu action flick Acharya (which has Kannada, Malayalam, and Tamil audio options as well). Earlier in the week, Amazon debuted Season 2 of its original Hindi series Panchayat.

Finally, I added the 2022 films 12th Man (Malayalam) and Bhala Thandhanana (Telugu) to my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu. The new Hindi series Escaype Live debuted on Disney+ Hotstar in India yesterday, but it looks like we might not get it on Hulu in the United States.

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Series Review: Aranyak (2021)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Aranyak on Netflix

Aranyak is Netflix India’s answer to Twin Peaks. With a compelling story and right-sized episodes, the supernatural (or is it?) murder mystery is made to be binged.

Aranyak takes place in the perpetually overcast fictional mountain town of Sironah, surrounded by a dense forest. Police officer Angad Malik (Parambrata Chattopadhyay) arrives to take over duties from Kasturi Dogra (Raveena Tandon), who’s taking a leave of absence from the force to deal with family issues.

On the day Angad arrives, a French tourist named Julie (Breshna Khan) reports her teenage daughter Aimee (Anna Ador) missing. Angad and Kasturi bicker over who should lead the case until Aimee’s body is found hanged in a tree. The cops agree to work together, putting Kasturi’s leave on hold.

Aimee’s death hits Sironah hard because of its similarities to a series of murders 19 years earlier that left over a dozen young women dead and the residents of the town emotionally scarred — none more so than Kasturi’s father-in-law Mahadev (Ashutosh Rana). He led the investigation into the murders but was unable to find the killer known as the “leopard man.”

The leopard man is a figure of local myth: a murderous beast and also the steward of a crop of “mystery mushrooms” that cure disease, but at a grievous cost to those who consume them. Whether the killer from 19 years ago was a man or a monster remains up for debate in Sironah.

One curious fact about the new crime is that all the rich and politically-connected residents in town seem to know that something bad happened to Aimee before the police do. Local politician Jagdamba (Meghna Malik) and sketchy rich guy Kuber Manhas (Zakir Hussain) try to leverage that information to their advantage.

There are many more characters and possible suspects. The story — written by Rohan Sippy and Charudutt Acharya — does a nice job of keeping all of them somehow connected to the crimes of the present or past. Each of the series’ eight episodes runs about 40 minutes, giving enough time to flesh out characters and their motivations without getting bogged down in backstory.

The runtime gives enough space to deal with the themes that Aranyak shares with Twin Peaks: collective trauma, whether evil exists as an independent entity or whether it’s simply individual moral corruption, and how “good” people reckon with this evil in their midst.

One of the more interesting characters is the politician Jagdamba. Her position is in jeopardy because her young adult son Kanti (Tejaswi Dev Chaudhary) was previously convicted of rape. She wants to protect him, but she also believes that he committed the current crime and fears that he might do it again. She’s concerned not just because he’s a political liability, but because she doesn’t want him to hurt anyone else — yet she’s not sure how to stop him. She loves her son, but he might be irredeemable.

This subplot fits with the show’s focus on the dangers faced by women, be it rape, murder, roofies, or cyberstalking. The stakes are raised for Kasturi because she has a daughter, Nutan (Tanseesha Joshi), who is the same age as Aimee. One of the commonalities between Aimee’s death and the murders from 19 years ago is that the police weren’t able to prevent any of them, only respond to them after the fact.

Aranyak has a few glaring flaws. Kasturi does stupid things that put people in danger, and she’s never heard of the jugular vein. Action scenes in the final episode defy the laws of space-time. The finale’s closing shot is sincerely crazy. The whole reason I watched the show was because Shah Shahid of the Split Screen Podcast warned me that the show’s final seconds were nuts, and he was right.

That said, the story build-up to that point is solid enough to make time invested in Aranyak worthwhile. Consistently good performances help, too, with special acknowledgement of Joshi as Nutan and Wishveash Sharkholi as Bunty, her boyfriend. Though the story feels complete as is, I’m very curious to see where Season 2 would go, based on the finale’s closing seconds.

Links

Netflix Women’s Day 2022 News

In honor of International Women’s Day, the Netflix India Twitter account drew special attention to six upcoming projects with strong women characters, including some new photos. The account tweeted about the recently announced films Kathal, Thar, and Qala, as well as the upcoming second seasons of Masaba Masaba and She. Most exciting was a tweet about the forthcoming series Mai, which was announced a couple of years ago and hasn’t gotten much attention since. All of the titles were mentioned as “coming soon,” so here’s hoping that’s true.

Netflix recently brought together a bunch of the women filmmakers and actors responsible for the streamer’s biggest Indian hits to film a promotional video for Netflix and take questions from the media. Friend of Access Bollywood Suchin Mehrotra was at the event reporting for The Hindu, and Anupama Chopra recorded a video interview for Film Companion. Check it out:

As if this wasn’t enough, yesterday Netflix revealed that Alia Bhatt’s first foray into Hollywood will be a role in the Netflix Original film Heart of Stone, starring Gal Gadot and Jamie Dornan. Exciting stuff!

Streaming Video News: February 10, 2022

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with today’s global premiere of Deepika Padukone’s new film, Gehraiyaan. Yesterday, Prime launched the new Tamil thriller Mahaan in all its various formats:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the newly released trailer for Madhuri Dixit’s series The Fame Game (formerly Finding Anamika), which debuts February 25:

And I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu with the trailer for the new Hindi film A Thursday, premiering February 17:

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Streaming Video News: December 17, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with today’s premiere of the Original series Decoupled, starring Madhavan and Surveen Chawla. Netflix also added the 2020 Tamil drama Kadaseela Biriyani.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with yesterday’s streaming debut of Bunty Aur Babli 2.

I continue to add titles to my list of Bollywood movies on Hulu. It’ll likely take several more weeks to finish grabbing the data for all of the Hotstar titles in the catalog because Hulu’s interface loads really, really slowly — but progress is being made!

I’m also working on a 2022 preview of Netflix Original movies and series for What’s on Netflix, so stay tuned for that!

[Disclaimer: my Amazon links include an affiliate tag, and I may earn a commission on purchases made via those links. Thanks for helping to support this website!]

Streaming Video News: February 12, 2021

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the addition of the 2019 Kannada film Mundina Nildana. We’re entering a busy stretch at Netflix, starting with the Valentine’s Day (Sunday) additions of the 2020 Indo-Nigerian romance Namaste Wahala and the debut of the Indian wedding reality series The Big Day. Those are followed on the 15th by Awara Paagal Deewana, Eeb Allay Ooo! on the 17th, and the premiere of the Netflix Original Telugu anthology Pitta Kathalu on February 19.

Here are all the other upcoming Netflix release dates that we know of:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a bunch of Indian titles added in the last week. The Malayalam thriller Drishyam 2 debuts worldwide on February 19: