In 2020, while the world suffered from COVID-19 pandemic, OTT came as a huge relief. In the absence of cinema, it was the only major source of entertainment for the people and it performed its job amazingly well.
Major players like Netflix, Amazon Prime, ALTBalaji, Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLIV and others were at the forefront of the digital revolution, with something for everyone, at any place and on any device.
Gritty crime thrillers seemed to be the flavour of the season with Amazon Prime’s impeccably written and fast-paced ‘Paatal Lok’ that explored immorality and the revenge drama ‘Mirzapur 2’ that got audiences immersed into its big black world. The two were by far the platform’s most watched Indian shows.
Close on its heels was ALTBalaji’s ‘Bicchoo Ka Khel’. The show glorified the golden 80’s era of cinema, complete with all the ingredients of an entertaining, ‘masala’ series that was long missing from the small screen.
Zee5’s ‘Abhay 2’ thrilled action lovers and kept audiences at the edge of the seats, while Hotstar’s espionage thriller ‘Special Ops’ based on India’s widest manhunt was also among the most viewed shows.
Though Netflix made headlines with international shows like ‘Money Heist’ and ‘Sex Education’ and catered primarily to the urban crowd, they lacked breakout original Indian content. However, the platform did stay in the news for shows like ‘Indian Matchmaking’, a reality series on arranged marriages in India and ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ that touched upon the personal and professional lives of Indian star wives.
Hansal Mehta’s series for SonyLIV, ‘Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, based on the controversial 1992 Indian stock market scam, also grabbed the audiences’ attention. All eyes continue to remain on the show to determine if its lucky streak continues.
Another trend that emerged was the popularity of women-centric shows as a home-grown platform; ALTBalaji also saw immense success with ‘Mentalhood’, Karisma Kapoor’s debut series. The show delved into strategies mothers’ attempted to juggle children and everyday tasks. Another was Hotstar’s crime drama ‘Aarya’ headlined by Sushmita Sen, based on the Dutch drama series Penoza.
While 2020 may have not been the best year for us, it definitely inspired streaming platforms to step up their game, innovate and present audiences with a variety of content to beat those lockdown blues!