Women’s Day: OTT series that have redefined portrayal of female protagonists

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New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) The disruptive OTT space in the country has seen an unprecedented rise in women-centric shows scripted by a new generation of talented women storytellers. The shows not only celebrate femininity, but also have sparked conversations around gender equality, female identity, and social norms.

Series such as ‘Delhi Crime’, ‘Maharani’, ‘Dahaad’ and ‘Scoop’, among many others, offer a nuanced exploration of the struggles, triumphs and aspirations of women. From gripping dramas to heartwarming tales of ambition and self-discovery, each series reflects the diverse strengths of women in our society.

Here’s an IANS listing of seven titles you may want to watch on International Women’s Day:

‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’: Marking the OTT debut of the auteur Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the series stars Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal and Sanjeeda Sheikh.

It explores the cultural reality of Heeramandi, a dazzling district, through the stories of its courtesans and their patrons set against the backdrop of the freedom struggle in the 1940s. It is slated to premiere on Netflix.

‘Maharani’ (Seasons 1, 2 and 3): Huma Qureshi has won hearts and earned fame with her portrayal of Rani Bharti, a character inspired by Rabri Devi, in the political drama series ‘Maharani’, which exposes the seamy underside of the corridors of power.

The show is partly inspired by incidents that took place in Bihar in the 1990s, when Lalu Prasad, who had to resign as Chief Minister after he was arrested in the fodder scam, announced his homemaker wife Rabri Devi as his successor and got it endorsed by his party’s legislators.

The series also stars Amit Sial, Vineet Kumar, Pramod Pathak, Kani Kusruti, Anuja Sathe, Sushil Pandey and Dibyendu Bhattacharya in pivotal roles. The show is available on Sony LIV.

‘Delhi Crime’ (Seasons 1 and 2): Shefali Shah as Delhi Police DCP Vartika Chaturvedi is a character who embodies a sense of calm, composure and unwavering rationality in the face of intense job stress, challenging the way the male-dominated profession of policing is seen by the general public. Addressed as ‘Madam-Sir’ by her staff in the tradition of the Delhi Police, Shah’s character shatters gender barriers.

The International Emmy-winning show also features Rasika Dugal as Neeti Singh, IPS.

Season One delved into the harrowing events of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape in Delhi and the second season focused on the ‘Chaddi Baniyan’ gang that wreaked terror in the national capital. Written and directed by Richie Mehta, the series is available on Netflix.

‘Scoop’: The Mumbai-based crime drama headlined by Karishma Tanna as Jagruti Pathak, inspired by ex-journalist Jigna Vora, who was falsely charged with being connected to the murder of crime journalist Jyotirmoy Dey and was booked under MCOCA.

Karishma’s character, an established crime reporter and Deputy Bureau Chief of the fictional ‘Eastern Age’, brings out her versatility as an actress. She conveys the essence of Jigna and navigates the complexities of her profession in a male-dominated industry.

Karishma elevates her character beyond mere stereotypes, showcasing the resilience and inner strength of women striving to make their mark in the world.

The show also stars Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Harman Baweja and Prosenjit Chatterjee in pivotal roles. It is streaming on Netflix.

‘Aarya’ (Seasons 1, 2 and 3): Sushmita Sen, who has had a brilliant second innings on OTT, plays the titular role and truly comes across as the symbol of strength and determination in the series. Set in the world of organised crime, Aarya transforms from a loving wife and mother into a confident decision-maker after her husband’s mysterious death. She goes on to uncover his illegal activities and that’s how the narrative unspools.

Nominated for International Emmys, the series has been co-created by Ram Madhvani. It also stars Ila Arun and Aarushi Bajaj in pivotal roles.

It is available on Disney+ Hotstar.

‘Dahaad’: Sonakshi Sinha’s portrayal of Inspector Anjali Bhaati in this police procedural crime thriller series is nothing short of electrifying. With her fiery determination, Sonakshi breathed life into the character, bringing a perfect blend of toughness and charm, exuding confidence and authority.

The show is inspired by Mohan Kumar (known as Cyanide Mohan), a serial killer who preyed on women looking for marriage. Created by Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar, and directed by Reema Kagti and Ruchika Oberoi, the show’s male protagonists are Gulshan Devaiah, Vijay Varma and Sohum Shah.

It is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

‘Karmma Calling’: Raveena Tandon, who marked her return to the screen with her kick-ass role in ‘Aranyak’, explored a very different aspect of herself as an artiste with her portrayal of Indrani Kothari in the ‘Karmma Calling’.

Indrani is the reigning queen of Alibaug, the enclave of the elite near Mumbai. She is powerful, strong-headed and wants to maintain her position in that well-heeled society.

Produced by RAT Films, adapted for India and directed by Ruchi Narain, the series also features Namrata Sheth and Varun Sood, along with Gaurav Sharma, Waluscha D’Souza, Amy Aela, Viraf Patel and Piyush Khati.

It is available on Disney+ Hotstar.



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