Best of 2021: Top 10 Shows or Films

07 Jan,2022



By Shailesh Kapoor


Shailesh KapoorTwenty twenty-one, with all its disruptions, saw a lot of content being produced and distributed in India, across media. While much of it did not have any lasting impact, some shows and films stood out during the year, not only because they received appreciation and commercial success, but also because they played a role in shaping the future of video entertainment in India. Here’s my list of the Top 10 shows or films of 2021:


10. Master: It needed a full-blown Tamil superstar vehicle to get audiences back to the theatres in January 2021. Even as Hindi cinema waited, this Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi entertainer reaffirmed that the big screen will never be out of business.

09. Money Heist: Netflix may have struggled with its Indian originals for most part of 2021. But the final season of Money Heist, with its multiple dubbed versions, managed to receive a lot of love from the audience, recording more viewership than most prominent Indian series in 2021.

08. The Great Indian Kitchen: The much-appreciated Malayalam film, along with Drishyam 2 and a few others, spearheaded the Malayalam cinema movement in 2021. The national audience, especially in big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Kolkata, took notice of Malayalam films, which became a popular OTT sub-genre among those seeking discerning content.

07. Shershaah: While many theatrical films went the OTT way, very few of them made you feel they deserved a theatrical release. Captain Vikram Batra’s biopic Shershaah topped this list, and was also the soundtrack of the year by a wide margin.

06. Anupama: The lone GEC show in the list, Anupama set new benchmarks for success, breaking the 4-TVR barrier, something unthinkable for any show at the start of the year. The show continues to go strong, providing a silver lining to an otherwise inert year for Hindi GECs. You can read my recent column on the show here.

05. Sooryavanshi: It took a while, but Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi finally got the Bollywood box-office back on track in Diwali 2021. Like Master, the film was a confirmation of the power of the theatrical medium, and of the value of larger-than-life, mass entertainers.

04. Spider-Man: No Way Home: In December 2021, the true might of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was on display at the Indian box0office, as the new Spider-Man film became the biggest theatrical success of the year in India, becoming only the third Hollywood film to break the Rs 200 crore barrier at the Indian box-office.

03. The Family Man S2: In a year that saw many webseries (more than 130 in the Hindi language itself), one stood out as being head and shoulders above the rest. The first season of The Family Man was an unqualified success, but the second season actually managed to raise the bar further, with its nuanced handling of characters, relationships, politics and plot. From ‘Don’t Be A Minimum Guy’ to ‘Chellam Sir’, the show has found its way into pop culture too, and is now the definitive gold standard for Indian web-series to surpass.

02. Squid Game: Korean content found a sizeable audience in India in 2021. But it was Squid Game that went truly mass, attracting viewers from the smallest of towns in India, capturing their imagination through a story that combined human emotions with thrills and adrenaline.

01. Jai Bhim: It is only fitting that the top entry in this list is not in the Hindi language. Suriya-starrer Jai Bhim received whole-hearted appreciation from across the country, recording more viewership than many starcast-led Hindi films in the Hindi markets. The film worked both as social commentary and a legal drama, and proved decisively that good content can find audience across languages and geographies.


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