Netflix debuted its first Indian Original Movie — the cute romantic comedy Love Per Square Foot — in February 2018. Since then the streamer has released dozens more Original films and series from India, with lots of high-profile projects in the works. (Check out our 2022 Indian Originals preview for descriptions of titles coming soon.) But which have been the biggest hits, in terms of ratings and viewership? And what are some other titles just too good to pass up? We’ve got you covered with the best Indian Netflix Originals released so far.
One note on viewership data: Netflix started publishing weekly viewership data for movies and shows in November 2021, so reliable viewership data only goes back that far. Check out our Netflix Top 10s Hours Viewed Title Search tool to check viewership data for hundreds of titles in the Netflix catalog.
Best Indian Original Movies
For all of the criticism Netflix gets for skewing heavily toward Hindi content, it’s poetic that their highest-rated Indian Original Film is in Malayalam. Netflix gave the superhero flick Minnal Murali a prime Christmas Eve release date in 2021, and subscribers responded enthusiastically. As of this writing, Minnal Murali has an 8.2 rating at IMDb — more than a half-point higher than the next-most-highly-rated Indian Netflix Original Movie (Dhamaka, if you were curious). Minnal Murali scores 75% on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes, where it boasts a 94% Audience Score.
Prolific Malayalam-industry leading man Tovino Thomas — who’s appeared in 41 movies since his debut ten years ago — plays a humble tailor who gains superpowers when he’s struck by lightning. But he wasn’t the only one hit by that lightning bolt…
Netflix’s most successful Hindi Original Film is the 2021 murder mystery Haseen Dillruba. The movie stars Taapsee Pannu and Vikrant Massey as a married couple who deal with infidelity in some very unhealthy ways. When it was released, Haseen Dillruba earned a spot in the Top 10 rankings of 22 different countries. It spent four weeks in the Global Top 10 for non-English movies, with 24,630,000 total hours viewed. The only other Indian Original with more hours in the Global Top 10 was — you guessed it — Minnal Murali.
The years Netflix spent building its reputation with a lineup of quality Indian Originals put the streaming service in a position to attract top talent for its exclusive releases. One great example of that is Ludo, a black comedy with an impressive ensemble cast and helmed by award-winning director Anurag Basu.
Basu’s crime caper connects four different subplots via a single antagonist: an indestructible gangster played by the hilarious Pankaj Tripathi. Each of the subplots gets its own color scheme matching the four corners of a ludo game board (board games like “Aggravation,” “Trouble,” or “Headache” are international variations of ludo). The stellar cast includes Rajkummar Rao, Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sanya Malhotra, and Fatima Sana Shaikh, with Basu himself making a cameo as one of the onscreen narrators.
Best Indian Netflix Original Series
It’s no surprise that Delhi Crime is the most highly-rated Netflix Indian Original series. In 2020, it won the International Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series — the first Indian series to do so. Delhi Crime has an 8.5 rating at IMDb, scoring 94% on both the Tomatometer and Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Season 1 of Delhi Crime is based on the 2012 Delhi gang rape case that made international headlines. The story follows the investigation into the crime, led by Deputy Commission of Police Vartika Chaturvedi (Shefali Shah). The series was officially renewed for a second season, with Shah and the main cast returning to investigate a new, different crime.
Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein
The Netflix Indian Original series with the most views is the January 2022 release Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein (“These Black Black Eyes“). During its one week in the Global Top 10, the series was watched for 11,260,000 hours. Those numbers were good enough to get the crime thriller renewed for a second season. Season 1 follows a happy, small-town guy whose life takes a dangerous turn when a powerful local politician’s daughter takes a romantic interest in him.
Netflix is fond of making Indian Original anthologies, some of which are presented as single movies and others that are classified as series with distinct episodes. One episodic anthology worth checking out is Ray, featuring four hour-long films based on the work of lauded author and director Satyajit Ray. The anthology features the contributions of veteran performers and filmmakers like Manoj Bajpayee, Kay Kay Menon, and Abhishek Chaubey, as well as up-and-coming talent like Vasan Bala, Radhika Madan, and Harshvardhan Kapoor.
What are your favorite Indian Netflix Original movies and series? Let us know in the comments below!
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