5 South Asian TV Series You May Have Missed in 2019

[Photo Source: Screenshot / YouTube & Amazon]

South Asian TV series have changed greatly over the years. 2019, in particular, saw a rise of shows in different languages from diverse regions, stretched across multiple streaming services and platforms. Great content has become more accessible to wider audiences. While big names such as “Bard of Blood” and “Made in Heaven” or highly anticipated sequels like the third season of “Little Things” and the second seasons of “Inside Edge” and “Sacred Games” are hard to miss, here are 5 South Asian TV series that might have flown under your radar this year.

1. “Kota Factory”

[Photo Source: Screenshot / YouTube]
“Kota Factory” follows shows like “Laakhon Mein Ek”, which narrated the dark side of IIT entrance exams, engineering dreams and the crippling pressure of college admissions in India. But “Kota Factory” has a more optimistic look, and reminded me a lot of 3 Idiots. This TVF show is India’s first black and white series, indicating the colourless process of studying for competitive entrance exams, yet it also features supportive adults and the wonderful bonding between the Vaibhav – the protagonist – and his two friends. The writing and acting is so good, and you’ll definitely relate to Vaibhav’s existential struggle, laugh with him in moments of innocent joy and root for his success.

You can watch the seasons 1 & 2 on YouTube or on TVFPlay.

2. “The Family Man”

A seemingly average guy who lives a double life as a secret agent is a tried and tested trope in Bollywood, yet what makes “The Family Man” so unique is how funny it is. The show is very self aware of the cliches of its own genre and manages to infuse stellar humour along with some intriguing thrills and action. It is also very socially and politically aware and questions the privilege of the Indian middle class. The family in the center of the show is also quite delightful, especially Atharv, the son, who is a treat to watch.

The show is streaming on Amazon Prime.

3. “Meenaviyal (Meanwhile)”

This Malayalam webseries is an ode to sibling love and rivalry. The slice of life story follows Arun who moves into his elder sister Amritha’s apartment which causes some chaos, some tension, some surprising revelations and some heartwarming bonds. The show reminded me a lot of the movie “Bangalore Days” – which if you haven’t watched it yet, is a MUST watch – and it carries a similar tone when exploring the complex bond between the siblings in the midst of an urban lifestyle. The show is super short, simple yet engaging, and utterly charming.

You can watch the series on YouTube. The first episode is above!

4. “Shameless Proposals”

[Photo Source: Screenshot / YouTube]
This satirical webseries is a riot. The anthology series is also Pakistan’s second ever web series and it attacks the “rishta” culture of South Asian society. It views arranged marriage and proposals through the girl’s point of view, and explores the taboos and cliches of the whole process. More than anything, it tackles the million dollar question: “Log Kya Kahenge“? (What will people say?)

You can watch the series on YouTube.

[Read Related: Amazon’s ‘Made in Heaven’ Review: Desi Weddings Aren’t All Ladoos & Mehndi]

5. “Typewriter”

“Stranger Things” meet Enid Blyton in this quaint adventure/horror story that speaks to the nostalgia of a South Asian childhood that was influenced by western stories, such as “Famous Five” and “Secret Seven”. The show is not necessarily as scary as it hopes to be, but it has a certain charm, thanks to the entertaining and wonderful band of kids who headline the show. It has the haunted house, a town with mysteries, four little ghostbusters and a cute dog, a deadline looming over everyone’s heads and, of course, the titular typewriter. All of these elements come together to present a thrilling and nostalgic horror show.

The show is streaming on Netflix.

By Mishma Nixon

Mishma is an extroverted, loud and ambitious Sri Lankan who is an undergraduate student at The University of Iowa. Double … Read more ›

‘The Romantics’: Revisiting the Legacy and Grandeur of Yash Chopra With Filmmaker Smriti Mundhra

The Romantics

If you are a South Asian, born in the ’80s or the early ’90s, chances are your ideas of love and romance are heavily influenced by Hindi films — that first gaze, the secret love notes, that accidental meeting somewhere in Europe, over-the-top gestures and dancing around trees. While reality may have been far from what was promised on reel, you still can’t stop pining over a hopeless romantic, with chocolate boy looks, chasing you across the earth and many universes; in the life here and the ones after. Somewhere deep down, you still dream of that possibility despite your husband sitting and sipping his morning coffee right next to you. And much of the credit for weaving this dreamland, that we can’t resist happily sliding into, goes to the legendary Yash Chopra. Award-winning filmmaker Smriti Mundhra’s docu-series, “The Romantics,” that released on Netflix on February 14, chronicles Chopra’s prolific career; offering an illuminating look into the highs and lows of his journey, his unblemished vision for Hindi cinema and sheer love for filmmaking. 

I wanted to look at Indian cinema through the lens of it being a major contributor to the global cinema canon and Yash Chopra seemed like the perfect lens to explore that because of the longevity of his career and the fact that he had worked across so many different genres. His films, for so many of us, defined what Hindi cinema is.

— Smriti Mundhra

As “The Romantics” unveils, in a mere episode — a challenging feat in itself — Chopra did experiment with multiple genres as a budding filmmaker, initially under the shadows of his elder brother B.R. Chopra. From the religiously sensitive “Dharamputra” and the trendsetting “Waqt” to the action-packed and iconic “Deewaar.” It wasn’t until later on in his career that he set a precedent for a Hindi film having a wholly romantic narrative; though “Waqt” did offer the perfect glimpse into what would go on to become Chopra’s cinematic imprint. And then came “Chandni” which ushered in a new era for Hindi cinema; defying the formulaic approach to box office success and making love stories the golden goose.

In the words of more than 30 famous faces, a host of archival videos and interviews, and personal anecdotes, audiences get an extensive insight into the life and career of Yash Chopra and the evolution of his vision through the business acumen and genius of his polar opposite son and a famous recluse, Aditya Chopra. “The Romantics” is not a fancy portrait of a legendary filmmaker but an exploration of what goes into making a successful film family and a path-breaking production house. As viewers, we not only get a peek into the making of a fantasy creator but also learn of the many failures, hurdles and uncertainties that the business of filmmaking comes packaged in, the impact of socio-political shifts on the kind of content being produced and demanded, and just how much control we have as an audience over the fate of the film and the filmmaker.

For both the uninitiated and fanatics, there are some interesting revelations like Shah Rukh Khan’s lifelong desire to become an action hero as opposed to a romantic one and the creative conflict between Aditya Chopra and his father Yash Chopra on the sets of “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge” — a project that, surprisingly, did not seem too promising to the latter. Mundhra penetrates deep into the family’s history and industry relationships evoking some really candid conversations; almost as if these celebs were eagerly waiting for their moment to speak. With one appraising interview after the other, it’s a panegyric that does border on being a tad tedious but there is enough depth and fodder in there to keep one hooked. Kudos to Mundhra for managing to achieve cohesion despite there being more than enough material to chew on. In the process of bringing this project to life, Mundhra also ends up achieving a number of milestones: one that the series features the last of actor Rishi Kapoor’s interviews and two, it brings Aditya Chopra, who, it appears, can talk a blue streak contrary to popular belief, to the front of the camera after almost two decades. The moment when he puts the nepotism debate to rest by referring to his brother’s catastrophic attempt at acting is quite the show-stealer.


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At some point during the four-episode series, you might question if it’s fair to credit the Yash Raj family for being the only real changemakers of the Hindi film industry and for picking up the baton to get Hindi cinema the global recognition that it has. But then there is no denying the Chopra clan’s body of work, their ability to understand what pleases the crowd and their commitment towards growth and progress amidst changing times and technology — Yash Raj Studios is in fact the only privately held and one of the biggest, state-of-the-art film studios in India. Chopra’s career and legacy are in no way under-lit that Mundhra can claim to throw new light on with “The Romantics.” But what she really has on offer here are sheer nostalgia, some fascinating discoveries and an ode to a cinephile and his art with a bit of fan service.

In an interview with Brown Girl Magazine, Mundhra discusses why it was so important for Chopra to be the subject of her docu-series, her own learnings during the series’ research and creative process and her accomplishment of getting Aditya Chopra to talk, and that too, at length.

By Nida Hasan

Editor by profession, writer by passion, and a mother 24/7, Nida is a member of Brown Girl Lifestyle's editing team … Read more ›