2020 was nothing a challenging year for everyone for so many reasons. Amid all the monotonous things like viral outburst and the loss of many shining stars of the Bollywood industry that the year brought us, it has also been a year of hope and changes. At least, it was for those aspiring stars who made their acting debut in 2020. While most of the films could not release in theatres, O.T.T. platforms came and became a massive relief for the audience that couldn’t wait for the theatres to reopen.
2020 saw many movies and web series directly releasing on different O.T.T. platforms like Disney+Hotstar, Netflix, SonyLiv, Amazon Prime Video, making way for new talents to showcase their skills to a population of billions. Here are some of the most favorite and famous O.T.T. debuts in 2020 and robbed the hearts of many.
Best OTT Debuts in 2020
Abhishek Bachchan – Breathe: Into The Shadows
Making his digital debut with a psychological thriller, Breathe: Into the Shadows, on Amazon Prime Videos, Abhishek Bachchan stood out along with Amit Sadh and Nithya Menen. Playing a psychiatrist, Bachchan is seen fighting the kidnapper of his daughter. But this isn’t it; things take an ugly turn when the kidnapper asks Abhishek’s character to kill a few innocent people to save his daughter’s life. We would like to point out that Abhishek Bachchan pulled off this negative role like a true villain with no intention to pull any spoilers here, thereby making the series a commendable watch.
Bobby Deol – Aashram
For Bobby Deol, 2020 remained quite eventful. He began with Netflix’s original Class of ’83, his digital debut, and went ahead to rule the hearts with Aashram. This web series remained the most talked about the TV show and one of the best performances in 2020. Prakash Jha directs the web series on MX player, and Deol plays Baba Nirala, a self-proclaimed godman. A saint in his followers’ eyes, Baba Nirala is a devil behind their backs. Saying that he (Bobby) ran the show singlehandedly won’t be wrong.
Lara Dutta Bhupathi – Hundred
Hundred, an action-comedy web series on Hotstar, was the digital debut of Lara Dutta Bhupathi. She did it with Sairat fame Rinku Rajguru. Playing an ambitious cop, the former Miss Universe teams up with a girl named Netra. Now, this girl has just found out that she only has 100 days to live. Making the best of this opportunity, Lara trains her into a badass undercover agent. After that, the series constantly focuses on the duo solving mysteries, cracking cases, and catching criminals. While watching this TV show, you will realize that it’s for the first time the performance of Lara Dutta Bhupathi is not undermined or neglected due to other big stars like Salman Khan, Govinda, Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor, and more.
Naseeruddin Shah – Bandish Bandits on Amazon Prime Video
Naseeruddin Shah is one of the naturally versatile Bollywood actors who have achieved the status and honor of being a legend and veteran in the industry. The show premiered in August 2020 and, till now, has received many positive reviews across the boards. He had an essential role in the series, but unlike the other actors and cast on the list, he is not the main lead. Bandish Bandits tend to wilt under their weight. But wait, it isn’t a washout as it seems. The actors are led by Naseeruddin Shah and lend great emotional authenticity to the show.
The musical score by artists like Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, which faultlessly fuses Indian classical with the ever-peppy electronic rhythms, is worth its very weight in gold. Besides the undoubted marvelous performance by Shah, the solid-as-ever performance by Atul Kulkarni, and magnificently steady works of Sheeba Chaddha and an aptly self-effacing Rajesh Tailang, among others, were at hand to give the show a big fan following and a big yes-yes by the audience.
Shreya Dhanwanthary – Scam 1992, A Harshad Mehta story on Sony LIV
Tamil Actress Shreya Dhanwanthary came to the limelight last year for portraying the decorated journalist Sucheta Dalal in Sony Liv’s original web series Scam 1992. The complex role was a challenging project, which was essayed beautifully by Shreya. Journalist Sucheta Dalal, whose book is the foundation of Scam 1992 – The Harshad Mehta Story, not only gave us a superlative and heart-throbbing performance from Pratik Gandhi playing the titular lead of the famous stock market bull.
It was also Shreya Dhanwanthary, whose excellent portrayal of an adamant and very affirmative journalist wanting to expose Harshad Mehta’s scam that got the audiences to root for her and her likable character! Her acting and expressions are indeed a gem to this series, and with her performance, Sucheta Dalal became one of the most appreciated names in the series.
Sanjana Sanghi – Dil Bechara on Disney+Hotstar
Sanjana Sanghi, like some known stars on this list, didn’t face the camera for the first time in Mukesh Chhabra’s directorial venture Dil Bechara, but in her first film performs a lead role. The actress made her debut opposite the veteran actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who died this year on June 14. Simultaneously, the film marks Sushant’s last film and reminds us of a stunning and phenomenal actor.
It is also a kickstart for Sanjana and promises a superhit career for her. Sanjana has already impressed the audience with her looks, talent, and small yet powerful performances in films like Rockstar, Hindi Medium, and Fukrey. In Dil Bechara, she played the main character of Kizzie Basu and won millions of hearts with her work. Sanjana will next perform in Kapil Verma’s Om: The Battle Within opposite Aditya Roy Kapur.
Sushmita Sen – Aarya on Disney + Hotstar
After a long time, Sushmita Sen sprung back in acting with her digital debut playing Aarya Sareen for Disney+Hotstar Special series Aarya. The former Miss Universe portrays a mother and wife who has forcefully taken up and led the family company after her husband’s death, completely unaware that this step of hers will drive her into the crime world, with no way to escape.
The web series did what most Bollywood directors couldn’t do – present Sushmita Sen in all her dangerous lady wrath as a badass action star. She can simultaneously play a loving and protective mother and a lady don who doesn’t think twice before punishing or killing someone. Sometimes, within the movie, you get confused whether it’s Aarya herself or a doppelgänger of her, or is it some double role story. Aarya is a critical success, and the actor was praised for her performance, which leads to being an addon to her fame.
Karisma Kapoor – Mentalhood on A.L.T. Balaji
Karisma Kapoor made her O.T.T. debut with A.L.T. Balaji’s original web series Mentalhood that is looked upon as a light-hearted comedy and the slightly exaggerated story of a modern parent. It touches the core of the viewers showcasing the life of a couple after being parents. With the various turns that motherhood or parenthood brings with it and drive mothers crazily exhausted and stunned, the innovative ways parents come up with to deal with their kids is a must-watch.
It draws a thin line with the difference between primitive parenting and modern-day parenting. Hence, Mentalhood is parenthood+mental, meaning parenting, that drives you to mental edges sometimes. Karisma Kapoor was widely praised for her portrayal of Meira Sharma, a mother of three who gave up her dreams and career as a supermodel and settled in Mumbai with her family to raise her kids well. The show focuses on how mothers multitask together, and Karishma nails it with a group of mothers who share similar problems.
Arshad Warsi – Asur on Voot Originals
Arshad Warsi is primarily known for his humor and performances in movies such as Golmaal, Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Lage Raho Munnabhai. However, this year, people saw a new and utterly different avatar of the Jolly L.L.B. actor in the Voot Select Original series Asur. The actor plays Dhananjay Rajput, mentor, to Barun Sobti, in this crime thriller, inspired by the series True Detective.
It was a visual treat and a new occurrence in the audience’s minds to watch the actor, who has played out of the box comedy roles for most of his Bollywood career, to come out of the zone and play a serious and complex character.
Jimmy Shergill – Your Honor
Jimmy Shergill has hardly gotten any role he can’t nail in the Bollywood industry. The actor has been on the big screen for more than two decades now, yet it was only in 2020 that the audience had a piece of his breathtaking art, and with Your Honour streaming, it made us realize his true potential. Jimmy Shergill made his digital debut in 2020 with Your Honor and acted in Rangbaaz Phirse alongside Saqib Saleem. However, his performance in the courtroom drama, Your Honor, truly impressed the audience.
Inspired by the Israeli T.V. series Kvodo, Your Honor is set in Ludhiana. She features Jimmy Shergill as a judge who loses his moralities, ethics, and sense of judgment when his son gets involved and sued in a hit-and-run accident. His transition from a righteous judge to a father who is willing to go to extreme lengths for his son is genuinely commendable, no matter the cost.
Pratik Gandhi – Scam 1992: A Harshad Mehta story
And the award for best OOT debut goes to Pratik Gandhi for his debut in Scam1992, A SonyLIV original. Last but not least, in Scam 1992, Pratik Gandhi was an internet sensation. With his out of the box personality, that the viewers fell in love with, Pratik Gandhi gave an outstanding performance, providing justice to the Stock market bull’s character.
His dialogues, expressions, and the straightforward way he presented his views in the entire series was the main reason the audience happened to love a name that was portrayed as not-so-good in the real world. Harshad Mehta was a stockbroker and a market genius who happened to use the system’s loopholes. You could get confused with his mesmerizing work, whether it was Pratik Gandhi or Harshad Mehta portraying himself.
So, these were the 8 O.T.T. debuts that were highly appreciated and were adored by the Indian public. From Sushmita Sen in a kickass character to Pratik Gandhi, who made us fell in love with a negative name, their works have been something that gave us a good time and helped us to loosen ourselves and drown our worries to relax a bit in this pandemic.