Since the inception of over-the-top (OTT) media services, the Indian audience is spoilt for choices under all regards. With the growth of Netflix and its revolutionary content, the Indian entertainment landscape is undergoing a significant positive change.  

Netflix India released its first originals Lust Stories and Sacred Games in 2018,  establishing its venture into the Indian online space. This carved a new niche and standard for the Indian viewership; from exploring female sexuality to the Bombay underworld, the viewers were left with no complaints! The rapid growth of OTT media has led to a significant decrease in television viewership, which has time and again succumbed to the age-old formula of saas-bahu and reaffirming gender roles. With not much variety to cater to the interested viewer’s space, other than clichécliche romance or hyper-realistic action films, both on Hindi cinema and television, the emergence of Netflix felt like a breath of fresh air. 

In search of better content and quality cinema, especially in genres like thriller, crime, and horror, the Indian viewership shifted from Bollywood to Hollywood. An audience which has grown up with Ram Gopal Verma and the much silenced,  yet talked about, ‘sex-horror’, found refuge in the Conjuring Universe. With Netflix producing back-to-back quality content, the announcement of Ghoul with an astounding star-cast of Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul, put aside all the previous hatred towards Hindi media. 

Lying under the grounds of a dystopian world with classification on the basis of religion and dealing with sacrilegious texts, Patrick Graham’s Ghoul keeps you on the edge, constantly. Vinitha Singh, a first-year Journalism student at Kamala Nehru College, says, “I have watched Ghoul and I liked the fact that it was so mysterious. At every episode you are scared, but then, you keep on binge-watching because you cannot be patient enough. With so many twists and turns, it makes it hard to predict. I kinda loved it!” Indian viewers love the idea of ‘experimentation’ and Ghoul fits into this sphere perfectly. Religious myths and age-old narratives in a dystopia makes one a little more than simply existential. 

Following the huge success of Ghoul in 2018, Netflix released the much-awaited Typewriter by Sujoy Ghosh in 2019. Commonly referred to as India’s sasta (downgraded) Stranger Things, Typewriter is a roller-coaster ride with a bunch of 10-year-olds. The possession of an inanimate object leads to a series of drastic consequences due to a deep historical significance. Tightly packed with another set of the notable star-cast of Purab Kohli, Palomi Ghosh, and Jisshu Sengupta, Typewriter was welcomed by a lot of mixed reviews. Accusations of rushing into the climax by destroying the build-up is a common critique. Sarah Susan Varkey, a Political Science student at Jesus and Mary college states, “ I was very excited for the release of Typewriter after Ghoul and Stranger Things Season 3. But my happiness was short-lived as I didn’t really feel the horror other than a few jumpscares. I had high expectations, mostly due to the premise and the star-cast.”

With the massive success of both Ghoul and Typewriter, the Indian audience has increased its expectations, and would not bow down to nonsensica horror from Bollywood. Netflix India’s new horror original, Bulbul is all set to take wings within a few weeks; until then, happy binge-watching!

Feature Image Credits: Livemint

Anandi Sen 

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