Rahul is a TV addict who can never get enough of good shows. His all-time favorites are 'The Wire', 'Breaking Bad', and 'The Sopranos.'
In the cut-throat TV landscape where giants like Netflix and Amazon have taken over the market, small players like MX Player have conjured up their own dedicated fanbase, thanks to their originality and boldness that resonates well with the young Indian audience.
From heavy-handed crime dramas to comedy, MX Player has something in store for everyone. Given the overwhelming number of series released over the last few years on the platform, I have taken the daunting task of pruning off the fluff and keeping the best for this piece. Take a look at some of the best MX Player originals as of the time of writing.
Best MX Player Originals
- Indori Isqh
- Hello Mini
- Ek Thi Begum
- Hey Prabhu
For the uninitiated, Aashram means "a secluded dwelling of a Hindu sage.” It's a religious retreat of sorts, where folks come for spiritual and religious teachings. Directed by Prakash Jha, Aashram takes a subtle dig at these dwellings running in India, unflinchingly showcasing what goes on behind the scenes. In the name of helping people transcend their worldly plight, gullible people are often robbed of their money, dignity, and identity.
The plot revolves around Baba Nirala, a self-proclaimed godman, who has risen to unbridled power, thanks to his staunch lower-class supporters. Since politicians don't want to lose a sizeable chunk of their vote bank, they don't meddle with Baba's affairs. With his rising political ambitions, though, he's bitten off more than he can chew. Watch as he struggles to maintain his flawless public facade while continuing to play the power game behind the scene.
Aashram is a fascinating amalgamation of politics and crime. Though these two genres often go hand in hand, balancing the violence and drama can be a challenging juggle— something Aashram excels at.
As of the time of writing, this crime series has aired for 2 seasons and coming back soon for the 3rd.
While Raktanchal looks like your usual run-of-the-mill high-octane drama, its multilayered plot begs to differ. The pilot episode is to blame here for its lousy first impression. This crime drama, however, packs a poignant storyline, slowly unraveling in later episodes.
Based on real events, the story takes place in 1980s India. Set in Purvanchal, UP, this Ritam Srivastav's directed affair doesn't take much time to shift the gears. In this lawless land, two infamous gangs often find themselves at loggerheads for varying reasons. Nobody bats an eye, not even the police, for they're corrupted to the core as well. Vijay Singh, our anti-hero, however, would have none of that. Driven by vengeance, he vows to take down Waseem Khan, one of the mob bosses. Despite Khan's cajoling, Singh won't buzz. All-out war is nigh.
It's gratifying to watch a ganglord's empire crumble bit by bit as he succumbs to his own lofted ambitions. The eccentric yet lucid approach to storytelling would keep you glued to your seat as both parties deal major blows to one another.
Barring the redundant songs, Raktanchal is an action-packed series with no frills. You'd wish that it had some breathers! If you're looking for a good MX Player series, this is it!
It's 2003. Muzaffarnagar, the crime capital of India, is in shambles. Infested with big-time criminals, the city is divided into two parts; one is ruled by the Shaukeen Gang while the Dedha brothers rule the rest. The locals have long given up on the corrupt justice system and have gotten used to the systematic harassment by the two gangs. Things soon change when Naveen Sikhera, an IPS officer enters the fray.
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Now, if you're thinking that it's just another good vs bad guy story, I won't blame you. Based on a real-life story of a police officer who single-handedly battled with the odds heavily against him and transformed the city, Bahukal can be a little cliched at times. Perhaps I am nitpicking, but be aware of its tropey nature before getting into it.
Mohit Raina has done justice to his IPS officer role, displaying the wide range he possesses on screen. Also, the whole ensemble cast has done an incredible job as well in bringing authenticity on the screen with vigor. Though it’s nowhere near the spectacles like Mirzapur and Sacred Games, it's still one of the best MX originals ever.
The crime drama is unarguably a saturated genre, so when something new and refreshing comes along every once in a while, it's a breath of fresh air.
Damaged stars Amrita Khanvilker (Lovina) as a sociopathic serial killer, your easy-on-the-eyes friendly neighbor. Affable and easy-going on the surface, her Hanniablistic tendencies emerge as soon as she entraps her next soon-to-be-butchered lovesick victim.
Be forewarned; it’s not your humdrum murder mystery. There is no secret to unravel or crime to solve. You'll be introduced to Lovina early on in the series. Instead, the show delves deeper into her morbid personality. When she's not on a murder spree, it's easy to forget that she's the same woman who just brutally murdered someone not too long ago, which is a testament to Amruta's brilliant spectrum of acting range.
All in all, Damaged is a well-paced show, maintaining the intrigue till the credits roll.
Ever wonder what the future has in store for you? All of us have. What price would you pay to know it all? To have the keys to your success in the future? Would you even want it? Directed by Satish Rajwade, this sly thriller asks the same questions from the viewers.
The series stars Swapnil Joshi of Sri Krishna fame in the role of a middle-aged man—a man who's been a failure all his life. Convinced that his failures are more than just a series of bad luck, he meets Swami, an astrologer who claims to know it all. To Kumar's displeasure, Swami remains ambivalent about his future, forewarning him to probe any further. Of course, he decides to take matters into his own hands and change his fate.
In his quest to turn things around, Kumar goes down the rabbit hole, chasing the man his life is supposedly linked to. Inevitably, meddling with forces he doesn't quite understand further leads him down the path of melancholy and chaos.
Though this sly series remains intriguing and action-packed all the way through, I felt the first season went on a little longer than needed. Thankfully, the no-frill second season dials the crazy to 11, elevating the series to new heights.
As of the time for writing, season 3 is still in production. Here is hoping that we get more of the same unbridled action and drama as the first 2 seasons.
6. Indori Isqh
The story revolves around Kunal, an idyllic young man with a bright career ahead. He's already the best in the school and is already primed to go to one of the best Naval colleges in India. Love, money, purpose—he has everything one could ask from life. Things, however, go south when he learns that his girlfriend is not as faithful as he'd thought. Driven by obsessiveness and rage, the self-destructive pattern soon rears its ugly head.
As the obsession to right the wrong continues to grow, the quaint dramedy gradually morphs into a harrowing nightmare.
Dissed by fans and critics alike on its arrival, Indori Ishq doesn't have much going for it in terms of critical reception. While it's no Mirzapur, this cerebral show definitely is one of the better shows available on MX Player.
This high octane drama revolves around "Magic", a new recreational drug in the market that has everyone going gaga over it. The drug lords behind the scenes are making millions off the back of their genius creation, but the novelty is short-lived.
The sudden disruption in the drug market spirals everything out of control as the veterans start picking off these newcomers one by one. Watch as these new millionaires make an attempt to do some good in the world while trying to stay off the radar.
Ranvir Shorey looks menacing and convincing as a hitman hired to kill these new dealers, supported by Akshay Oberoi's brilliant performance of a drug addict turned mob boss. While others do their job reasonably well, these two get most of the screen-time. Thankfully, they don't disappoint.
Leave common sense on the doorstep and enjoy this balls-to-the-wall action series.
8. Hello Mini
Directed by Faruk Kabir, Hello Mini stars Anuja Joshi in the role of Rivanah Bannerjee, a 20-something who falls in love with a mysterious, romantic guy. Initially, the passion and emotions are on an all-time high, but soon she begins to see the whole facade. The guy she thinks she's obsessed with might well be a psychotic stalker.
Loosely based on the anthology series authored by Novoneel Chakraborty, Hello Mini can sometimes be softcore erotica rather than a thriller. Though it masquerades itself as a suspenseful neo-noir, there is not much depth to the story or the characters.
If you're looking for an erotic thriller with some good drama, Hello Mini is a good fit for your next binge-watching session. Give it a chance.
Virkar stars Prateik Babbar in the role of a dogged cop hell-bent on uncovering the mystery behind the recent gruesome murders in the town. Infamous for his own brand of ghastly justice, Virkar delves in deep, only to find out that these ostensibly straightforward murders run a little deeper than he first thought. Though there's violence and gore galore, Virkar impressively stays grounded throughout its run.
In this day and age where the dark side of the internet rears its ugly head every too often in form of cyberbullying and hacking, the story is inclined more towards horror than a crime-thriller.
Unlike other shows that take their sweet time in getting to the heart of the matter, Virkar starts with a bang. The very first episode painstakingly sets up the morbid premise with later episodes building upon it.
Intriguing and action-packed, Chakravyuh—An Inspector Virkar Crime Thriller is, unfortunately, a short-stay, unlike its ridiculously overlong name.
10. Ek Thi Begum
Inspired by true events, Ek Thi Begum is a story of Sapna, a femme fatal who vows to take down the entire empire of his husband's arch-rival after his murder. Instead of going the old-fashioned, conventional way, she uses her beauty and charm to bring them down one by one.
How does one woman best all the seasoned criminals of the 80s with just her sexuality and charm? The show is often hard-pressed to answer these questions in its 14 episodes. Try as it may, but Ek Thi Begum often founders in telling an authentic, true story, thanks to its efforts to appeal to the masses. It often tries to separate itself from the herd, yet plays the same mundane tropes on a loop.
If you're looking for an adrenaline-fueled, casual drama that doesn't demand much from the viewers, Ek Thi Begum should be on your to-watch list.
11. Hey Prabhu
MX Originals usually have a penchant for creating gritty, larger-than-life dramas, so Hey Prabhu is a welcome change of pace from all the gang stories and violence.
This Shashanka Ghosh's directed series follows Tarun Prabhu, a social media Rockstar with no real life of his own. Affable and affluent online, Tarun is awkward and fidgety in real life, with no real-life experience in his resume. Things take a hilarious turn when he finally decides that he's had enough and takes the charge of life into his own hands.
Depicting the real state of a lot of millennials, this dramedy can be a difficult watch at times, as it cuts too close to the bone. Underneath its light-hearted exterior, there is an underlying message for the young generation. From over-filtered images to constant chest-thumping on social media, some of us try to make up for our real-life insecurities, to fill the gaping void we all feel. Hey Prabhu lays in all out in the open.
From its ensemble cast to the screenplay, this heart-warming series does a remarkable job. Gone are those days when Indian showrunners could come up with any script, add a few bumbling fools into the mix, and call it a day. In the face of a baffling number of choices, today's audience wants much more than just poppycock. Thankfully, both seasons of Hey Prabhu deliver on its promises, and then some more.
Did I miss out on any new MX Player series worthy of a mention here? Let me know in the comments section.