A lot of us grew up watching Detective Byomkesh Bakshi and Karamchand in action. But soon, reality TV and melodrama sidelined the spy genre on Indian TV. However, in the last few years, various Indian TV shows and web series have explored the spy drama genre again.
While certain shows made it difficult to sit through even one episode, there were others that had us binge-watch the entire series in one night - and then spend the remaining time researching, and even contributing, to fan theories. So here's our ranking of Indian spy dramas, from the least interesting to the most intriguing:
7. Bard of Blood: Netflix
Despite a good star cast and intriguing plot (based on Bilal Siddiqi's 2015 espionage novel of the same name), Bard of Blood was unable to completely capture the audience's attention. The story of a retired Indian Intelligence officer who reluctantly takes on a new case, only to be embroiled in a murder, Bard of Blood had far too much going on at the same time to do complete justice to the plot.
6. Kathmandu Connection: SonyLiv
Set against the backdrop of the 1993 Bombay Blasts investigations, Kathmandu Connection had multiple brilliant elements (from Sneha Khanwalkar's musical score to the nuanced performances), but the brilliant parts could not come together to weave an equally brilliant whole. Despite the slightly generic twists and writing, the show was worth a watch!
5. Crackdown: Voot Select
Starring Saqib Saleem, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Rajesh Tailang, and others, Voot original Crackdown focused on the lives of RAW agents and how they save India from a possible terrorist attack. While the series scored high on performances and edge-of-seat twists and turns, a little more depth would have made it easier to invest in the story - especially when the show started focusing more on the characters' individual stories.
4. P.O.W Bandhi Yuddh Ke: MX Player
Based on the Israeli series Hatufim (the same show on which Homeland is based) P.O.W Bandhi Yuddh Ke was developed by Nikkhil Advani and originally aired on Star Plus. Starring Amrita Puri, Sandhya Mridul, Purab Kohli, and Satyadeep Mishra in lead roles, the show was off to a good start. While it could not hold on to the thrill it generated in the first few episodes, it is still one of the better TV shows to have released in recent years.
3. 24: Colors TV
This Anil Kapoor starrer thriller was the official adaptation of the American show of the same name. Intense, uncomfortable, and definitely unlike anything that Indian shows had showcased in past, 24 was an instant hit with the audience. The show originally aired on Colors TV, but currently, is not available for streaming online.
2. Special OPS & Special OPS 1.5: Disney+Hotstar
Both seasons of this spy-thriller have left people craving for more - thanks to Neeraj Pandey's artful direction and Menon's powerful performance as RAW officer Himmat Singh. The show had the right mix of suspense and entertainment and is an underrated gem on the list of Indian web series.
1. The Family Man 1 and 2: Amazon Prime Video
One of the finest web series to have come out of India, The Family Man showcased twists that were definitely predictable and characters that were absolutely unforgettable. From terrifying villains to relatable heroes, The Family Man perfectly married realism with fantasy and delivered a show that was unexpectedly hilarious, yet nuanced and intriguing.
Do you agree with these rankings? Let us know in the comments section below.