A definitive guide to all the new Indian Netflix films and TV shows in 2021

The streaming service is releasing more than 40 original content programmes, its biggest ever slate

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Last Wednesday, Netflix announced it is rolling out its biggest roster yet of Indian films and shows this year, spanning Bollywood, movies from South India and a number of comedy specials, reality shows and documentaries.

Calling the move its "next big leap", the streaming major's 41 titles this year include films featuring big names such as Madhuri Dixit, Raveena Tandon, Madhavan and Kartik Aaryan. Bombay Begums, a series which marked the return to acting for Pooja Bhatt after more than 10 years, premiered on Monday on International Women's Day.

Scroll through the gallery above to see our 15 most anticipated picks. 

Returning shows include hit series such as Delhi Crime, Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega and the reality show The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives.

Netflix had earlier said it planned to invest almost $400 million to develop content for India.

"We're betting very, very big on India," Monika Shergill, the company's vice president for India content, told the Financial Times. "This slate is nearly three times that of 2019 and 2020, so I think you can make an educated guess about how much we are leaning into programming in India."

Here are all the films and shows coming this year:

The Indian films coming to Netflix

'Ajeeb Daastaans' (Hindi)

Cast: Fatima Sana Shaikh, Jaideep Ahlawat, Armaan Ralhan, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Abhishek Banerjee, Inayat Verma, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aditi Rao Hydari, Shefali Shah, Manav Kaul and Tota Roy Chowdhury

Directors: Shashank Khaitan, Raj Mehta, Neeraj Ghaywan and Kayoze Irani

This anthology film produced by Karan Johar will tell four contrasting stories, which explores jealousy, entitlement, prejudices and toxicity in relationships. Each story will take viewers on a journey  of moral dilemma of what's right and what's wrong, as the lines between them get blurred.

Konkona Sen Sharma and Aditi Rao Hydari in 'Ajeeb Daastaans'. Courtesy Netflix. 

'Bulbul Tarang' (Hindi)

Cast: Sonakshi Sinha and Tahir Raj Bhasin

Director: Shree Narayan Singh

Sinha returns to her element in this comedy, playing a chirpy woman called Bulbul who has one simple dream – for her groom to arrive at her wedding riding a horse. However, her innocent wish soon faces resistance in her traditional village.

Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha. Courtesy Netflix

'Dhamaka' (Hindi)

Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Mrunal Thakur, Amruta Subhash, Vikas Kumar, Vishwajeet Pradhan

Director: Ram Madhvani

An official remake of the Korean film The Terror Live, Madhvani, best known for directing the 2016 film Neerja, helms Aaryan in this thriller about a frustrated ex-news anchor who gets another chance at a career when a terrorist calls him live on air with a bomb threat.

'Haseen Dillruba' (Hindi)

Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Vikrant Massey, Harshvardhan Rane

Director: Vinil Mathew

A follow-up to his 2014 comedy hit Hasee Toh Phasee, Mathew teams up with Taapsee Pannu in this thriller. The story centres on a woman who longs to live life like in the fantastical worlds she reads about in novels, but soon finds herself entangled in the murder of her own husband.

Taapsee Pannu and Vikrant Massey in 'Haseen Dillruba'. Courtesy Netflix

'Jaadugar' (Hindi)

Cast: Jitendra Kumar and Arushi Sharma

Director: Sameer Saxena

YouTube-star-turned-Bollywood-actor Kumar returns to film with this comedy, about a small-time magician who has to win a football tournament in order to marry the love of his life. There are just two things against him – the girl doesn’t love him back and his team hasn’t won a game in years.

Jitendra Kumar and Arushi Sharma in 'Jaadugar'. Courtesy Netflix. 

'Jagame Thandhiram' (Tamil)

Cast: Dhanush, James Cosmo, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Kalaiyarasan, Joju George

Director: Karthik Subbaraj

South Indian superstar Dhanush fronts this much-delayed project, which also marks the Indian film debut of Scottish actor James Cosmo. Extensively filmed in the UK, Dhanush plays a gangster who has to choose between good and evil.

'Meenakshi Sundareshwar' (Hindi)

Cast: Abhimanyu Dassani, Sanya Malhotra

Director: Vivek Soni

Malhotra, best known for her role in the 2016 hit Dangal, returns in this romantic comedy about a couple who enter into an arranged marriage for convenience. But they soon struggle with the trials and tribulations, and insecurities, of being in a relationship.

Sanya Malhotra and Abhimanyu Dassani star in 'Meenakshi Sundareshwar'. Courtesy Netflix 

'Milestone' (Hindi and Punjabi)

Cast: Suvinder Vicky, Lakshvir Saran

Director: Ivan Ayr

The poignant film has been doing the festival circuit rounds and has won a few awards along the way. It follows a middle-aged lorry driver, Ghalib, who is coping with the death of his wife while facing the threat of losing his job to a younger recruit.

'Navarasa' (Tamil)

Cast: Revathy, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Anjali, Aditi Balan, Remya Nambeesan, Poorna, Prayaga Martin, Rythvika Suriya, Vijay Sethupathy, Arvind Swamy, Siddharth, Prakashraj, Yogi Babu, Prasanna and Atharva

Directors: Arvind Swami, MD Anes, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Halitha Shameem, K V Anand, Karthick Naren, Karthik Subbaraj, Ponram and Rathindran R Prasad

Produced by acclaimed director Mani Ratnam, this anthology film will feature nine stand-alone stories based on the navarasas, the nine main human emotions in Indian performing arts tradition. The nine episodes will represent a different emotion or rasa such as anger, compassion, courage, disgust, fear, laughter, love, peace and wonder.

Acclaimed Indian director Mani Ratnam will produce 'Navarasa'. Courtesy Netflix 

'Pagglait' (Hindi)

Cast: Sanya Malhotra, Sayani Gupta, Ashutosh Rana, Raghubir Yadav, Shruti Sharma, Sheeba Chaddha, Sharib Hashmi, Aasif Khan, Rajesh Tailang and Meghna Malik

Director: Umesh Bist

The comedy-drama follows the story of recently widowed Sandhya, played by Malhotra, struggling to mourn the death of her husband. She sets out on the path of self-discovery, attempting to find her identity and purpose in life.

'Penthouse' (Hindi)

Cast: Bobby Deol, Arjun Rampal, Sharman Joshi, Mouni Roy, Cyrus Broacha, Tisca Chopra and Abrar Zahoor

Director: Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla

Actor Bobby Deol teams up with director duo Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla (also known as Abbas-Mustan), famous for their thrillers, in this murder mystery. When the body of an unknown woman is found in the penthouse shared by five friends, loyalties are questioned and marriages crumble as the shocking truth unravels.

Bobby Deol and Arjun Rampal in 'Penthouse'. Courtesy Netflix 

'Sardar Ka Grandson' (Hindi)

Cast: Neena Gupta, Arjun Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh, John Abraham, Aditi Rao Hydari, Soni Razdan, Kanwaljeet Singh, Kumud Mishra and Divya Seth

Director: Kaashvie Nair

This family entertainer boasts a stellar cast led by acclaimed actress Gupta, and tells the story of a woman and her grandson, recently returned from the US, who will go to any length to fulfil his grandmother's last wish.

'The Disciple' (Marathi)

Cast: Aditya Modak, Dr Arun Dravid

Director: Chaitanya Tamhane

Known for his critically-acclaimed 2014 film Court, Tamhane returns with this drama about a young Indian classical music vocalist who begins to question his guru, who also happens to be his father.

The Indian series coming to Netflix

'Aranyak' (Hindi)

Cast: Raveena Tandon, Parambrata Chatterjee, Ashutosh Rana, Zakir Hussain and Meghna Malik

Director: Vinay Waikul

Tandon, best known for her glamorous Bollywood roles in the 1990s, makes her small-screen debut with this thriller. She plays a cop in a small town who must join hands with her city-bred replacement to hunt a serial killer.

Raveena Tandon plays a cop in her small-screen debut 'Aranyak'. Courtesy Netflix 

'Decoupled' (Hindi)

Cast: R Madhavan and Surveen Chawla

Director: Hardik Mehta

South Indian film and Bollywood actor Madhavan stars in this comedy series about a couple who continue to live together in the same house even after they've fallen out of love, all for the sake of their young daughter.

R Madhavan and Surveen Chawla in 'Decoupled'. Courtesy Netflix

'Delhi Crime' Season 2 (Hindi)

Cast: Shefali Shah, Rasika Dugal, Rajesh Tailang, Adil Hussain, Anurag Arora, Yashaswini Dayama and Sidharth Bhardwaj

Directors: Rajesh Mapuskar and Tanuj Chopra

Following its award-winning season one, the gripping series based on real-life crimes returns with new crime stories and challenges.

'Feels Like Ishq' (Hindi)

Cast: Radhika Madan, Amol Parashar, Kajol Chugh, Mihir Ahuja, Kymsleen Kholie, Bhavesh Babani and Simran Jehani

Directors: Ruchir Arun, Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, Ashima Chibber, Anand Tiwari, Danish Aslam, Jaydeep Sarkar and Sachin Kundalkar

This anthology series is themed around young love, with seven different warm and breezy stories about how cupid strikes in unexpected ways.

Tanya Maniktala and Skand Thakur in 'Feels Like Ishq'. Courtesy Netflix

'Finding Anamika' (Hindi)

Cast: Madhuri Dixit Nene, Sanjay Kapoor, Manav Kaul, Lakshvir Saran, Suhasini Mulay and Muskkaan Jaferi

Directors: Karishma Kohli and Bejoy Nambiar

Bollywood actress Dixit Nene leads this suspenseful family drama about a global superstar, wife and mom who suddenly vanishes without a trace. As police and loved ones search for answers to her disappearance, her perfectly crafted facade is stripped away, revealing hidden truths and painful lies in the life of a popular actress.

Madhuri Dixit Nene and Manav Kaul in 'Finding Anamika'. Courtesy Netflix

'Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega' Season 2 (Hindi)

Cast: Sparsh Shrivastava, Monika Panwar, Anshumaan Pushkar, Amit Sial, Dibyendu Bhattacharya and Aksha Pardasany

Director: Soumendra Padhi

The thriller about a group of friends who operate a phishing racket returns for season two where the stakes are higher and politics gets involved.

'Kota Factory' Season 2 (Hindi)

Cast: Mayur More, Jitendra Kumar, Alam Khan, Ahsaas Channa, Urvi Singh, Ranjan Raj and Revathi Pillai

Director: Raghav Subbu

Kota Factory, India's first black-and-white web series, revolves around the city of Kota – its students, people and academic coaching industry. The show depicts this universe through the eyes of Vaibhav, a vulnerable teenager, and captures the melancholic life of Indian students who prepare for competitive exams. In season two, Vaibhav moves on to greener pastures, leaving behind his friends and his love interest.

'Little Things' Season 4 (Hindi)

Cast: Dhruv Sehgal and Mithila Palkar

Directors: Ruchir Arun and Pranjal Dua

The first season of this show took a deep dive into the facets of young lovers Dhruv and Kavya. The new season explores a maturing love and the growing pains and adventures that come with it.

'Mai' (Hindi)

Cast: Sakshi Tanwar, Wamiqa Gabbi, Vivek Mushran, Prashant Narayanan, Raima Dev Varma and Seema Pahwa

Directors: Anshai Lal and Atul Mongia

Best known for her TV roles, Tanwar plays a docile wife and mother in her late forties who, following a personal tragedy, finds herself accidentally entangled in a web of white-collar crime and dirty politics pushing her into a world of violence that forever changes her.

Sakshi Tanwar in the series 'Mai'. Courtesy Netflix

'Masaba Masaba' Season 2 (Hindi and English)

Cast: Masaba Gupta, Neena Gupta and Neil Bhoopalam

Director: Sonam Nair

The series is loosely based on the lives of Indian fashion designer Masaba and her actress mother Neena. In season two, the two women – who also play themselves – take their careers, image, friendships and lovers in their own hands and look to turn everything around.

'Mismatched' Season 2 (Hindi)

Cast: Prajakta Koli, Rohit Saraf, Vihaan Samat, Taaruk Raina, Devyani Shorey, Muskkaan Jaferi, Rannvijay Singha and Vidya Malavade

Director: Akarsh Khurana

Based on the best-selling book When Dimple Met Rishi, about a genius coder and a hopeless romantic, season two sees fate bring the two together again and forces them to navigate the rough terrain of frayed friendships, new love interests, broken promises, academic stress and shocking rivalries.

'Ray' (Hindi)

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Gajraj Rao, Kay Kay Menon, Ali Fazal, Harshvardhan Kapoor and Radhika Madan

Directors: Srijit Mukherji, Vasan Bala and Abhishek Chaubey

Based on famous Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray's short stories, this series is made up of four curated stories full of thrills, twists and turns, and features an ensemble cast.

Acclaimed Indian actor Manoj Bajpayee stars in 'Ray'. Courtesy Netflix

'She' Season 2 (Hindi)

Cast: Aaditi Pohankar, Vishwas Kini, Kishore Kumar G, Shivani Rangole and Suhita Tatte

Director: Arif Ali, Avinash Das

The first season of this drama saw Bhumi, a naive cop, thrown into a high-stakes criminal investigation. In season two, she walks the dangerous line between siding with the police and the criminals..

'Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein' (Hindi)

Cast: Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi, Anchal Singh, Saurabh Shukla, Surya Sharma, Brijendra Kala and Arunoday Singh

Director: Siddharth Sengupta

In this dark thriller featuring a number of well-known names, a romantic simpleton finds himself torn between three things that matter the most in the country – money, power and love.

Shweta Tripathi and Tahir Raj Bhasin in 'Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein'. Courtesy Netflix

Indian comedy specials (various languages) 

Some of India’s top comedians will also premiere their specials. The big names include Kapil Sharma, Sumukhi Suresh, Aakash Gupta, Rahul Dua and Prashasti Singh.

Documentaries series to watch

A number of films and series from different corners of India will also launch this year. They include Crime Stories: India Detectives, which follows major criminal investigations in the South Indian city of Bengaluru from the moment the crime is reported to the capture of the suspects. There's also House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths, which explores the infamous Burari case, where 11 members of a family, spanning three generations, were found dead inside their home in Delhi.

A still from the documentary 'Indian Predator'. Courtesy Netflix 

Indian Predator will attempt to decode the minds of some of India's deadliest killers; while Searching for Sheela will follow Osho's controversial and sassy ex-secretary, Ma Anand Sheela as she returns to India after 34 years of exile.

The Indian reality series

Seema Khan, Bhavna Pandey, Neelam Kothari and Maheep Kapoor and will return for season two of 'The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives'. Courtesy Netflix

Returning this year will be season two of The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, with an all-access card to a world that most obsess over. Neelam Kothari, Maheep Kapoor, Bhavna Pandey and Seema Khan return  with some surprising new company.

A second part of the The Big Day, the behind-the-scenes views of fabulous Indian weddings, will also return.

There's also a new reality show, Social Currency, that pits eight popular social media influencers against each other and puts their "influence" to the test in the real world.