The trend of progressive web series appeals to anyone who looks for good entertainment, minus the melodrama. The best part about web series is that you don’t need a television – you only need your phone to watch these series on the internet anywhere and anytime. The available range of web-series offers too much to choose from.
With the short duration and limited number of episodes, the content is crisp and keeps you glued. Since they get over quickly you don’t have to worry about keeping up with them! There is a plethora of web-series out there, some great, some not so great. Here are a few, which caught my attention with their progressive approach and good content.
1. All about Section 377 (2016)
Director – Amit Khanna
Cast – Karan Arora, Ankit Bhatia, Madhu Anand Chandhock
The series is about a heterosexual man, Suresh, who leaves his house in Delhi and move to Mumbai for his acting career. He has to live with his cousin brother, Rohit, who is a famous photographer. Suresh is a homophobe, who struggles to live with Rohit and his partner Sid. Suresh’s journey through the series is his (and the society at large) misinterpretation of how ‘gay’ people are and how each of those perceptions are broken down as he understands each issue his brother faces.
The series is one of a kind. It deals with homosexuality with so much maturity and a great sense of humor. The misconceptions about homosexual people are broken down, one at a time, throughout the series. We are given an opportunity to understand homosexuality as an identity through Suresh.
2. The Good Girl Show (2017)
Director – Anu Singh Choudhary
Cast – Mahak, Carolyne, Tanya, Srishty
This story of four girls, living in a PG in North Campus, Delhi University. The series starts with a video gone viral, where four girls are relentlessly beating up three boys, that too ‘so late at night’! We are then shown the story of these four girls, how they met, their struggles and how their video became viral on the social media.
While I had the issues with stereotyping of the characters in the series, like the small town behenji from Bihar (Pooja), studious Manipuri girl (Meghana), the over-achieving Bengali girl (Deb) and the Partying Punjabi girl (Sam). I’d like to believe that they tried to put together four really different characters. We are shown their conflicts with each other, and yet how they stick together, understanding and facing a common problem: sexual harassment.
When we split girls into the category of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’, it usually involves judging them by their clothes, the time they are out of the house, choice of drink, etc. The series shows that these labels don’t matter. When a harasser harasses, it doesn’t matter to him if you were wearing Western or ethnic clothes or if you were drinking beer or lemonade. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone at any time, it is the thinking that needs to change.
3. Ladies Room (2016)
Director – Ashima Chibber
Cast – Saba Azad, Shreya Dhanwanthary
The two protagonists, Dingo and Khanna, are shown conversing with each other over different topics. Over six episodes, we see their struggles to grow up. Each conversation takes place in a different ‘ladies room’. The show starts in the washroom of a train, as the the two best friends take a trip to Goa.
The best part about the show is that it doesn’t try to provide you with a lesson. The comfort in displaying women’s sexuality and the autonomy over one’s body is a refreshing and welcome change! Their conversations are fun and quirky. They cuss, drink, smoke, party and think and talk of sex, not as sign of how “empowered” or “modern” women are, but just how some women are in their natural spaces.
4. Sex Chat with Pappu and Papa (2016)
Director – Ashish Patil
Cast – Anand Tiwari, Kabir Sajid, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Sanjeeda Shaikh, Alka Amin
This is the story of the Watsa family, where Pappu makes everyone uncomfortable by asking questions related to the subject of sexual and reproductive functioning and health. Papa tries to answer Pappu to the best of his ability. The episodes show the comical conversations between Pappu and Papa, and how Papa gets visions of the grandfather telling him to not give Pappu so much information and should just hush the conversation. However, Papa decides against this and has fruitful conversations with his son.
Pappu and Papa provide us with great examples, in order to to communicate with children. The use of analogies for describing topics like masturbation, pregnancy, condoms, periods, and homosexuality has been done brilliantly. While people are hesitating to talk about or censoring media when it comes to sanitary napkin or condom ads, this is a great attempt at starting a conversation around comprehensive sexuality education through popular media.