This week we have a rich tapestry of grandeur, survival, black magic, journalistic undertones, unlikely romance and violence against women. The biggest release of all is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s spectacular Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar on Netflix, which explores the pre-Partition world of tawaifs (courtesans) in Lahore, who had a special social status and made significant contributions to India’s struggle for independence. Bhansali originally planned to make a film on the subject, but as the plot was too complicated, he decided to make a serial instead.

Next up is the second season of Sonali Bendre’s show about the media industry, The Broken News. This show exposes the face of today’s biased media that feed on sensationalism and conveniently ignore the ethics of honest journalism.

In terms of post-theatrical releases, we have the Mollywood blockbuster Manjummel Boys, which is based on a true incident where a young boy falls into a dangerous cave and is rescued by his untrained friends. We also have Ajay Devgn’s Shaitaan, in which a sinister man (played by R. Madhavan) performs black magic on a young girl and threatens her family to let him take her away. Both the films have enjoyed huge success and are still running in theatres.

For documentary enthusiasts, Prime Video has released a compelling documentary in which a gender activist embarks on a walking journey across India for over eight months to raise awareness against violence and abuse against women.

There’s also something for Hollywood fanatics. Oscar winner Anne Hathaway is the lover of a young musician in Prime Video’s latest original film, The Idea of ​​You.

List of the best OTT releases this week

With that, here are the best OTT releases we’re recommending this week. Happy binge eating!

Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar

When: Now streaming

Where: Netflix

Hieramandi takes viewers to the red-light district of pre-independence Lahore, where tawaifs (courtesans) were no less than queens and all the city’s bigwigs, such as the Nawabs, were sent to the area to learn etiquette and manners from them.

The series will introduce you to all kinds of tawais – seductive, rebellious, heartbroken, poetic, emotionally twisted, jealous, callous, patriotic and more – each with their own tragic story. Special emphasis was given to the often overlooked role of the Tawaifs in India’s struggle for independence.

Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali – who is helming a web series for the first time – has managed to keep his signature filmmaking style intact with lavish sets that boast grandeur and luxury.

The ensemble cast includes Manisha Koirala, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sonakshi Sinha, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Sharmin Segal, Taha Shah Badusha, Shekhar Suman, Adhyayan Suman, Fardeen Khan, Jason Shah and Indresh Malik. In addition to the numerous protagonists, the series offers an abundance of side characters.


When: May 4, 2024

Where: Netflix

The Rishis are a small and happy family of four: Kabir, Jyoti, Jhanvi and Dhruv. They are vacationing at their farm in a remote hill station when a mysterious man named Vanraj enters their lives bringing misfortune.

He offers Jhanvi a ladoo filled with black magic to hypnotize her, after which the poor girl begins to follow Vanraj’s instructions like a puppet. The wily man insists that the family give her to him or else he will continue to order Jhanvi to perform strange, bizarre and dangerous acts. The rest of the film chronicles Rishi’s desperate efforts to save her.

The spooky film offers plenty of scares and is the Hindi remake of the 2023 Gujarati horror film Vash. Shaitaan enjoyed a decent response at the box office and is still running in some theatres.

Breaking News Season 2

When: Now streaming

Where: Zee5

For those of you who haven’t seen the first season, The Broken News focuses on two rival news channels – one that believes in fair journalistic practices and the other a nationalist channel where sensationalism and political influence make the day. In the previous season, Amina Qureshi (Sonali Bendre) lost her cool when her protégé was thrown into an anti-national corner and decided to tread the path of TRP-obsessed journalists. This season shows Qureshi pushed to her limits and carefully portrays the various emotional and psychological layers of the wronged man. On the contrary, (Jaideep Ahlawat’s character from the nationalist channel begins to realize the monstrous impact of his deeds. The eight-part series is an adaptation of the BBC Press series and is available in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

The idea for you

When: Now streaming

Where: Prime Video

Anne Hathaway plays a 40-year-old single mother and art mogul who begins an unexpected romance with Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzin), the 24-year-old lead singer of a music group – whose performance she has accompanied her teenage daughter to. This unusual couple not only challenges the social mores of love, but also explores their polar opposite worlds. The heartwarming rom-com is an adaptation of Robin Lee’s 2017 novel of the same name. Michael Showalter directed.

WOMB (Woman Of My Billion)

When: Now streaming

Where: Prime Video

Gender rights activist Srishti Bakshi made headlines in 2018 when she decided to walk 3,800 kilometers from Kanyakumari to Srinagar to raise awareness about violence against women in India. Along the way, she spoke to students and community groups about what it means to be a woman in India. Produced by Emmy Award-winner Apoorva Bakshi and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the documentary also features testimonies from three survivors. Directed by Aditesh Sharma.

Manjummel guys

When: Now streaming

Where: Hotstar

Chidambaram’s Manjummel Boys took a major leap in the world of cinema by becoming the highest-grossing Malayalam film in history, surpassing the record set earlier in 2018. The super hit film revolves around a group of friends from an art club in Kochi, who leave a trip to Kodaikanal during the Onam vacation. Their vacation comes to an alarming halt when one of the friends falls into a dangerous ravine, leaving everyone in a panic. How the boy manages to save their friend surrounded by nothingness is the crux of the story. It skillfully explores multiple levels of friendship through the lens of a survival thriller. Manjummel Boys is based on a true incident from 2006 when a boy similarly fell into the Guna Caves and was bravely rescued by his friend.