Ganesh Gaitonde. Hathiram Choudhary. Vartika Chaturvedi. They’re among the most memorable characters from Indian web series. The boom in streaming has delivered some incredible storytelling to our screens. A large part of the credit goes to writers for creating compelling characters and rich scripts. Here’s a quick list of writers whose web series work we admire.
Sudip Sharma (‘Paatal Lok’)
For screenwriter Sudip Sharma, an IIM-A graduate, it all began when he quit his regular corporate job. His debut film was called Superstar which released in 2008. Soon after, he worked on Players, followed by NH10 and Udta Punjab, both of which were successful. After working on Sonchiriya which released in 2019, he went on to write, create and produce one of the most popular web shows of 2020, Paatal Lok, which he created after being inspired by HBO’s The Wire. Read our review of Paatal Lok here.
Gaurav Shukla (‘Asur: Welcome to Your Dark Side’)
Did you know that the man behind the critically acclaimed series Asur: Welcome to Your Dark Side (2020) is actually a physiotherapy graduate? A penchant for thriller stories was what led to him writing one himself. Coming from a family with its roots in medicine, Gaurav Shukla always felt that forensics had never been showcased in a proper manner on screen. So, he wrote Asur: Welcome to Your Dark Side, to portray the constant conflict between religion and science. However, his first project was actually a short film called Vulture. In fact, when he was just 21, he wrote the script for the film that we all know today as Angrezi Medium (2020), marking his debut as a writer in the world of feature films.
Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti (‘Made In Heaven’)
Good things come in twos and it certainly holds true for this duo. While Reema Kagti (pictured above) made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed film Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd (2007), she quickly shot to fame as a screenwriter with films such as Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), Talash (2012) and Gully Boy (2019). Zoya Akhtar initially worked as a casting director and assistant director before directing and writing films herself. While her directorial debut was Luck By Chance (2009), she has co-written and directed other popular films such as Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Talash and Gully Boy along with Kagti. In 2019, the duo conceptualised the story for Made In Heaven, a popular and immensely watchable drama series on Amazon Prime Video.
Richie Mehta (‘Delhi Crime’)
Canadian writer-director Richie Mehta is a man whose first feature film Amal (2007) received more than 30 international awards. He also wrote and directed a science fiction drama named I’ll Follow You Down (2013), a Hindi film titled Siddharth (2013) and India in a Day, a feature documentary, produced by Google. Most recently, he wrote and directed the popular seven-part series on Netflix Delhi Crime, based on the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, which received extensive critical acclaim.
Varun Grover (‘Sacred Games’)
Stand-up comic, lyricist and writer, Varun Grover wears many hats with ease. He quit his job in a software firm to make his debut on television, as a writer on The Great Indian Comedy Show (2004-2006). He debuted in the film industry as a dialogue writer for Accident on Hill Road (2009) and worked as a lyricist in eminent films like Gangs of Wasseypur Parts 1 and 2 (2012) and Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015). He was then brought on to write the script and the lyrics for the critically acclaimed film Masaan (2015). Today, the world knows him for the hugely popular and successful Netflix series that he developed for the screen, along with Smita Singh and Vasant Nath, Sacred Games (2019). Read our review of season 2 of Sacred Games here.