Crime Fiction Starter Pack: 10 Must-Watch Thrillers on OTTs

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Kaminey (2009)

Streaming on: Netflix 

Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey gave us yet another grisly look at Mumbai, but one that was distinct from how the city had been depicted in noir films of the past. Crawling in its underbelly are a motley group of ambitious small-time criminals, zealous politicians and beleaguered lovers.

The Gentlemen (2019) 

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video 

You can’t have a list of crime capers without a Guy Ritchie film. The Gentlemen is about Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), who was born into poverty before he won a scholarship to Oxford, dropped out and created a drug-empire through the illegal sale of cannabis and violence.

Lootcase (2020)

Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar 

What do you get when a middle-class man finds a suitcase filled with stolen loot? A Lootcase. If that made you involuntarily chuckle, the film’s sublimely daft narrative might just be up your alley. Nandan (Kunal Khemu) is an aam aadmi (common man) who believes that “hum logo ka sirf duty badalta hai, kismat nahi (For people like us, only our job changes, never our destiny)” — until a suitcase filled with Rs 10 crore falls at his feet.

Kaalakaandi (2018)

Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar 

Akshat Verma’s directorial debut Kaalakaandi is an irreverent cocktail of lust, greed and intoxication. Each of Verma’s madcap protagonists is battling an inner demon: The guilt of cheating on a doting fiancee, the horror of taking lives, and the deadly weight of greed.

Uncut Gems (2019)

Streaming on: Netflix 

Writer-director duo Josh and Benny Safdie are masters of orchestrating chaos. The Safdie Brothers allow their characters – lowlifes who win you over with their ugliness and vulnerability – to lead the screenplay, instead of the other way around.

Andhadhun (2018)

Streaming on: Netflix 

One of the most brilliant crime thrillers to emerge in recent years, Andhadhun has earned a well-deserved seat on many crime thriller lists. Here’s why: Writer-director Sriram Raghavan has a devilish mind and a deep, nerdy love for cinema.

Snatch (2000)

Streaming on: BookMyShow Stream 

Released a year after Ritchie’s hugely popular debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch is effectively the older film’s rowdier sibling. There is an ensemble cast, convoluted overlapping storylines and gory violence (there’s a drinking game here — one shot for each time a character throws a punch.

In Bruges (2008) 

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video 

Much like Martin McDonagh’s most recent The Banshees of Inisherin (2022), his debut feature film In Bruges has moments that are both touchingly sad and shockingly violent. The net result is a curiously human tale, granting its own meaning to the genre of a crime thriller.

99 (2009)

Streaming on: Youtube 

Writer-director duo Raj and DK’s first Hindi feature 99 had glimpses of the gloriously offbeat narratives they are known for today. The film revolves around two small-time criminals (Kunal Khemu and Cyrus Broacha) who are forced to work for a local bookie after they crash his Merc.

Super Deluxe (2019)

Streaming on: Netflix 

A boyfriend dies during the heat of sex, pinned under the wife whose husband will be home any moment. A transwoman meets her son, a boy who first knew her as his father. A horny teenage boy discovers a life-upending secret while watching porn.