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Ananya Padhihary

While 2020 saw the fast paced advent of OTT sector with many media firms and content companies joining the streaming TV bandwagon, 2021 ushered firm place for OTT in the entertainment landscape with larger and richer content. 

In the last 12 months of the year gone by, the streaming space brimmed with entertainment for every age, with dark and riveting series to light-hearted dramedies, but what made it truly special was several B-town divas who hogged the realm with their unforgettable performances.

From Sushmita Sen's return with Aarya 2 to Raveena Tandon's web debut, year 2021 delivered more than expected.

Reflecting on the year that has passed, here is a list of the top B-Town actresses on OTT in 2021 who enthralled and kept all glued to seats.

Kriti Sanon (Mimi): 

Heropanti actress Kriti Sanon chose to play the role of a surrogate mother in ‘Mimi’ with equal parts empathy and zeal, and the risk paid off as critics and fans raved the actress' performance. The film released on Netflix and Jio Cinema in July.

Pooja Bhatt (Bombay Begums):

Pooja Bhatt made her acting comeback after two decade hiatus with the Netflix show Bombay Begums. She portrays Rani, the CEO of a major Mumbai bank. On the show that explores various topics ranging from sexuality, harassment at the workplace, power politics in an organisation, and more, Pooja’s performance as a lady who is ready to tackle any problem with ease was well-received by critics and fans alike.

Raveena Tandon (Aranyak):

Raveena made her digital debut with the Netflix series ‘Aranyak’ and received immediate acclaim for her fearless portrayal of a cop named Kasturi Dogra. The actress played a realistic character: a female cop who manages her personal life, family, and career while drawing power from her femininity.

Samantha Ruth Prabhu (The Family Man 2)

In the Amazon Prime’s web series ‘The Family Man 2’, Ruth Prabhu's portrayed Raji, an unshakable Sri Lankan Tamil independence fighter on a suicide mission. Samantha had previously been in big-screen entertainers, often in glamorous parts or as the attractive girl next door. But with her OTT debut as Raji, not only did she surprise everyone, but she also garnered applause from the audience.

Sushmita Sen (Aarya 2): 

In the second season of her Emmy-nominated series Aarya 2 on Disney+Hotstar, Susmita Sen commands the OTT world with her performance of an intelligent single woman and simultaneously a guardian and a strong mother who battles the dark world of crime and criminals in order to protect herself and her children from unseen harm.

Sara Ali Khan (Atrangi Re):

The actress has been garnering love from all around for her portrayal of the character, ‘Rinku’ in the movie ‘Atrangi Re’ which released in December. Atrangi Re directed by Aanand L Rai, streamed on OTT platform Disney+Hotstar, starring Sara Ali Khan, along with two heavyweights, Akshay Kumar and Dhanush.

Taapsee Pannu in Rashmi Rocket:

Rashmi Rocket was not another typical underdog sports tale that Bollywood generally favours. Taapsee Pannu who has established herself as a leading actress in Bollywood, played Rashmi’s engrossing and intriguing tale of a female athlete who challenges patriarchy and gender politics in sports. Taapsee simply slipped into the skin of her character and received a lot of positive feedback from the audience.

Fatima Sana Shaikh (Ajeeb Daastans):

The actress Fatima Sana Shaikh, undoubtedly made an impact and she was praised for yet another outstanding performance of playing the character of a young woman stuck in an unhappy marriage in Netflix's Ajeeb Daastans. The story revolves around how she always struggles for love and attention and turmoil in her life after entry of a new young male into the house.

Nushrratt Bharuccha (Chhorii):

Following multiple triumphs in the romantic comedy genre, Nushrratt went a different path and astonished audiences and fans with her first solo feature film, ‘Chhorii’ which is official Hindi remake of the award-winning Marathi film 'Lapachhapi'. It marked the beginning of a new era for the actress, with spectators and critics alike praising her leap into a different genre and nuanced representation in horror. Chhorii film is the. 

Vidya Balan (Sherni):

In Sherni, Vidya Balan who stars as a upright forest officer in Amit Masurkar's ‘Sherni’ is always at war with ingrained patriarchy and battles tooth and nail for what she believes in. Even in the unsettling silences, the actress demonstrated she still got it and made an effect without theatrics.

Huma Qureshi (Maharani):

Huma Qureshi's performance in political drama Maharani, as a homemaker occupied with cattle-rearing chores and other humdrum of her house to become the Chief Minister of Bihar, was given thumbs up by audiences across the country. The series which is streaming in SonyLiv, depicts her incredible journey in the power ladder to become the most powerful woman in the state, much to the displeasure of the powerful men around her.

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