From Panchayat To Kota Factory, Here’s How These 7 Brilliant Small Town Stories Revolutionised OTT

Small Town

A few years ago, before the OTT scene blew up in the country, small towns or rural places were rarely showcased as the main characters on our screens. It was similar to how Americans show Mexico through a sepia-tinted lens, stereotyped and outcast. But things have evolved, and so have the viewers with more places having internet access. Small-town stories are now the next big thing in the Indian cinematic space, be it digitally or theatrically. Laapataa Ladies or Chamkila’s success is the golden example of it on the movie radar.

Most of the viewers, especially those from smaller towns or rural areas, find these stories not just relatable or authentic; they also see their own lives reflected in the characters and situations portrayed on screen. The narratives of these series or films offer a departure from the typical urban-centric plots seen in mainstream media. They provide fresh perspectives on life, culture and societal issues, which can be both enlightening and entertaining for audiences. Not everything has to be dark and gritty in these places.


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Such stories have developed characters and diverse cultural settings, adding depth and complexity to the storytelling. Audiences are now more drawn to the vibrant personalities found in small-town narration. There’s also a case for escapism for many folks like me who hail from a small town, as these stories share a nostalgic appeal and a chance to explore the simplicity and charm of small towns.

Scroll down to bookmark some of the best small-town stories:

Kota Factory

A benchmark in small-town narration. This popular series by TVF set in Kota, stars everyone’s favourite Jitu bhaiya, aka Jitendra Kumar, and centres around the life of IIT aspirants. The story follows Vaibhav played by Mayur More, who goes to Kota from Itarsi intending to succeed in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and get into a prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). The new season is set to premiere on June 20.


The meme makers love it, the small-towners love it and so do we. Panchayat is a comedy-drama, which captures the journey of an engineering graduate Abhishek (again played by Jitendra Kumar), who for lack of a better job option joins as secretary of a panchayat office in a remote village of Uttar Pradesh. Stuck between crazy villagers and a difficult village lifestyle, Abhishek starts his job with the sole motivation of getting out of there as soon as possible, for which he even prepares for CAT.


Mirzapur is an action-thriller web series directed by Gurmmeet Singh and was created by Puneet Krishna and Karan Anshuman. The show follows the residents of Mirzapur as they go about their lives, through the charming pathways splattered with blood, and how the crimes that occur there impact their quality of life. Among the cast members of the series are Pankaj Tripathi, Shweta Tripathi, Divyendu Sharma, Ali Fazal, Vikrant Massey, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Rasika Dugal, Harshita Gaur, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda. Season 3 is set to premiere on July 5.

Maamla Legal Hai

A laughter-filled ride with Law codes and decorum. Chaos collides with the letter of the law in small town of Patparganj, where quirky employees work to uphold justice but not without a few objections. In addition to being humorous, it’s also charming and witty. This film, which was created and directed by Rahul Pandey, is a comprehensive mash-up of actual cases. It provides a peek into the actual cases and issues that the courts in the Hindi heartland handle.

Ghar Waapsi

Set in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, Ghar Waapsi follows the story of Shekhar (Vishal Vashishtha), who was fired from his work in Bengaluru and returns to his small town. His life is irrevocably altered as he reconnects with his family, revisits past experiences in the city and rediscovers himself.

Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega

In Jharkhand’s Jamtara district sits another criminal drama series, Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega. A dishonest politician who wants a piece of the lucrative business of a group of young, skilled phishers from a small town drives the plot. Ultimately, a newly appointed superintendent of police intends to take on everybody.


Gullak, which translates to Piggy Bank, is one of our favourite TVF productions. The series is a mix of endearing and empathetic stories about the Mishra family, a typical middle-class family, and is set in the charming alleyways of a Madhya Pradesh town.

Half CA

A gripping online series called Half CA is available to watch on Amazon MiniTV. It vividly depicts the complex and multifaceted path taken by students who want to become chartered accountants (CAs). The show explores the lives of these driven people and their unwavering pursuit of achievement against the difficult backdrop of the CA exam. Archi, played by Ahsaas Channa provides a distinct viewpoint on the stressful process of training for and pursuing a job in accountancy. The series offers a riveting array of people, each bringing their unique idiosyncrasies and problems to the table. Other cast members include Prit Kamani, Gyanendra Tripathi, Anmol Kajani and Rohan Joshi.

Also read: Dauntless, Daring, and Diljit Dosanjh, Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ Strikes All The Chords With Its Impeccable Storytelling

- Digital Writer


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