English-language Indian films

  (Redirected from English language Indian films)

English-language Indian films go back to the silent days. After the coming of sound, feature films in English almost disappeared. They reappeared in the 1980s, and have become increasingly common of late.

The Silent EraEdit

In the 1920s, films directed by Franz Osten and Himansu Rai, including The Light of Asia and A Throw of Dice, could be considered as English-language films because the titles were in English. With the coming of sound, directors such as Osten and Rai chose Hindi as the language, thus effectively bringing to a close this phase of English-language films made in India.

Crossover filmsEdit

An attempt to make English talkies in India named Karma failed domestically in 1933.

Indian crossover films appeared in Indian cinema with international productions with Indian themes, starting with Merchant Ivory Productions' first venture, The Householder (1963), which has an India story, setting with an Indian cast, which included, Shashi Kapoor, Leela Naidu and Durga Khote, followed by a number of India-themed films largely propelled by Indian-born producer, Ismail Merchant. However it took a while before an Indian director would commercially take up making films in the English language.

Indian productionsEdit

The first such film came at the peak of the Parallel cinema movement, when Aparna Sen directed 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981) to critical acclaim. Its lead actress, Jennifer Kendal was even nominated for a BAFTA Award. The genre was able to stand on its own with Dev Benegal's English, August (1994) which was widely accepted by urban audiences and became its first hit, drawing an audience of 20 million.[1]

This paved the way for other directors to look at using English language as a viable medium, like Nagesh Kukunoor who made Hyderabad Blues (1998), Kaizad Gustad, Bombay Boys (1998) and more recently Being Cyrus (2006) by Homi Adajania, and Rituporno Ghosh whose The Last Lear (2008), starring Amitabh Bachchan as the lead, won the Best English Feature Award at National Film Award.[1][2] Meanwhile, film directors of Indian descent, such as Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta and Gurinder Chadha, continued to make English-language films on Indian themes to international acclaim; this has opened up the genre further both creatively and commercially.[3]

In 2000s, Aparna Sen visited the genre again, and made two successive English features in Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002) and 15, Park Avenue (2005), which won a string of National Film Awards.

List of films (partial)Edit

Year Title Notes
1981 36 Chowringhee Lane
1989 In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones
1992 Electric Moon
Miss Beatty's Children
1994 English, August
1996 Fire
The Making of the Mahatma
1998 Hyderabad Blues
Bombay Boys
1999 Split Wide Open
2000 Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar
2001 American Desi
Monsoon Wedding
2002 Mitr, My Friend
Mango Soufflé
2003 Stumble
Freaky Chakra
2004 Hyderabad Blues 2
White Noise
Bride and Prejudice
Morning Raga
2005 Sins
2006 Being Cyrus
Mixed doubles
2007 Americanizing Shelley
2007 Parzania
2008 Via Darjeeling
2011 Delhi Belly
2013 The Dead 2: India
2014 Finding Fanny
2016 A Death in the Gunj
Carve Your Destiny under production

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b English is recast in Indian films The Guardian, 24 October 2008.
  2. ^ Move over Bollywood, Indian films in English are here IANS, The Times of India, 11 August 2002.
  3. ^ New Wave Cinema Beyond Bollywood: the cultural politics of South Asian diasporic film by Jigna Desai. Routledge, 2004. ISBN 0-415-96684-1. 195-6.