English films in India in India have gained immense popularity in last few years. These movies are mostly co-productions between Hollywood production houses and Indian producers. But the recent acceptances of such films by the audiences in the urban areas have motivated many Indian producers to make English films in India. With the increasing demand of such films, more movies in English language
are being produced in India.
In 1953, Merchant Ivory Productions, created the first English language film in India, `The Householder`, starring Shashi Kapoor
in the lead. This film had a story instilled in the Indian culture
and showed the way for several other such Indian themed movies in English.
The Silent Era of Indian Films
During the 1920`s, movies which were directed by film-makers like Himansu Rai
and Franz Osten like `A Throw of Dice` and `The Light of Asia` were English films, more so since they had their titles in English language. However, with the advent of sound, these directors decided to compose films in the Hindi language
English Films in India in 1980s
During the era of the New Cinema, Aparna Sen
`s `36 Chowringhee Lane
` (1981) was accepted widely, proving that there was audience for English Films in India. Later Pradip Krishen also made significant contributions into this field with his `Massey Sahib` (1986) and `Electric Moon` (1991). Both films deal with the theme of the British domination in India. The 1982 film, `Gandhi
`, directed by Richard Attenborough, also deserves special mention. Based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi
, the film was critically acclaimed through out the globe. Apart from this, `In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones`, was based on the screenplay written by Arundhati Roy
. Directed by Pradip Krishen, the film received two National Awards
English Films in India in 1990s
In 1994, the genre was again revived with Dev Benegal`s, English, August. Based on Upamanyu Chatterjee`s novel, the film stars Rahul Bose
in the lead and was widely accepted by urban audience. More such films were made during the 1990s, such as the highly controversial Fire (1996), directed by Deepa Mehta; `The Making of Mahatma` (1996) by Shyam Benegal
Boys` (1998), `Hyderabad
Blues` (1998) and `Rockford` (1999), both by Nagesh Kukunoor
; `Split Wide open` (1999) starring Rahul Bose and others. `Bombay Boys` directed by Kaizad Gustad was yet another important English movie made during this period.
English Films in India in 2000s
The nature of the English films in India had gone through a transformation during the 2000s. The films now represented multilingualism and multiculturalism that is prevalent in India. These films no more deal with the first generation settlers in the foreign countries. By now it is the second and third generation NRIs who undergo the cultural conflicts. This aspect is best represented in one of the popular movies, `The Namesake
In 2001, came `Monsoon Wedding
` (2001), a film by Mira Nair was set in a Punjabi household where a big fat Punjabi wedding is taking place. During this same period, English films like `Everybody Says I am Fine` (2001), `Mitr, My Friend` (2002), `Mr. And Mrs. Iyer
` (2003), `Freaky Chakra` (2003), `White Noise` (2004) and several others were released in India. Mitr, My Friend` (2002) deserves to be mentioned as it in a way reflects the cross-cultural currents. This was actress Revathy`s directorial debut. The film won international acclaims and was recognised for its brilliance by the National Awards.
The highly acclaimed, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002), directed by Aparna Sen, starred Rahul Bose and daughter Konkona Sen
Sharma in the lead. The film received a number of national and international awards. Aparna Sen quickly followed with another film, `15, Park Avenue
` in 2005, again with Konkona Sen Sharma in the lead. This film was also critically acclaimed and received many national awards. `Mango
Souffle` (2002), `Stumble` (2003), `Leela` (2002), `Hyderabad
Blues 2` (2004), `Morning Raga` (2005), `Bride and Prejudice` (2004), `Sins` (2005), `Water` (2005), `Mixed Doubles` (2006), `Provoked` (2007), `Parzania
` (2007), `Via Darjeeling
` (2008) and others are some of the popular and most appreciated English films in India of that decade. Amongst these `Being Cyrus
` (2006) starring Saif Ali Khan
, and `The Last Lear
` (2008), starring Amitabh Bachchan
, directed by Rituparno Ghosh
deserve special mention.
Film like `Delhi Belly` (2011) has raised the bar for English films in India. The film produced by Aamir Khan
Productions and starring Imran Khan
, Kunaal Roy and Vir Das is shot basically shot in English and has become a smash hit amongst the urban crowd in India. The film has been highly appreciated by the critics as well and it shows the future course of English films in India.