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 1920s, 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 Sens 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 throughout 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 in 1989.
English Films in India in 1990s
In 1994, the genre was again revived with Dev Benegals English, August. Based on Upamanyu Chatterjees 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, Bombay Boys (1998) by Kaizad Gustad, Hyderabad Blues (1998) and Rockford (1999), both by Nagesh Kukunoor; Split Wide Open (1999) by Dev Benegal and so on.
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 dealt 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 (2006) based on Jhumpa Lahiris novel.
In 2001, came Monsoon Wedding (2001), a film by Mira Nair, Everybody Says I am Fine (2001), Mitr, My Friend (2002), Mr. And Mrs. Iyer (2003), Freaky Chakra (2003), White Noise (2004), 15, Park Avenue (2005) and several others were released in India. The movie Mitr, My Friend won international acclaims and was recognised for its brilliance by the National Awards Jury. The highly acclaimed movie, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer and 15, Park Avenue, directed by Aparna Sen also received a number of national and international awards.
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 Kapur and Vir Das is basically shot in English and has become a smash hit amongst the urban crowd in India.
List of English Films in India
The following are the list of some of the English Films in India:
36 Chowringhee Lane (1981)
In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989)
Electric Moon (1992)
Miss Beatty's Children (1992)
English, August (1994)
The Making of the Mahatma (1996)
Hyderabad Blues (1998)
Bombay Boys (1998)
Split Wide Open (1999)
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (2000)
American Desi (2001)
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Mitr, My Friend (2002)
Mango Soufflé (2002)
Freaky Chakra (2003)
Hyderabad Blues 2 (2004)
White Noise (2004)
Bride and Prejudice (2004)
Morning Raga (2004)
Being Cyrus (2006)
Mixed Doubles (2006)
Americanizing Shelley (2007)
The Last Lear (2008)
Via Darjeeling (2008)
Delhi Belly (2011)
The Dead 2: India (2013)
Finding Fanny (2014)
A Death in the Gunj (2016)
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