Independence Day Counter-Programming: The Best Overseas Indian Films

I am sooooooooooooo sick of Indian patriotism movies. At this point, it’s just lazy. It’s not even good movies, it’s just any old trash and then you throw in a flag and the national anthem and people will watch it. So I am doing counter-programming for Independence week! Movies about Indians who aren’t in India any more, and are happy about it. Centered around Independence Day itself when I will have a glorious festival of non-Indian movies about non-Indian desis.

Monday 8/12: Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (on Prime and googleplay and youtube)

A British shopgirl and fast-talking small businessman meet at a train station and romance in Southhall. I love this movie.

Image result for jhoom barabar jhoom

Tuesday 8/13: Ivide (available nowhere, sorry! I think I bought the last DVD in existence in the world)

A troubled adopted Malayali cop in Atlanta tries to balance his connection with his white mother and his Malayali roots while investigating hate crimes against the Indian community.

Image result for ivide

Wednesday 8/14: Ranam (on Hotstar)

A hyperlink story about a bunch of Malayali immigrants in dying Detroit, riddled with drugs and violence and no future.

Image result for ranam

Thursday 8/15: Bend it Like Beckham and Bollywood/Hollywood and Loins of Punjab (Beckham and Loins are on Prime and Googleplay, B/H is unavailable streaming but probably at your local library)

A coming of age story about a desi girl in England who just wants to play soccer; a humorous homage to classic Hindi love stories set in Toronto; and a farce with a heart about an Indian singing competition in New Jersey.

Image result for bend it like beckham

Friday 8/16: Dostana (only available on itunes for unknown reasons)

A comedy about what can happen when you are young and free and having fun in Florida, far away from the judgmental eyes of your Indian parents.

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Saturday 8/17: Jacobinte Swargarajyam (available on googleplay)

A story about a Malayali family who loves Dubai as their home and does whatever it takes to make it there, because it is where they belong.

Image result for jacobinte swargarajyam

Sunday 8/18: Befikre

Two young folks in Paris, trying to be French and Indian at the same time, and also simply themselves.

Image result for befikre

Plus various theme/analysis posts, and maybe I take another look at English/Vinglish and Kal Ho Na Ho from a new perspective, and also any other movies I can think of or that you suggest. I don’t want any Pardes type films, where it’s about the evils of the west and then you return home, I want the ones with characters who are happily (more or less) settled overseas. Can you think of any I missed?

26 thoughts on “Independence Day Counter-Programming: The Best Overseas Indian Films

  1. I found some movies about NRIs, but some of them are bad:
    Race – they have happy and wealthy life in south Africa
    Race 3 – I don’t have idea where they are living but they are doing quite good 😉
    Tum Bin 2 – NRIs from UK live happily in they community, fall in love, make business, help each other, in my opinion the best match
    Ae dil hai mushkil – what do you think?
    Jhootha Hi Sahi
    Salaam Namaste


    • Oo, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Jhoothi Hi Sahi, YES! Both are stories of young people choosing to live overseas because it is where they can have the life they want.

      On Sat, Aug 10, 2019 at 3:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. I’m so bored of BW in general. The patriotism movies are the WORST. And I am so angry that Akshay and John keep foisting 4 or 5 movies every single year on us poor folks. Akshay will find any jingoistic subject or woman’s story and stick his giant face everywhere on it. Cannot believe we have to put with the Akshay factory. Every month he seems to have a movie releasing and the requisite PR to go with it. There is no way to get rid of him. I can’t wait for the day he finally flops out and disappears. Please make it happen, universe.


  3. Not an Indian movie, but I thought an interesting aspect of Yesterday, the film based on the Beatles music. The main character is Indian living in the UK, but it is not focussed on his Indian-ness. He is just a regular English guy, with annoying parents, who could have been anyome’s annoying parents of any cultural heritage. It was refreshing to see an ethnic background portrayed as normal, not as some sort of ‘other’, and I hope for the future that non-Anglo actors get more and more work as they are not restricted to roles specifically about ethnic issues.


  4. This movie starts with an american flag and has been shot 95% in US, it is both liberal and conservative depending on the perspective, it will be intersting watch for you to checkout indian perspective US in 80’s.


  5. Neal n Nikki (!!!)

    Jaan e maan


    A Gentleman

    Patiala House


    Salaam Namaste

    ABCD – an American indie film made by South Asian Americans. Similar genre to Namesake and Joy Luck Club.

    Monsoon wedding – all the guests from abroad have no interest in remaining in India, they remain happilyy diasporan. Unlike most Indian films, where the diadporan visits India and has an awakening.

    Mississippi Masala – this unique movie involves the interplay between South Asian diasporans in America, south Asian Americans, and Southern Americans including African Americans. No one is truly interested in India, other than as an identity. Even when the parents “go back home”, they go back to Uganda (which is where they are from), not India. And the daughter is faced with the decision to continue life on her own (with Denzel!) in the American South or move with her parents to Uganda. An easy choice when you’ve got Denzel circa 1988, just off his groundbreaking Oscar win for Glory, offering you his heart and a life together. 🙂


  6. The ulimate NRI counter programming movie in Malayalam was the satire Varavelpu(Welcoming) about an NRI from Dubai returning to Kerala hoping to start a business here and everything he has to face from the attitude of relatives to local politicians to red tape to the hartals(a Kerala special) to being called a capitalist.He is forced to return to Dubai at the end.The movie was quoted in a speech by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpai when discussing why Kerala is such a business unfriendly state.I cant find a subtitled version but it is available for free in Youtube.


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