Allow us to present a selection of our favourite golden-globe worthy films about India to get you warmed up for your next trip. Bursting with elegant palaces, bustling metropolises, vibrant culture and a kaleidoscope of colour: India is a filmmaker’s paradise. Not only for Bollywood but for Hollywood too!
1. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a feel-good film, and a solid favourite of ours and many of our guests. It portrays the story of a handful of characters from the UK who – looking for colour and excitement in their golden years – make the decision to retire in Jaipur, India. Alongside, the love story of young hotelier Sunny and his girlfriend, Sunaina, is inspiring. There’s a sequel too which admittedly doesn’t have the best plot ever but brings lots of the fun, laughter and vibrancy we loved in the first film. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel were shot in Jaipur and Udaipur, and many of the locations used can be visited on our tours if you fancy!
2. Slumdog Millionaire
The Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire needs no introduction. One of the most popular movies about India, chances are you’ve already seen it, but even so, we recommend giving this one another watch. The film has been criticized by some here in India who feel it dramatizes a negative side of India. Still, there is truth in what goes on in the film. This emotional rollercoaster of a film will break your heart in the dark streets of Mumbai, then lift you up with a great ending.
Lion tells the true story of a boy in India who gets lost on a train and finds himself hundreds of miles from home in an orphanage. The boy doesn’t remember where he lives, and he’s told there are too many lost children and too big a population in India to help get him back home. He is adopted by a family in Australia and grows up there, but he feels something is missing and, as a young adult, sets out to find his lost family. Lion is an emotional rollercoaster which we guarantee will have you bursting into (happy) tears!
4. The Jungle Book
The 2016 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book is amazing! One of our all-time favourite films about India, it tells the story of Mowgli – a “man-cub” raised by Indian wolves in an Indian jungle, ever since he was brought to them by the black panther Bagheera. Mowgli tries his best to learn the way of the wolves but a threat from tiger Sher Khan forces him to flee the jungle on a journey of self-discovery with the help of panther Bagheera and free-spirited bear Baloo. Did you know, most of the characters names are the Hindi word for that animal? Baloo, for example, means “bear” in Hindi and sher means “tiger”.
5. The Lunchbox
The Lunchbox is set in urban Mumbai and tells the story of a blossoming chaste romance between an office worker and a disillusioned housewife. The real stars of The Lunchbox are the dallawallas – hardworking delivery men on bicycles who delivery thousands of tiffin boxes from wives to workers across the metropolis with startling precision. It is said they make only one mistake in every 8 million deliveries and this charming film about India begins with that rare moment. You can check out the dallawallas in action on our guided tour of Mumbai!
This enlightening documentary tells of the importance of the rainy season to the people of India. It’s not just a wet time of year, it’s a huge deal for many people whose livelihoods depend on it. The first rain of the year is always a joyous time, and Monsoon depicts that deliciously with classic scenes and stunning cinematography.
7. Life of Pi
An exhilarating film about India, Life of Pi describes the relationship between a Bengal tiger and an orphaned boy lost at sea. The tiger (called Richard Parker) and the boy (named Piscine Patel) share a tiny lifeboat as they navigate the waters slowly and warily. There is a deep and unexpected twist at the end.
8. Bride & Prejudice
This vibrant adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic is Bollywood’s colourful take on the original. A refreshing, bite-sized commentary on India’s marriage etiquette told in English, the east-meets-west Bride & Prejudice is an easy introduction to Bollywood.
Mahatma Gandhi is regarded as the Father of India. Gandhi is a biographical drama telling his story; the story of how this pioneering activist leads India to its independence in 1947. It touches on the country’s most important pages of history and is an essential watch for those seeking films about India.
10. Eat, Pray, Love
Eat, Pray, Love illustrates the newly-divorced Elizabeth Gilbert’s quest of self-discovery that takes her to Italy, India and Bali. India occupies the ‘Pray’ aspect of the title, and this book-turned-movie has since inspired many spiritual seekers to follow in the character’s footsteps. Parts of the film were set at the Hari Mandir Ashram near Delhi.
If you’ve been inspired by our favourite movies about India and would like to get stuck into the planning of your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Rajasthan, please get in touch. As specialists in private luxury tours of this specific region, we are an expert choice to assist with your arrangements. Or, for further inspiration, you may like to check out our favourite books to read before visiting Rajasthan.0