A scene from the film Million Dollar Arm

TEN SUCCESSFUL INTERNATIONAL MOVIES ACROSS
THE YEARS WITH A SUBCONTINENTAL CONNECTION

by ASJAD NAZIR

Hollywood continued to dominate the box office across India this year with high-profile films raking in huge numbers and beating Bollywood releases.

This includes movies that have been dubbed into various regional languages with voices of local stars. In 2019 alone, films including Avenger: Endgame, The Lion King and Spider-Man: Far From Home have trounced local films at the Indian box office.

This isn’t the first strong connection Hollywood has formed with India with many international films bridging the divide in different ways.

Here is a rundown of 10 successful international films through the years that formed a connection with India.

The Rains Came (1939): The big-screen adaptation of a novel of the same name revolves around a married aristocratic English woman who falls in love with a kind-hearted Indian man. The novel was later remade as The Rains of Ranchipur (1955), but in both versions non-Indian Hollywood stars played the lead Indian protagonist’s roles.

Gandhi (1982): The star-studded historical drama based on the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning eight, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor. The Richard Attenborough-directed drama clocked-up huge numbers, received critical acclaim and won a number of other prestigious awards.

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984): The successful sequel to the iconic film Raiders Of The Lost Ark starring Harrison Ford is an action-adventure set in the heartlands of India. Amrish Puri plays the memorable villain Mola Ram in a blockbuster seen as a cult classic today.

City Of Joy (1992): The British-French drama headlined by Hollywood A-list star Patrick Swayze, based on a novel of the same name, revolves around a disillusioned American doctor who travels to India and goes on a life-changing journey. The cast also includes acclaimed Indian actors Om Puri and Shabana Azmi.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007): The Wes Anderson-directed comedy stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman as three brothers who go on a journey of discovery across India. The movie features several big-named cameos and also stars British actress Amara Karan.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): The movie adaptation of 2005 novel Q & A revolves around a young man’s rise from the slums, to becoming a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. The Danny Boyle-directed film was a global superhit and won eight Academy Awards. It also gave a platform to the then film debutantes Dev Patel and Freida Pinto.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011): The British comedy-drama based on 2004 novel These Foolish Things has several Hollywood stars in the cast, including Dev Patel, Judi Dench and Bill Nighy. The smash-hit film about elderly British people moving to India spawned its successful sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015).

Life Of Pi (2012): Although the survival-drama based on the 2001 Yann Martel novel of the same name is predominantly set in the ocean, the heartbeat of the film was an Indian protagonist played by Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan. The visually-spectacular film clocked-up huge numbers and was nominated for 11 Academy awards.

Million Dollar Arm (2014): A film that perhaps doesn’t get the credit it deserves is a biographical sports-drama based on real events. Jon Hamm plays a sports agent who journeys to India to find baseball pitchers and successfully unearths two talents.

Lion (2016): The film adaptation of the novel A Long Way Home revolves around a lost young Indian boy who gets adopted by Australian parents and then as an adult goes on a mission to find his family. The deeply-emotional drama starring Dev Patel was a massive critical and commercial success.