YD Favorite Movies

Do these movies strike a chord?

ABCD: American-Born Confused Desi (2013)

Directed by: Martin Prakkat

Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Jacob Gregory, Aparna Gopinath

Krutin Patel's award-winning film ABCD ("American Born Confused Desi") is the story of an Indian family living in suburban New Jersey. Madhur Jaffrey (Cotton Mary) stars as Anju, a widow tugging on tradition and reluctant to accept the mores of North American society. Her main goal in life is to see her two children get married to respectable Indian partners. Raj (Faran Tahir) and Nina (Sheetal Sheth) are polar opposites; Raj is the "good son," engaged to a devoted and traditional Indian girl; and Nina is the wild child, rebelling against her mother and all aspects of Indian custom, including only sleeping with white men. Both of their lives change dramatically when they find themselves attracted to the person who they least expected. With a mix of humor and poignancy, Patel presents a compelling look at the emotional consequences of growing up without a firm cultural identity.

American Desi (2001)

Directed by: Piyush Dinker Pandya

Cast: Deep Katdare, Ronobir Lahiri, Purva Bedi

College freshman Krishna Reddy, who has never cared for his Indian-American cultural heritage, looks forward to a new life on campus but is surprised to find that he has been assigned Indian roommates. Through his new experiences, he struggles to understand the side of himself he has always turned his back on in order to fit in.

Amu (2005)

Directed by: Shonali Bose

Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma, Yashpal Sharma, Brinda Karat

What starts out seeming like a standard back to the roots story, becomes a mystery of both personal and political implications in Shonali Bose s feature debut Amu. Amu is the journey of Kajori Roy, a 21-year-old Indian American woman who has lived in the US since the age of 3. After graduating from UCLA, Kaju goes to India to visit her relatives. There she meets Kabir, a college student from an upper class family who is disdainful of Kaju s wide-eyed wonder at discovering the real India. Undeterred, Kaju visits the slums, crowded markets and roadside cafes of Delhi. In one slum she is struck by an odd feeling of déjà vu. Soon after she starts having nightmares. Kabir gets drawn into the mystery of why this is happening particularly when he discovers that she is adopted. Meanwhile Kaju s adoptive mother Keya Roy, a single parent and civil rights activist in LA, arrives unannounced in Delhi. She is shocked to discover that Kaju has been visiting the slums. Although Kaju mistakes her mother s response to a typical Indian over protectiveness Keya s fears are deeper rooted. Slowly Kaju starts piecing together what happened to her birth parents and mother and daughter clash as Kaju discovers she has been lied to her whole life. What was the truth? Why was it suppressed? As Kaju and Kabir undertake this quest they both discover their families involvement with a man made tragedy of immense proportions which took place twenty years ago in the capital city of India: the massacre of thousands of people of the Sikh faith. In a searing climax the young people are forced to confront the reality of the past and how it affects the present.

Being Cyrus (2005)

Directed by: Homi Adajania

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia, Saif Ali Khan

He Sethna family of Panchgani consists of a retired sculptor Dinshaw (Naseeruddin Shah) and his wife Katy (Dimple Kapadia). Dinshaw's brother Farrokh (Boman Irani), their father Fardoonjee (Honey Chhaya), and Farrokh's wife Tina (Simone Singh) reside in Mumbai.It is at this time that Cyrus Mistry (Saif Ali Khan), the narrator of the story, shows up at the Sethnas' doorstep in Panchgani one morning, a seeming wanderer hailing from Jamshedpur who professes his admiration for Dinshaw's work and asks if he can be his apprentice. Dinshaw and Katy agree, and soon the young man becomes a part of their life. Katy makes advances towards Cyrus, which he tolerates while cryptically telling the audience that he is "playing Katy". As time passes Cyrus gets to know the oddball couple better - Dinshaw is a perpetually zoned-out eccentric, though a rather affable one, while the rather promiscuous Katy, tired of slow-moving Panchgani life and her moth-eaten marriage, has embarked on an affair with her brother-in-law Farrokh in Mumbai. Katy makes Cyrus her pawn, sending him to Mumbai to visit her father-in-law Fardoonjee, who lives in an extension of Farrokh's flat, with orders to get a stash of money Fardoonjee supposedly has. On meeting Fardoonjee, Cyrus realizes that he is ill-treated by Farrokh. Farrokh's timid young wife, Tina, is unable to be herself except during the few hours Farrokh is at work. She enjoys smoking, loud music and goes to hair appointments when Farrokh is gone.One day Katy convinces Cyrus to go and murder her father in law and Tina so that she can be with Farrokh. Unknown to Cyrus, Farrokh plans to kill him after the deed to close the loose end. Cyrus arrives at a time when Tina is coincidentally out for a waxing appointment. He feeds Fardoonjee his favorite dish and kills him immediately afterwards.

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Directed by: Gurinder Chadha

Cast: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Sometimes, to follow your dreams?you've go to bend the rules! Audiences and critics alike are cheering wildly for this "exhilarating?terrific comedy" (Entertainment Weekly) about a young girl who is torn between adhering to family traditions and attaining super-stardom on the soccer field. Hailed as the year's must-see crowd pleaser that "makes you feel good and laugh out loud" (Chicago Sun-Times), "Bend It Like Beckham" scores! (Time Magazine)

Bombay Boys (1998)

Directed by: Kaizad Gustad

Cast: Tara Deshpande, Naveen Andrews, Rahul Bose, Alexander Gifford, Naseeruddin Shah, Roshan Seth, Luke Kenny

Bombay Boys is an unorthodox Hindi comedy film written and directed by the Indian director Kaizad Gustad. It follows the adventures of three young men in modern-day Mumbai (or Bombay). The boys are of Indian origin, but were all raised in the West. Krishna Sahni is an aspiring actor from New York who wants to make it big in Bollywood. Ricardo Fernandes is from Sydney, Australia and is in Mumbai to search for his long-lost brother. Finally, Xerxes Mistry, a musician from London, is looking to discover his "roots" in the land of his ancestors.

Bride and Prejudice (2004)

Directed by: Gurinder Chadha

Cast: Martin Henderson, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Nadira Babbar

A clash of cultures in the spirit of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this modern musical retelling of Jane Austen's classic Pride And Prejuice is a hilariously entertaining tale of one girl's unlikely search for love! Sparks immediately fly as a love/hate relationship ignites between a small-town beauty (International star Aishwarya Rai) and a wealthy American (Martin Henderson- The Ring, Torque) who's visiting her modest Indian village! In a swirl of music, dance and comic misunderstandings, these opposites continue to attract and repel one another in a riotous romance, that spans three continents! Featuring Naveen Adrews (TV's Lost, The English Patient) and a memorable performance from top recording artist Ashanti- love will eventually conquer all in this acclaimed treat from the director of Bend It Like Beckham!

Dude, Where's the Party? (2005)

Directed by: Benny Mathews

Cast: Kal Penn, Sunil Malhotra, Prem Shah, Tina Cherian, Serena Varghese, Sunil Thakkar, Mousami Dave

Harishkumar S. Patel is a geeky student from a small village in Gujarat, India who is attending the University of Houston, while living with his uncle. His uncle, Dr. Bakshi, has an American-born son who's Hari's age, Mohan Bakshi. Mohan, known as Mo, is a popular student at UH. He shows Hari around the college but then stays away from him because of Hari's nerdy ways. Hari, meanwhile, is overly excited because of an astrological prediction that was made by a holy man. The famous astrologer told Hari that he'll meet his Sapno Ki Raani (the girl of his dreams) in America and her name will begin with a "P." Hari then meets Priya, a Malayali studying fashion, and falls in love with her. In the meanwhile, Mo falls in love with Janvi Valia, a Punjabi girl, but things don't go as planned when Mo invites Janvi to a party. This film is primarily a comedic portrayal of young Indian Americans going through life.

Freaky Chakra (2003)

Directed by: V.K. Prakash, Ziba Bhagwagar

Cast: Deepti Naval, Ranvir Shorey, Sachin Khedekar

The film is set inside the writer's imagination. That's where he imagines this apartment complex. Where reside the characters of his imagination. He builds characters as he goes and creates situations where he wants his story to go. In this fun filled film the most fascinating character is the slightly eccentric woman in the film. She's a beautiful 40-year-old single woman who is always in a highly temper. She has given up her profession as a doctor after the death of her husband and now decorates dead people for their funeral. The film progresses as the writer wraps us around his imagination and introduces us to many interesting characters. Then comes the hero. He is exactly what one would hope for he's everything that she is not. He's carefree, full of life, happy go lucky and he's young; the kind of youth that takes everything in his stride. He enters her life like a hurricane. And slowly takes over her senses. All the other characters slowly melt away. There's a profound togetherness and happiness. She takes everyone by surprise, more so herself. She is happy, he is happy, everyone is happy, no not everyone. The writer is in dilemma. The youth whom he created has gone out of his control and the writer has fallen in love with his heroine. Now the writer must somehow eliminate the hero from the story and the hero must somehow stay in the picture, it's romance, it's comedy, It's freaky...it's freaky Chakra.

Green Card Fever (2003)

Directed by: Bala Rajasekharuni

Cast: Vikram Dasu, Purva Bedi, Deep Katdare

Green Card Fever is the story of a young man in the United States who overstays his visa in the pursuit of a "Green Card". He naively muddles through an underworld of illegal immigrants, immigration lawyers and the INS, and the love of an American girl of Indian origin.

Heaven on Earth (2008)

Directed by: Deepa Mehta

Cast: Preity Zinta, Gick Grewal, Vansh Bhardwaj

Ludiana-based Chand gets married to Brampton-based Rocky Singh Dhillon and re-locates to Canada, to live with him and his extended family, consisting of his mom and dad; brother Baldev and his wife, Aman, and two children, Kabir and Loveleen. From the honeymoon stage itself, Chand gets physically abused by Rocky, and despite of bringing in $20K in dowry, she is immediately hired as a laborer even though she is a graduate and her wages are paid to her husband, and is not even permitted to call back home. Tenants occupy the house during the daytime, and the entire Dhillon family usually stay put in a shopping mall. Things only get worse after Rocky brutally assaults her in everyone's presence after she gets into a physical altercation with her mother-in-law. She manages to call back home wanting to return back, only to face discouragement, as her family want Rocky to sponsor her brother, Gurpreet. Things change dramatically after she claims she spotted Sheshnaag in the backyard, while her husband prepares to accuse her of having an affair with another male.

It's a Wonderful Afterlife (2010)

Directed by: Gurinder Chadha

Cast: Shabana Azmi, Goldy Notay, Sendhil Ramamurthy

Bend It Like Beckham's Gurinder Chadha steps into horror comedy territory with this caper detailing the murderous lengths a mother goes to while trying to find her daughter a husband. ...It's a Wonderful Afterlife

Marigold (2007)

Directed by: Willard Carroll

Cast: Salman Khan, Ali Larter, Nandana Sen

In a "bouncy Bollywood meets Hollywood romantic comedy" (BBC Films), Ali Larter stars as feisty B-list actress Marigold Lexton, who, stranded and broke in Goa, India, after financing flops on her low-budget film, lands a role in a musical to pay her way home. Eager to prove herself, she seeks famed choreographer Prem Rajput's (Bollywood superstar Salman Khan) guidance, and a whirlwind romance begins...until Marigold discovers Prem holds a powerful, inescapable past--and a future that holds no place for her.

Mississippi Masala (1991)

Directed by: Mira Nair

Cast: Denzel Washington, Sarita Choudhury, Roshan Seth

When Idi Amin expelled Asians from Uganda - Jay, his wife Kinnu and their daughter Mina move to Mississippi to live with a family members who own a chain of motels there. Kinnu obtains work in a liquor store and Mina works for the motel. Mina falls in love with Demetrius, a local African American self-employed carpet cleaner and the two families cannot come to terms with it.

Monsoon Wedding (2001)

Directed by: Mira Nair

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shetty

The rain is coming - and so is the family in this critically acclaimed celebration of life, love and laughter that Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune calls "sumptuously entertaining." You are invited to join the festivities as one colorful and eclectic family gathers from all over the world for a traditional wedding - a non-stop four-day celebration as unpredictable as the monsoon season itself. Anything goes when love, lust, hope and happiness take them by storm and bring them ever closer. With this family, when it rains, it pours. From award-winning director Mira Nair, Monsoon Wedding is an exhilarating film Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer calls "a banquet for the heart".

Morning Raga (2004)

Directed by: Mahesh Dattani

Cast: Shabana Azmi, Prakash Rao, Lillete Dubey

The story is set deep in the Andhra Pradesh countryside, in the West Godavari. Swarnalata (Shabana Azmi) is a classically trained Carnatic singer who lost her son and best friend, Vaishnavi in a bus accident. The story reopens after a period of 20 years, when Vaishnavi's son, Abhinay Prakash Kovelamudi, plans to leave his business of composing jingles with a desire to start a music troupe to compose an everlasting music just like the Charminar, and with these plans returns to his home in his village

Outsourced (2006)

Directed by: John Jeffcoat

Cast: Josh Hamilton, Ayesha Dharker, Asif Basra

See the film that inspired the series! Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton-Kicking and Screaming, The Bourne Identity) gets the bad news from his boss: his job has been outsourced. Adding insult to injury, Todd must travel to India to train his own replacement. Despite his struggle to navigate an office paralyzed by cultural misunderstandings, Todd finds his co-workers impossible to dislike - especially his friendly replacement Puro (Asif Basara), and the beautiful and opinionated Asha (Ayesha Darkher - Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the clones, Bombay Dreams). Through a series of hilarious misadventures, this charming, critically acclaimed romantic comedy reminds us that sometimes getting lost is the best way to find yourself.

The Mistress of Spices (2005)

Directed by: Paul Mayeda Berges

Cast: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Dylan McDermott, Nitin Ganatra

Tilo runs a spice store in San Francisco and has a magical gift of seeing into her customers' lives and desires. But, when a handsome, enigmatic American with a secret past enters her store, Tilo’s own desires are stirred for the first time.

The Namesake (2006)

Directed by: Mira Nair

Cast: Kal Penn, Irrfan Khan, Tabu

Adapted by screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala from the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, director Mira Nair's The Nameksake is populated by well-drawn characters and filled with memorable shots and engaging scenes. But in the larger sense, the film is a provocative look at the two sides of immigration: the adjustments faced by a couple who move here from a distant land, and the struggles of their offspring to reconcile their parents' traditional culture with their own distinctly American outlook. The tale begins in the late '70s, when aspiring engineer Ashoke Ganguli (Irfan Khan) and his new wife Ashima (the radiant Tabu) move to New York from Calcutta. Life in America is strange, in ways both good (the gas in their apartment stays on 24 hours a day! You can drink water straight from the tap!) and not-so-hot (New York's winters). But for their children, first son Gogol (a standout performance by Kal Penn, heretofore best known for the stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle), nicknamed for his father's favorite author, the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol, and then daughter Sonia (Sahira Nair), "the American way" is at odds with their folks' more conservative mores. Gogol (who later adopts his more formal first name, Nikhil) smokes dope, calls his parents "you guys," goes to Yale, and hooks up with a preppie white girl (Jacinda Barrett); for her part, Sonia complains that she wants to "go home" when the family returns to India for a visit. Only when tragedy strikes suddenly does the young man realize how totally alienated from his family he has become, prompting some major changes. There's nothing especially original about any of this, and even those who haven't read the book may sense that some of Lahiri's material has been lost on the way to the screen (the treatment of Gogol's marriage to a beautiful Bengali-American girl, played by Zuleikha Robinson, seems oddly truncated). But even while dealing with life's Big Issues (birth and death, marriage and separation, joy and misery), Nair has created a winning, intimate film that reminds us of the strength of family ties and effortlessly persuades us to care. --Sam Graham

The Other End of the Line (2008)

Directed by: James Dodson

Cast: Jesse Metcalfe, Sara Foster, Anupam Kher

True love is calling, but you never know whom you'll find on The Other End of the Line! When a beautiful customer-service operator in India falls for a charming American executive over the telephone, they're in for a serious case of mistaken cultural identity.


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