Photo Courtesy: Bridgerton / Instagram
Photo Courtesy: Bridgerton / Instagram
Ruhi Gilder 
Bridgerton lit up screens everywhere with the release of its second season on March 25. While it was praised for its grandiose sets that reimagined 19th-century London, Indians rejoiced at the show’s inclusion of their own culture. The female lead, Kate Sharma and her family are shown to have come from Bombay to London to marry into upper-crust English aristocracy. The show absorbs Indian traditions like a haldi ceremony, Kate’s disdain for British ‘tea,’ and of course, the soundtrack of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.  
Bridgerton is not the only international show which depicts Indian leads and characters. If you have binged the season and looking for more, scroll to see some other titles that have Indian-origin actors playing main roles.  
Bend It Like Beckham 
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
This is the OG diaspora film, a cult classic of the 90’s that needs to make it to the top of the list. Gurinder Chadha, a British director of Indian origin can always be counted on to make films that shine a light on desi characters in an international context. Anupam Kher, Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra star in this 2002 romantic comedy sports film. It follows an 18-year-old girl who is passionate about football but comes from a family of British Indian Sikhs who have forbidden her to play. Nevertheless, she makes her way to a local women’s team, and goes on to make friends, goals and even find a romantic love interest. 
Bride and Prejudice  
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Another Gurinder Chadha film, this one stars the stunning Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Based on Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Bride and Prejudice takes a multi-cultural turn and shows an Indian Elizabeth (Rai-Bachchan), an American Darcy, played by Martin Henderson and a British Bingley, aka Balraj. Watch for the fun songs and the Bollywood-style romance between the two lead characters, spanning all the way from Amritsar and Goa to London and LA.  
Family Karma 
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
A 2020 reality TV series, Family Karma chronicles the lives of Indian American families over three generations who live in Miami, Florida. It’s all about the balance that seven young American-born desis must emulate in their personal life, relationships and within their families. 
Watch on Amazon Prime Video 
Life of Pi 
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
An Indian family moves to Canada with their menagerie of animals, but on the way are victims of a shipwreck. Only one person survives, a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi Patel, played by Suraj Sharma and a ferocious Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. These two unlikely companions are stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean for 227 days. The film was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, and eleven Academy Awards. Out of eleven nominations, and won four, including Best Director for Ang Lee. 
Watch on Disney+ Hotstar 
Never Have I Ever  
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
While this Netflix original may be a fun watch, it has received criticism for its promotion of Indian stereotypes. It incorporates over-protective Indian parents, nerdy students, arranged marriages, mean aunties and stock portrayals of Indian festivals all in one. It has been described as a step forward for South Asian representation in mainstream shows. Watch Never Have I Ever for its friendships and high school drama, not for an accurate representation of Indian American life.  
Watch on Netflix 
Quantico  
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Priyanka Chopra Jonas started her journey to the West, aka Hollywood with this three-season show. The thriller drama television series showed the actress in the lead role as an FBI agent who becomes a prime suspect in a terrorist attack on Grand Central Terminal and must fight to prove her innocence. With this series, Chopra-Jonas made history as the first South Asian to headline an American network drama series. 
Spin 
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
This one is for the younger demographic, and follows Rhea, an Indian American teenager who finds her passion in creating DJ mixes that combine electronic beats with strains of Indian music. It traces Rhea’s journey to finding her beat amongst a hectic high school life, working in her family’s restaurant and her tight-knit family. Spin is an American Disney Channel Original Movie and stars the dimpled Abhay Deol alongside lead actor Avantika Vandanapu.  
Watch on Disney+ Hotstar 
The Hundred-Foot Journey 
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
A 2014 American comedy-drama film, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a gastronomic delight for all foodies. It has a cast consisting of Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, and Charlotte Le Bon, and the plot follows the rivalry between a new Indian restaurant established by an immigrant family and a fancy French Michelin star restaurant by a Frenchwomen. Set in a small French town, the restaurants are located hundred feet away from one another and the story sees this competition turn into slow respect.  
Watch on Sony Liv 
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Dev Patel stars as the manager of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, advertised as an exotic retirement home in India. An ensemble cast featuring Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson makes up this feel-good British comedy-drama film. A motley crew of senior citizens make this hotel their home and romantic relationships and friendships ensue.  
Watch on Google Play  
Victoria & Abdul 
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Photo Courtesy: IMDb
Ali Fazal plays the lead opposite Dam Judi Dench in this retelling of the real-life relationship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul Karim. It is based on a book of the same name and shows the close bond that the two shared. Karim is said to have been her munshi (secretary), a fact resented by the rest of the court, and the film shows Queen Victoria trying to protect her secretary till her dying breath. 
Also read:
Movies and TV shows with iconic fashion moments
LuxeBook recommends: Books and movies worth your while