Shantaram and 9 other great TV shows and movies set in India

Years after the Sons Of Anarchy finale, Charlie Hunnam is back on the small screen, thanks to the Apple + series, Shantaram. This time it is an escaped Australian inmate trying to start a new life in Bombay, India. However, staying out of trouble turns out to be more difficult than he had anticipated.

For years, India has been a go-to location for the filming of film and television directors. But while most directors prefer to use the country for only a few scenes, others have chosen to keep most of the process there.

Octopus (1983)

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

Eager to find out more about him, MI6 agent James Bond follows an exiled Afghan prince to India in Roger Moore’s sixth release as the character, Octopussy. There he meets and falls in love with a wealthy businesswoman who leads a cult of mercenaries.

In most Bond movies, 007 normally jumps from one corner of the world to another, and if he’s to stay in one place for long, it’s always his home, Britain. Here, Bond can stay in a geographic location for a longer period of time, and as such, viewers are treated to everything related to India, from culture to beautiful scenery. Comedy is also a big part of the procedural, making Octopussy one of the funniest spy movies. And even if the script isn’t the strongest, the presence of one of the most iconic Bond girls makes the film a classic.

The snake (2021)

Stream on Netflix

Based on a true story, The Serpent follows scammer Charles Sobhraj as he gets rich by drug drugs, stealing and killing people. Soon a Dutch diplomat begins investigating his activities.

While Sobhraj has traveled around the world, the show travels to many places, but also features India. The criminal at the center of the series commits some of the most unthinkable crimes, but the miniseries isn’t just a project intended to glorify crime. For the most part, he is not afraid to criticize Indian celebrity culture. Through characters such as policemen and diplomats, he wonders why Sobhraj is idolized by some, despite the numerous crimes he has committed.

The best exotic hotel Marigold (2011)

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

In The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a retired British couple move to Jaipur, India, to live in their proprietary property in Jaipur, India. Upon arrival, they realize that the hotel is not as good as advertised.

Great actors make great films and, aside from a satisfying storyline, audiences are impressed by the incredible performances of veteran actors Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson and Maggie Smith. And the troubles of retirees arouse no mercy as every little misfortune is sweetened by a comic moment.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Stream on Paramount +

After falling into a river while on the run from a Shanghai crime boss, Indiana Jones finds herself in India in The Temple Of Doom. There he helps the villagers find a relic that has been acquired by an evil priest.

It’s the dumbest of the Indiana Jones movies, but that just makes it more fun. Audiences rarely get a chance to catch their breath, as an action or chase sequence simply follows one after another. The titular character’s chemistry with Indian characters is also strong, which is why Hollywood should never hesitate to choose different continents as settings.

Man Hunters (2005)

Stream on BBC iPlayer

BBC drama Manhunters tells the story of Rudraprayag’s famous man-eating leopard. The events are based on the memories of those who tried to stop the animals.

Manhunters is an exciting journey as it contains all the ingredients used in some of the best animal attack movies. From highly elusive predators to improvisation, there are several things that make it recommendable. And even though the events are based on true stories, creative liberties are taken to ensure there are no dull moments.

Leo (2016)

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

A 5-year-old boy is separated from his family after being adopted by an Australian couple. More than two decades later, he returns to India in search of his family.

Lion shamelessly rides on his emotional weight, thanks to the inclusion of many scenes capable of making audiences cry. The images are also jaw-dropping, with India mostly described as a paradise. All this makes the boy’s decision to go home even more justified. And the fact that he has received 6 Oscar nominations, including a “Best Actress” for Kidman, erases any doubt a potential viewer would have.

A Passage to India (1984)

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

In A Passage To India, things are quiet in the fictional city of Chandrapore, until a newcomer brings a rape charge against an Indian. The city is then divided between the British elite and the locals.

Being the person who made Lawrence of Arabia, one of the longest running films of all time, director David Lean has no problem with the assignment here. The events take place in a tense way on beautiful Indian backdrops. And while that happens, the issues of religion, racism and imperialism are examined. Peggy Ashcroft also delivers a powerful performance, making her one of the most deserving Oscar winners in history.

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Stream on Disney +

American sports agent JB Bernstein creates a company to revolutionize baseball. And in an effort to find new talent, he heads to India.

India is known for producing some of baseball’s best talent, but it’s something that’s rarely touched in some of the best sports movies. Million Dollar Arm stands out by recognizing contributions from other countries to some of America’s most popular sports. And Jon Hamm, along with his castmates, delivers shows of a lifetime.

Bride and Prejudice (2004)

Stream on Pluto TV

During a wedding, a young Indian falls in love with an American investor. If the title, Bride and Prejudice, wasn’t revealing enough, the story is adapted from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice.

For those tired of Western romantic comedies, Bride And Prejudice is a perfect alternative. In addition to love and laughter, he vividly addresses cultural differences. There is not even a dull moment. From group dances to elephant rides, there are many scenes designed to remind the viewer of the movie.

Chantaram (2022)

Stream on Apple +

In Shantaram, based on the novel of the same name, an Australian bank robber escapes from prison and flees to India to start a new life. There, new complications appear.

As this is still an ongoing series, any conclusion on Shantaram at this point would be premature. However, the first few episodes carefully addressed the problems of corrupt law enforcement and uncontrolled crime. Charlie Hunnam also brings his charm from Jax Teller and while fans are unlikely to see another Sons Of Anarchy, they can rest assured that there is a lot of entertainment here.

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