Here at Pursuit, our UK team is always looking for ways to feel like we’re in India. We try wearing colourful patterns, doodling with henna, making egg rolls – and curry. We eat a lot of curry. And now we’re in lockdown, we find ourselves turning to our TV screens to get our fix of all the Indian colours, spices and sounds. So we asked the team and some of our RAMP young people for their top Indian film recommendations…

1. Lion

Stars: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman

How to watch: Netflix, or buy or rent online

The plot: A five-year-old Indian boy is adopted by an Australian couple after getting lost hundreds of kilometers from home. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

Why we love it: We recommend Lion to absolutely everyone. Saroo’s early story has close similarities with Raju, one of the young people we support, and really encapsulates some of the dangers for a child living in poverty. Plus a large chunk of it takes place in Kolkata, so you know we love it. 

2. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (and the sequel) 

Stars: Dev Patel, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and basically every brilliant british actor over 60

How to watch: The sequel is on Netflix, but you’ll have to rent or buy the first one online. 

The plot: British retirees travel to India to take up residence in the run-down but charming Marigold Hotel.

Why we love it: This movie (and the sequel) is the epitome of feel-good fun, and we think we could all use a bit of that right now. As the film puts it: “Everything will be alright in the end. And if it’s not alright, it’s not yet the end.” 

3. The Hundred-Foot Journey

Stars: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal

How to watch: Buy or rent online

The plot: The Kadam family leaves India for France where they open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory’s Michelin-starred eatery.

Why we love it: This one may not be set in India for much of the movie, but it is all about the FOOD. Plus Naomi really fancies Manish Dayal, and rightly so.

4.Life of Pi

Stars: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall

How to watch: Buy or rent online

The plot: A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.

Why we love it: Life of Pi is a story of hope and survival in spite of almost insurmountable circumstances (which is totally our thing). The visuals are spectacular, you’ll be debating about the ending for weeks and, with the tragic recent passing of Irrfan Khan, his role as the older Pi is more poignant than ever. 

5. The Man who Knew Infinity

Stars: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Stephen Fry

How to watch: Buy or rent online

The plot: The story of the life and academic career of the pioneer Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and his friendship with his mentor, Professor G.H. Hardy.

Why we love it: This is a true story of a man who battles against abject poverty, health struggles and the prejudiced realities of a Britain heading into World War One, to become one of India’s greatest modern scholars. Again, that’s so our vibe. 

6. Mary Kom

Stars: Priyanka Chopra, Sunil Thapa, Robin Das

How to watch: Netflix, or buy or rent online

The plot: A chronicle of the life of Indian boxer Mary Kom, who went through several hardships before audaciously accomplishing her ultimate dream.

Why we love it: A feel-good, feminist sports movie that’s based on a true story. And the movie was the first Hindi film to be screened on the opening night of the Toronto Film festival – we love a real-life, kick-ass heroine. 

7. Viceroy’s House

Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal

How to watch: Buy or rent online

The plot: The final Viceroy of India is tasked with overseeing the transition of British India to independence, but meets with conflict as different sides clash in the face of monumental change.

Why we love it: Although this film deals with historical elements in broad strokes, it is history worth knowing and it is brought home in excellent period-piece fashion with plenty of human interest to tie the whole thing together. Perfect for any Downton Abbey fan. 

8. Slumdog Millionaire 

Stars: Dev Patel (obvs), Freida Pinto, Irrfan Khan

How to watch: Buy or rent online

The plot: A Mumbai teenager reflects on his life after being accused of cheating on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”.

Why we love it: Come on, we had to talk about Slumdog Millionaire at some point on this list. Despite the reservations you might have about the title (which apparently Danny Boyle has said is a combination of “slum-dweller” and “underdog”), this film won the Best Picture Oscar back in 2008 but still has plenty of heartbreaking and uplifting moments 12 years on. 

9. Pad Man

Stars: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, Sonam Kapoor

How to watch: Netflix

The plot: Upon realizing the extent to which women are affected by their menses, a man sets out to create a sanitary pad machine and to provide inexpensive sanitary pads to the women of rural India.

Why we love it: This one was voted for by our RAMP young people. It’s in Hindi but with English subtitles, and based on a brilliant true story. 

10. The Sky is Pink

Stars: Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim

How to watch: Netflix

The plot: Based on the love story of a couple spanning 25 years and told through the lens of their teenage daughter, who was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

Why we love it: Another one chosen by the girls and guys in RAMP. Unexpectedly humorous, warm and heart-wrenching all at once, this is another true story told in Hindi but with English subtitles.