From cinema to television to streaming platforms, South Asians have been part of some of the most iconic projects — from Netflix’s Never Have I Ever and Indian Matchmaking to Bollywood classics such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Rangeela to diaspora gems such as Bend It Like Beckham and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle to masterpieces such as Jallikattu.
We’ve also interviewed and profiled some of the biggest movers and shakers in the industry, from Riz Ahmed, Mira Nair, Aneesh Chaganty, Vikramaditya Motwane, and Neeraj Ghaywan to Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and Aparna Shewakramani.
Why it matters: The Hindi film industry was technically founded in the Indian subcontinent only a year after Hollywood, in 1912. Yet, most media coverage of our rich contribution to cinema and television goes unexplored or reduces analysis to “representation.” We re-examine, report on, and review films or shows we might have loved earlier, the geopolitics of filmmaking and tv-making today, and where the industry is going.
The Celebrity Airport Photo: Candid or Contrived?
For Bollywood paparazzi, capturing stars come and go is less about good timing than you think.
Is the Bollywood Song Dead?
Indian music is seeing a significant shift from film songs to those of independent artists. For some, it’s about time. For others, it’s an existential threat.
‘Jubilee’ Review: A Dazzling Homage to the Dawn of Hindi Cinema
Vikramaditya Motwane’s ambitious series explores the style and scandal of Bollywood in post-Partition and post-Independence India.
Hanif Kureishi is Inspiring Optimism — From a Hospital Bed
The British Pakistani writer of ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ fame became paralyzed in 2022. His Twitter dispatches are now a symbol of hope.
‘Piku’ Reminds Us Not To Take Sh*t from the Patriarchy
The 2015 film about a widower obsessed with his bowel movements and his headstrong daughter shows us why we shouldn’t care about what society demands of us.
Padma Lakshmi on ‘Taste the Nation’ Season 2: “To Eat is Political”
We chatted with the food writer and TV host about how American food is immigrant food, why she doesn’t care about what the 1% eats, and what’s next.
‘Ponniyin Selvan: II’ Review: Come for the Epic, Stay for the Twisted Love Story
Aishwarya Rai and Vikram take center stage in the second part of the Mani Ratnam magnum opus about the Chola dynasty.
‘Polite Society’ Celebrates Brown Female Rage
Director Nida Manzoor and actors Ritu Arya and Priya Kansara share how they pulled off the hilarious ‘Get Out’-esque action comedy that dismantles South Asian tropes.
‘Indian Matchmaking’ Season 3 Tries But Fails to Modernize
It’s time to swipe left on the reality series that has yet to result in a single marriage and few successful matches.
Sima Aunty from ‘Indian Matchmaking’ Has Had Enough
For the Mumbai matchmaker and reality television star, today’s youth are too picky, too impatient, and too confused.
Salim-Javed: Strugglers, Screenwriters, Superstars
The story of Bollywood’s most successful writing duo is as masala-filled as the groundbreaking cinema they created.
How Bollywood Failed Parveen Babi
One of the highest-paid actors of her time is largely remembered through her lovers and by her illness. While others profited from her tale, she died alone at 51.
Zeenat Aman Was Never Just a Glamour Girl
The Bollywood icon is the zenith of celebrity Instagram with her radical honesty on social media. Those who are surprised are simply late to the party.
“Naatu Naatu” at the Oscars: A Cultural Triumph Gone Wrong
South Asians asked why there were no Indian lead dancers on stage. The Academy and the dance troupe responded with excuses.
Oscars 2023: All the South Asian Moments
This was a historic year with several wins, iconic presenters, and a musical performance many can’t forget.
‘The Namesake’: What’s in a Name? Everything.
The Mira Nair film based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, a rare love letter to Bengali Americans, explores how our most important parts are parts we didn’t choose.
Tan France on What’s ‘Next in Fashion’
The ‘Queer Eye’ veteran chats about season two of the Netflix design competition show, the future of South Asian fashion, and more.
Shakira Baksh is Much More Than “Michael Caine’s Wife”
The Indo-Guyanese model broke barriers in British film and fashion, yet the media too often reduces her to a particular actor’s spouse.
Merle Oberon, the Actor Who Passed for White
The first Asian to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar maintained a lie she would take to her grave. Who was she really?
‘The Romantics’ Evokes Nostalgia, But Lacks Nuance
The documentary celebrating 50 years of Bollywood studio Yash Raj Films has touching moments, but avoids deeper conversations.
‘Seinfeld’ Failed South Asians. We Watched Anyway.
The popular sitcom’s depictions of “poor immigrants,” India, and Pakistan were grossly racist. So why can’t we quit the show?
Why South Asians Love Jane Austen
Family, marriage, and class collisions. The British writer’s novels seem like the perfect subcontinental literary canon. But not for the reasons you might think.
Madhur Jaffrey, Always the Perfectionist
The chef, actor, and writer showed the West that Indian cooking was worthwhile and Indian women had bite. And she still has several projects up her sleeve.
Jemima Khan’s So-Called ‘Love Letter’ to Pakistan
While married to Imran Khan, the British socialite was reviled and beloved. With a new film about her time in her adopted country, where does she stand today?
‘Pathaan’ Marks Shah Rukh Khan’s Glorious Return
The star-driven action flick is well worth the wait. Deepika Padukone and John Abraham take it to the next level.
Camelback Ventures is Bringing South Asian Films to Arizona
State tax credits have spurred a $10 million evergreen fund to invest in South Asian projects in Hollywood, and bring them to the Grand Canyon State.
The Mindy Kaling Effect
The release of ‘Velma’ has reignited discussions about how the actor, writer, and producer portrays South Asian characters on screen. But what does the backlash say about us?
Opinion: Bollywood Nepo Babies Aren’t the Problem
While offering a needed conversation on privilege, the nepotism discourse in India’s film industries has grown stale. Rather, it demands a closer look at changing the system.
‘In Search of Bengali Harlem’ is a Pursuit of Belonging
The documentary follows Alauddin Ullah as he traces his family’s past to 1930s New York, where Black, Puerto Rican, and Bengali marriages created a culture of their own.
‘Moshari’: Why Bangladeshi Horror Always Made Sense
Director Nuhash Humayun chats about how he added Jordan Peele and Riz Ahmed as exec producers, turning the short film into a feature, and what’s next.
How ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ Became a Meme
The beloved 2001 Bollywood film, colloquially known as K3G, somehow has the right scene for all of life’s moments.
Why ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ Is So Legendary
The big-budget remake is one of the few Pakistani Punjabi films to break box office records. But will it open doors for more?
Raymond Ablack is Heating Up
The actor started on ‘Degrassi’ and made fans swoon in ‘Ginny & Georgia,’ ‘Maid,’ and multiple rom-coms — but he’s still getting used to it.
Cece from ‘New Girl’ Was Never Just a Sidekick
Celebrating over 10 years of one of the first Brown women who got to be hot, smart, funny — and a lead.
‘Four Samosas’ Review: A Quirky, Yet Familiar Watch
Ravi Kapoor’s film feels like wandering around your local Little India on a summer Saturday, and stumbling upon some hijinks.
How ‘Sort Of’ Season 2 Stays True to Itself
Season 1 of the comedy series took audiences by surprise. Now it has to live up to its own — very high — bar.
‘Welcome to Chippendales’: Where the American Dream Becomes a Nightmare
The true-crime series cleverly leans into the typical immigrant tropes before taking a dark turn.
‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ Season 2 Isn’t Revolutionary, But It Is A Riot
The Mindy Kaling sitcom won’t shock you — the delightful foursome are still making questionable decisions — but still makes for a laugh-out-loud watch.
The Messy Legacy of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
The West praised the 2008 film and showered it with Oscars, while many in India and the diaspora viewed it as poverty porn. Fourteen years later, its impact remains murky.
Justice for M. Night Shyamalan
The Oscar-nominated horror director is one of the most consistently bankable filmmakers. So how did he become a punchline?
How ‘Jab We Met’ Changed Bollywood Romance Forever
The 2007 Imtiaz Ali film broke the rules of Hindi cinema, creating a female lead with depth and a romance rooted in friendship. Fifteen years later, it remains the perfect rewatch.
The Rise of the Diwali Episode on American TV
Since The Office’s 2006 “Diwali” episode, many have tried — though not all have succeeded — in depicting the annual celebration.
How ‘DDLJ’ Went From Screen to Stage
The cast and crew break down what it means to change beloved elements of Aditya Chopra’s 1995 Bollywood blockbuster — but still keep its spirit alive.
‘Shantaram’ Is Yet Another White Savior Story
The TV adaptation of the controversial 2003 novel offers a new format but the same exoticization of India.
‘House of the Dragon’ Director Geeta Vasant Patel Breaks Down Episode 8
The “Lord of Tides” director discusses her favorite scenes, how she got the gig, and what’s next for the epic fantasy series.
‘Bride & Prejudice’ and East vs. West
Gurinder Chadha put a Bollywood spin on Jane Austen’s classic, adding a clash of Indian vs. American values and silliness that feels fun at best and outdated at worst.
Hasan Minhaj Gets Personal with ‘The King’s Jester’
The comedy star dissects his latest tour-turned-Netflix special, gets candid about what he keeps private, and addresses the allegations that ‘Patriot Act’ was a toxic workplace.
‘Ponniyin Selvan: I’ Review: Where Women Steal the Show
Bow down, because the queens have arrived.
‘Vikram Vedha’ Marks the Return of Bollywood Nuance
The remake of the hit 2017 Tamil film gives us delightfully meaty characters who go beyond good vs. evil.
Making Brown Skin Beautiful on Screen
Brown skin has always been beautiful, but with advancements in technology and more inclusive filmmaking, audiences in the West finally get to see it.
How ‘Joyland’ Got Made and Found Love
The Pakistani movie questioning gender norms and family expectations took six years to make. Now, it’s taking the festival circuit by storm.
Jameela Jamil Has Entered Her Villain Era
The ‘She-Hulk’ star opened up about the freedom of playing a supervillain and dealing with haters in real life.
How Love is Blind’s Deepti is Learning to Choose Herself
The reality television star went viral for walking out of her wedding. What came next redefined her approach to life, love, and happiness.
‘Gilmore Girls’ and Its Unlikely South Asian Fanbase
The intergenerational television series had some real “log kya kahenge?” vibes.
‘Brahmāstra’ Review: Powerful, Yet Fatally Flawed
The epic fantasy film starring Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt is the first of its kind, but disappointingly leans into tired Bollywood tropes.
The Beautiful Intimacy of ‘Monsoon Wedding’
Mira Nair’s 2001 film went beyond a picture-perfect celebration of the big Indian wedding to give audiences an honest portrait of an imperfect family.
No One Was Ready for ‘ABCD’
The 1999 film reflected the complexities of the diaspora, spelling out uncomfortable truths and depicting sexuality in a way that remains far ahead of its time.
Why the ‘Never Have I Ever’ Season 3 Finale Hit So Hard
We talked series co-creator Lang Fisher and star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan about Devi’s dilemma and the decision few viewers saw coming.
Meet the New Aparna
The breakout star of Indian Matchmaking Season 1 is back for Season 2 — this time, with a new approach to finding love.
How ‘Garm Hava’ Reframes the Partition Narrative
Instead of focusing on the traumatic events of Partition, the 1974 M.S. Sathyu film provides a searing look at what happened after.
How ‘Taal’ Took Aishwarya Rai to New Heights
The plot of Subhash Ghai’s 1999 film was nothing new. The killer soundtrack and a rising star made it a global sensation.
Stick With ‘Never Have I Ever’ Season 3
While the new season initially feels formulaic, the show ultimately evolves into something more profound.
‘Indian Matchmaking’ Season 2 is Still a Hate Watch
Sima from Mumbai is back, and so is the reality show’s narrow depiction of India’s matchmaking industry.
The Fierceness of Poorna Jagannathan
We talked to the star about starting her acting career in her 30s, playing fearless women, and why she almost said no to ‘Never Have I Ever.’
Falling in Love with Suraj Sharma in ‘Wedding Season’
A decade after his debut in Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi,’ the actor is back in lead roles and says he’s found his “happy place.”
Alia Bhatt Refuses to Be Predictable
Critics dismissed her after her debut. Peers now call her the best actor in Bollywood. We chatted with the ‘Darlings’ star on how she pulls off powerful character-driven roles.
Pallavi Sharda on Why ‘Wedding Season’ Feels So “Rare”
“When I read the script, my eyes kind of popped out of their sockets.”
Hrithik Roshan and His Lucky Thumb
How one of the biggest Bollywood stars in the new millennium almost didn’t happen.
‘The Gray Man’ Wastes Dhanush (Review)
Fans were hyped for the Tamil superstar’s Hollywood debut, but the film doesn’t do him justice.
How ‘Ms. Marvel’ Put Partition on Screen
We spoke to the team behind the show’s episode on Partition — a historical event seminal to South Asians, yet rarely depicted in Hollywood.
Crying Along With ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’
How the beloved 2011 Bollywood movie turned a bachelor party into a sensitive portrayal of masculinity.
The Opulence and Arrogance of ‘Devdas’
Why did we love the Sanjay Leela Bhansali magnum opus with massive sets, expensive costumes, and overacting galore? We revisit the film on its 20th anniversary.
Emmys 2022: Notable South Asian Nominees
More than a dozen shows featuring South Asians — from ‘Ted Lasso’ to ‘Queer Eye’ to ‘Station Eleven’ – earned Emmy nods for excellence in television.
How Bollywood Fashion Went From DIY to Designer
Hindi films have long been a source of fashion inspo, but stylists — from Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi to Arjun Bhasin and Anaita Shroff Adajania — have changed the game both on- and off-screen.
The Evolution of the Bollywood Item Song
By definition, these dance numbers objectify women, but — in the hands of directors like Farah Khan or choreographers like Helen — they allow for an otherwise rare expression of women’s sexuality.
Freida Pinto Wants to Change Who is “Allowed” to Fall in Love On Screen
The ‘Mr. Malcolm’s List’ actor chats about Black and Brown love, what’s on her relationship checklist, and how Hollywood has diversified since ‘Slumdog.’
Nik Dodani is Making Hollywood His Own
Luck helped the actor and writer, known for ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and ‘Atypical,’ break into Hollywood. But he’s not leaving the rest up to chance.
The Evolution of Karan Johar’s Queer Eye
What has driven the filmmaker’s increasingly nuanced portrayals of LGBTQ characters?
‘Mr. Malcolm’s List’ is a Familiar Story, with a Refreshing Twist (Review)
The latest British period drama is the rare film whose romantic leads, Freida Pinto and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, are both people of color — but is it enough?
‘Chutney Popcorn’ Reimagines Family and Motherhood
Nisha Ganatra’s 1999 film about a lesbian artist who becomes a surrogate for her sister remains ahead of its time.
The Many Magical Lives of Kumar Pallana
The one-man variety show was born to be a star — but it took perfecting death-defying stunts, a chance encounter with Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson, and seven decades before Hollywood took notice.
In ‘Ms. Marvel,’ Culture and Faith are Superpowers (Review)
With the first-ever Pakistani American Muslim superhero, Marvel’s limited series flips the script on how Muslims and Pakistanis are depicted on screen.
Iman Vellani: ‘Ms. Marvel’ Made Me Feel Seen for the First Time
The Pakistani Canadian actor talks about going from Marvel superfan to star, the line that meant a lot to her personally, and acting alongside Fawad Khan and Farhan Akhtar.
Why ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ Gets Better With Age
The 2013 movie remains a friendly note to self that people, and friendships, change — and that isn’t always a bad thing.
The Complicated Love of ‘Love on the Spectrum’
The new season of Netflix’s docuseries includes a charming South Asian participant — but also a familiar and frustrating trope.
India’s Parallel Cinema Remains Unmatched
Govind Nihalani’s ‘Party’ was among a slate of films that used realism to challenge political power. Where are such movies now?
Northeastern Actors are Finally Getting Their Shot at Bollywood Stardom
Streaming platforms have led to more regional cinema, diverse storytelling, and long-awaited opportunities for northeastern actors. Will mainstream Hindi cinema follow?
Revisiting ‘Fauji,’ the Genesis of King Khan
Thirty years since Shah Rukh Khan’s silver screen debut, we reexamine the dreadful show with a star-making performance.
Kevin G. Was Ahead of His Time
‘Mean Girls’ used the mathlete and badass M.C. for comedic relief, but ultimately he gets the last laugh.
Meera Syal Refuses to Be Disappointed
The star of 'Goodness Gracious Me' and 'The Kumars at No. 42' brought audiences unapologetic portrayals of South Asian womanhood — and she's just getting started.
‘Beast’ Proves the Theatrical Timepass is Alive and Well
The hit Tamil-language film with superstar Vijay shows that Indian movies don’t need to be good to be a great time and succeed at the box office.
Parminder Nagra Should Have Been a Superstar
'Bend It Like Beckham' turned Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers into overnight celebrities. Why didn’t it do the same for its British Indian stars?
‘Roar’ Uses Outrageous Plots to Highlight Outrageous Truths
In Apple TV+’s new series, Meera Syal of ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ brings laugh-out-loud comedy to thought-provoking satire as the “woman who returned her husband.”
How 'RRR' and 'Baahubali' Raised the Bar for the Indian Blockbuster
Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli has achieved the Hollywood blockbuster effect — using large budgets for even larger box office payoffs — by turning Indian folklore and the freedom struggle into must-see epics.
The Queer Legacy of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’
The film bent the rules so that others could break them. We examine its impact 20 years later.
Simone Ashley on Who Gets to Be Seen as Sexy and Desirable
The Bridgerton star chats about shifting narratives, *that* haldi scene, and why she keeps her Kate Sharma-inspired playlist close to her chest.
‘Flee’ Humanizes the Trauma of Escape and Survival Like We’ve Never Seen Before
The Oscar-nominated animated documentary tells the harrowing real-life story of Amin Nawabi, forced to escape from Kabul, Afghanistan in the 1980s.
How ‘The Dropout’ Recasts Sunny Balwani as the Angry Brown Man
The new Hulu series generously gives founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes a back story while only villainizing her counterpart, who faces similar charges of fraud.
What Makes The Kashmir Files Controversial
The blockbuster film has repurposed the true story of the horrific mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits for political gain, fanning calls for violence.
Love is Blind’s Sita Aunty Shares Her Secret to a Successful Marriage
Shake’s mother, the dating reality show’s unlikely hero, explains her secret to a successful marriage (hint: it isn’t meeting someone on a reality show).
Bridgerton Season 2 Will Leave You Breathless and Screaming for More
Netflix’s highly anticipated Regency-era romance is back with new South Asian characters, but a familiar problem.
Charithra Chandran on the Bridgerton Moment that Made Her Tear Up
The 25-year-old British Tamil actor shares how the Regency-era show has accelerated inclusive casting, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, and more.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan on ‘Turning Red,’ Her First Disney Pixar Film
The actor, who plays Priya, shares how she approaches voice acting, why the mother-daughter bond is so special, and the importance of diversity in animation.
What Sarita Choudhury Wants You to Know About ‘And Just Like That’
The actor sat down to chat about her favorite scenes from the show, the Diwali episode, and how she never had a ‘Mississippi Masala’ for herself.
‘The Fame Game’ Gives Us Madhuri Dixit in All Her Glory
As Bollywood superstar Anamika Anand, the talented actor pushes back against the industry’s obsession with young actresses, setting our screens on fire.
Where Has Bollywood’s Romance Gone?
In these divisive times, love remains a mere blip — not the central character it once was — in most Hindi films.
‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’: Come, and Stay, for Alia Bhatt
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest movie, about the true story of a brothel matron in Bombay’s Kamathipura, is the first time he centers one star’s acting prowess. And we’re here for it.
Are Love is Blind’s Deepti and Shake a Classic Case of Internalized Racism?
The reality show’s Indian couple has lit up the internet after professing to previously dating only blond(e)s, their attraction fizzling days after their engagement.
‘Gehraiyaan’ Isn’t What You Think It’s About
The latest Deepika Padukone starrer from director Shakun Batra asks us what we carry with us, and what we’re willing to let go.
Lata Mangeshkar: The Voice of the Nation, In Good Times and Bad
Arguably the most decorated Indian singer of all time was also a witness to, and sometimes a participant in, the country's murky history.
We Deserve Better Than ‘And Just Like That’
Sex and the City’s highly-anticipated revival promised to be more inclusive and gave us Sarita Choudhury’s Seema Patel, but left us wanting more.
The Cricket Pitch as Battleground in Indian Cinema
If cricket in India is no less important than religion, then films like ‘83’ and ‘M.S. Dhoni’ have deified the sport and its players beyond reproach.
Bhutan’s Long-Awaited Oscar Entry is Simple, But Sweet
Pawo Choyning Dorji’s “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” — about “the most remote school in the world” — asks us what it means to be happy.
Opinion: R.K. Narayan’s Idyllic Malgudi Might Not Be Enough
The famed short story writer created a utopia that rarely mentions caste or politics. It is the place where we may want to escape, but not where we can live.
Aasif Mandvi Wants You to See Him as an Actor, Not a Comedian
The actor, writer, and future director chats about playing Ben Shakir in “Evil,” becoming a father, and why you can’t put him in a box.
It’s Time to Bid Bollywood Masala Films a Definitive Goodbye
The genre that once crackled with all the dramatic possibilities of mainstream Hindi cinema and united a country has devolved into divisive, repugnant storylines.
How Sri Lanka Became a Hollywood Filming Destination
When India says no or is too much of a hassle, the island nation has filled the void. But this trend has yet to lead to a boom in local film or film tourism.
In ‘Writing with Fire,’ Dalit Women Redefine What it Means to Be Powerful
The documentary is not just the story of the remarkable women-run media company Khabar Lahariya, but that of India's underserved Dalit communities, of news going digital, of press freedom.
Amrit Kaur of ‘Sex Lives’ Has Arrived, and She’s Not “Playing Around”
“I don't take it for granted that I'm lucky. But I have also worked a s*** ton.”
For The Great British Baking Show's Crystelle Pereira, Passion Means More Than Perfection
We sat down with the finalist to chat about focaccia, the one spice she can’t live without, why she didn’t kiss Mr. Spatula, and what’s next.
The Diluted Revolutionary: Bhagat Singh in Hindi Cinema
Shoojit Sircar’s “Sardar Udham” is the latest in a long line of Bollywood portrayals of the Indian freedom fighter, but the first to delve into his humanity and nuanced politics.
“The Cheetah Girls: One World,” 13 Years Later
The movie is a classic problematic fave: it used India as a mere exotic backdrop, but still gave us some of our first Indian crushes in U.S. television.
Bilal Baig's ‘Sort Of’ is a Love Letter to Brown, Queer, and Trans People
The queer, transfeminine playwright and performer is challenging the status quo with their latest CBC and HBO Max series — and not without a little bit of fear.
‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ is Horny, Hilarious, and Heartwarming
A solid cast and smart writing drives HBO Max’s sharp-witted comedy, the latest project from Mindy Kaling.
The Trendsetting Legacy of India’s VJs
Their 1990s shows on music channels like MTV and Channel V were neither Doordarshan nor Bollywood, giving rise to indipop and lending “cool” to Indian youth culture.
‘Eternals’ Review: Come for the Action, Stay for the Humor
Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo is easily one of the highlights of the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Rise of Sexy South Asians on Screen
Brown actors like Simone Ashley in "Sex Education," Raymond Ablack in "Maid," and Punam Patel in "Special" are finally getting the sexy storylines they deserve.
Why the Role of Ali Abdul in “Squid Game” Matters
Anupam Tripathi’s character in the massively popular Netflix series may foreshadow an exciting future for global talent in K-dramas.
How Mughals Turned Into Hindi Cinema’s Newest Villains
From “Mughal-e-Azam” to “Jodhaa Akbar,” Bollywood has long been fascinated with the stories and extravagance of the Mughal empire. But in recent years, films have reduced the Muslim rulers to caricatured villains.
Why Kamal Haasan's “Hey Ram” Tries — and Fails — to Rewrite History
In the daring historical drama, the actor and filmmaker poses the question, “What if a man could be dissuaded from assassinating Gandhi?”
Opinion: Why I Hate Seeing Diversity on Dating Shows
Reality dating shows still feature a largely white cast who sideline contestants of color — emphasizing the racism we face while dating.
The Rise of Anti-Pakistan Bollywood
Patriotic movies used to evoke national unity. Today, films such as “BellBottom,” “Bhuj,” and “Shershaah” focus on settling scores with Pakistan.
In “Mogul Mowgli,” the Beat Breaks Down
In director Bassam Tariq’s first narrative film, Riz Ahmed’s Zed struggles with his immigrant identity and rap career while an autoimmune disease attacks his body.
How Mani Ratnam’s Terrorism Trilogy Stoked 1990s Nationalism
Though critically acclaimed, the director’s “Roja,” “Bombay,” and “Dil Se...” pushed jingoistic narratives that persist in Bollywood today.
How the Brown Mom Became a Diaspora Comedy Favorite
As South Asian entertainers — from Lilly Singh to Poorna Jagannathan and Pinky Patel — pay homage to Brown moms, can they overhaul cultural stereotypes without reinforcing them?
How “Harold & Kumar” Sold a Way Chiller American Dream
The stoner buddy comedy starring John Cho and Kal Penn changed the way Hollywood looked at “model minorities.”
Disney Channel’s “Spin” Makes Culture Clash a Thing of the Past
The network’s first TV movie to feature an Indian American lead says that it’s OK to be unapologetically cool.
The Enduring Love of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu
The Bollywood superstars remained devoted to each other over five decades despite personal tragedy, jealousy, and a secret second marriage.
In "The Green Knight," a Star is Reborn
The sweeping Arthurian epic sees Dev Patel going on his own coming-of-age quest to become a new kind of leading man.
The Ordinary Charm of the Extraordinary Hrishikesh Mukherjee
The pioneer of playful films that spotlighted India’s emerging middle-class passed away before he could see a resurgence of the very genre he had mastered.
How Bollywood Failed Kashmir
Hindi cinema has long viewed Kashmir through a glossy lens, erasing its people, their agency, and their political histories.
Why “Delhi Belly” Remains Bollywood’s Best Slacker Comedy
Ten years ago, Bollywood made a runaway hit about that period in your 20s when life goes to shit. No film has since come close to replicating it.
Opinion: Kumail Nanjiani and the Hollywood Gaze
Nanjiani is the latest to go through a physical transformation that seems like a requirement for Brown men in Hollywood to get mainstream roles.
Never Have I Ever Season 2 Lets Itself Down
The show’s second season struggles to shine as bright as its first. The writing does a disservice to the actors’ hard work.
“An Icon, A Star, A Diva”: How Priyanka Made Drag History
We talked to the reigning queen of “Canada's Drag Race” about her drag, coming out to her dad via the show, sharing gowns with Priyanka Chopra, chicken nuggets, and changing the world.
Why India Loves ‘Friends’
How a 1994 show set in New York became — and remains — a beloved comfort watch on the other side of the world.
‘Lagaan’: The Blockbuster That Almost Didn’t Happen
This year marks 20 years since Ashutosh Gowariker and Aamir Khan’s iconic film took the world by storm, and changed Bollywood forever.
“Fire”: An Inextinguishable Part of Queer Brown Cinema
The 1996 film was the first in India to portray two women in love. Some called it revolutionary. Others called it a war against Indian culture.
The Love, Life, and Legacy of Filmmakers Ismail Merchant and James Ivory
With “Maurice,” the duo changed how films depicted gay romance. Their production company would go on to win six Oscars, but their own love story remained a secret for 45 years.
Neena Gupta’s Time in the Sun
For decades, Bollywood relegated Neena Gupta’s talent to only supporting roles. Now, at 62, she’s finally getting her shot at stardom.
20 Films and Shows to Watch During Pride Month
From Bollywood to art cinema, these movies and TV shows celebrate queer characters and storylines.
Know Your Muses: The Queer Camp of Sridevi
The Brown queer community found camaraderie in Sridevi’s fun-loving but rebellious characters.
The Devolution of Journalism in Hindi Film
Bollywood’s ethical journalists are increasingly disappearing from the screen.
Screen Time with Aneesh Chaganty
The director of “Searching” and “Run” talks about diversity in Hollywood, producing “Searching 2,” and his love for Christopher Nolan and Hrithik Roshan.
The Visual Language of Satyajit Ray
On his 100th birth anniversary, a look back on how the filmmaker redefined Indian graphic design long before he changed how the world looked at cinema.
Zohra Segal: Begum Ballerina
A dancer, actor, and revolution all packed into one, Segal embodied carefree womanhood on and off screen.
"Swades" and the NRI Burden
The 2004 Shah Rukh Khan-starrer doesn’t show a glamorous diaspora, but rather, the political responsibility of returning home.
How Filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan Weaves Nuance into Marginalized Identities
Whether it’s caste, gender, class, or sexual orientation, the director behind "Masaan" and "Geeli Pucchi" dissects every theme with refreshing sensitivity.
How a Nepali Drama Deconstructs Male Ego
Filmmaker Khyentse Norbu’s latest, “Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache,” captures a man’s journey through the chaotic rift between the spiritual and the modern.
Charles Sobhraj: The Serpent Who Charmed India
The BBC-Netflix co-production shows the serial killer for what he is: a cold-blooded escape artist and convicted international criminal.
How a 1990 Satyajit Ray Film Predicted the Future
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and increasing politicization of society, "Ganashatru" is loudly prescient.
Haseena Moin’s Wonderful World of Women
The screenwriter elevated the ordinary to capture the dream of millions of Pakistani women: freedom to be themselves.
Why Bollywood Loved — and Lost — Fawad Khan
It’s been over six years since fans have seen the iconic Pakistani actor in Hindi cinema.
The Oscar-Shortlisted "Bittu" More Than Delivers
A series of interlinked unfortunate events, rather than any malintent, leads to the tightly-woven short film’s ultimate climax and tragedy.
Helen, the Glittering Mehbooba of Bollywood
Draped in lace, rhinestones, and fur, Helen claimed and rebranded the archetype of a vamp.
“Bombay Begums” and the Missing Subtext
Billed as a feminist series, the Netflix show ends up serving standard Bollywood fare of wrongdoing and retribution.
Why Bollywood Queens Start in the South
For decades, Hindi cinema has been sourcing its leading ladies from the Southern film industries of India.
“Bhaji on the Beach” and the Magic of Communal Unlearning
Against the symbolic backdrop of the beach, Gurinder Chadha and Meera Syal’s film captures what a single fleeting day of freedom can do for Brown women.
In “Namaste Wahala,” the Villains Drive the Story
The rare depiction of Black and Brown love left us craving more romance.
Rekha, Amitabh, Jaya: A Silsila of Deprivation
Decades later, Bollywood’s most infamous love triangle seems even more tragic than we first thought.
Dissenting Cinema: Why India Censors Films
The Indian government has long been quick to censor content that poses a challenge to the reigning politics of the time.
Nisha Ganatra and the Whole Picture
The director behind 'Late Night' and 'Chutney Popcorn' forges masterpieces by centering the full lives of her diverse characters, not just their identities.
Why Nigeria Loves Bollywood
With its emphasis on family values and forbidden love, Bollywood has long been popular in Nigeria, influencing the country’s prolific movie industry.
What I Loved — and Loathed — About “The Big Day”
Turns out watching rich Indians talk about their “modern” multi-million-dollar weddings is less satisfying than you’d think.
How K-Dramas Crash Landed on South Asian TV Screens
The genre’s swoon-worthy romance, side-splitting comedy, treacherous villainy, and thrilling fight sequences are some of the many reasons Brown viewers are helping fuel the Korean drama craze.
Why Tillotama Shome Views Her Career as “Slow Cooking,” Not “Instant Noodles”
From playing the quiet Alice in “Monsoon Wedding” to the vibrant Ratna in “Sir,” the veteran actor has come into her own.
The Horny Sophistication of “Choli Ke Peeche”
Let’s take a walk down mammary lane and dissect the scandal and power that surrounded one of Bollywood’s most tastefully titillating songs to date.
How “AK vs AK” Forged A New Bollywood Genre
Vikramaditya Motwane’s new Netflix thriller — also a black comedy, an indictment of Bollywood, and a 108-minute-long inside joke — was seven years in the making.
The Biting Familiarity of 'The Great Indian Kitchen'
The Malayalam film from director Jeo Baby pulls stark cinematic beauty from the grim reality of one woman’s domestic life.
When Rang De Basanti Taught Us to Be Angry
The radical film — which turns 15 today — roused a generation, sending political shockwaves throughout India for years to come.
How Riz Ahmed Stretches Culture
The multi-hyphenate actor and musician consistently produces the deep cuts when it comes to Brown culture and history — and, now, he’s creating for himself.
Pursuing Happiness with Ravi Patel
We interviewed the comedic actor to find out how entertainment became a Patel family affair.
The Fabulous and Boring Lives of Bollywood Wives
The reality show offers neither a salacious escape nor an anthropological window into people we care about.
Hrishikesh Hirway, a Masterclass in the Interview
We interviewed the interviewer, asking the brains behind “Song Exploder,” “Home Cooking,” and “The West Wing Weekly” what makes him so good.
Music and Moonlight
In a culture where romance too often must be conducted in secrecy, the moon has come to symbolize the sole companion to love.
Kabul’s Lost Cinemas
The importance of preserving a movie theater, once a hub of Bollywood showings, goes far beyond just saving a building.
The Incredible Roar of 'The White Tiger'
Netflix's powerful and unflinching film lives up to its title — and Aravind Adiga's award-winning book.
The Best South Asian Films of 2020
In a year without theaters, films from the subcontinent and its diaspora still thrived.
Finally: Hamza Haq, a Brown Doctor in a Lead Role
The Pakistani Canadian actor tells us what it’s like to star in medical drama "Transplant," NBC’s sleeper hit.
Why We Love Sarita Choudhury
Nearly 30 years after her sizzling debut in “Mississippi Masala,” Choudhury plays the role of a mother in the latest Blumhouse horror flick with sensuality and aplomb.