Tag Archives: Bollywood Movies on Netflix

Streaming Video News: January 20, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with an exciting new addition to the catalog. The 2016 courtroom thriller Pink is now available for streaming. I liked it a lot. Other new additions this week include director Mira Nair’s 1996 film Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love and the 2015 Marathi movie Twisted Trunk, Big Fat Body, starring Bollywood’s go-to child actor, Naman Jain. For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.

I also made a couple of additions to my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime. While I don’t think these titles are new, I just found two more movies available for free with Prime (thanks for the frustrating catalog organization and limited search capabilities, Amazon!): the 2007 English film Partition — starring Smallville‘s Kristen Kreuk, of all people — and the documentary Despite the Gods, a terrific chronicling of the drama behind the making of Hisss.

Streaming Video News: January 6, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one new addition to the catalog. The 2016 true-crime drama Rustom is now available for streaming. The film’s glamorous 1950s costumes and decor are reason enough to watch. For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a new addition. Original Copy — a compelling 2015 documentary about one of Mumbai’s last movie-poster painters — is now available for streaming free with an Amazon Prime membership.

Streaming Video News: January 1, 2017

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with some exciting new additions to the catalog. One of my favorite movies of 2016 — Udta Punjab — is now available for streaming. It’s tremendous. Another highly anticipated addition to the catalog is Omi Vaidya‘s documentary Big in Bollywood. Also newly available for streaming are the movies Autohead (Hindi), Radiopetti (Tamil), and Saheb Bibi Golaam (Bengali), and the documentaries An American in Madras and The Rat Race. For everything else new on Netflix, check Instant Watcher.

Have a happy new year!
— Kathy

Streaming Video News: December 15, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with several new additions to the catalog. The 2015 Gujarati kite-flying documentary Famous in Ahmedabad joins the streaming service along with a trio of Pakistani television shows featuring cross-border stars Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan: Humsafar, Sadqay Tumhare, and Zindagi Gulzar Hai. For everything else new on Netflix, check out Instant Watcher.

Three Bollywood films will expire from Netflix in the next few days: Ishqiya (great!), Dedh Ishqiya (also great!), and Revolver Rani (not great).

Two big pieces of streaming video news came out today. First was the announcement of Amazon Prime Video’s expansion into India, including local content licensing agreements with companies like Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and T-Series. On the heels of that mega announcement, Netflix revealed a new three-year deal with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment to stream films like Dear Zindagi and Om Shanti Om across the globe. This is super news for Bollywood fans in India and abroad!

Streaming Video News: December 5, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with some excellent new additions to the catalog. The splashiest new addition is the 2016 hit Neerja, which I adored. Another big deal is the Tamil movie Interrogation (“Visaaranai“), India’s submission to the 2017 Oscars. Also new are the highly regarded Marathi film Sairat, 2016 Hindi indie The Violin Player, 2014 Marathi film 1000 Rupee Note, and the behind-the-scenes documentary Beyond Bollywood.

Netflix also announced the streaming debut dates of three intriguing documentaries. December 6 marks the release of One in a Billion, a film about Satnam Singh Bhamara, the NBA’s  first Indian-born draftee. 2013’s When Hari Got Married — a humorous look at an arranged marriage — joins the service on December 25. Then on December 31, I finally get the chance to see Big In Bollywood, the 2011 documentary about Omi Vaidya‘s rapid rise to fame following the release of 3 Idiots.

Interview with “Brown Nation” Star Omi Vaidya

Few Bollywood outsiders skyrocket to fame with their very first Hindi film, but that’s exactly what happened to Omi Vaidya when he played Chatur “Silencer” Ramalingam in the hit movie 3 Idiots. After a few years and several more Bollywood films, the Los Angeles native returned home to raise a family and resume his Hollywood career. His latest project is the Netflix comedy series Brown Nation.

Omi graciously answered some questions via email about Brown Nation and his documentary Big in Bollywood, which makes its Netflix debut in December. He also had lovely things to say about his Jodi Breakers and Players co-star Bipasha Basu, because, well, Omi’s just a doggone nice guy.

Kathy: How did you get involved with Brown Nation? Was it already a Netflix project when you came onboard?
Omi: “I met the director, Abi Varghese, in 2011 when my documentary, Big In Bollywood, won the audience award at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. We hit it off and in mid-2014, he approached me to play the role of Balan in a new sitcom he was creating called Brown Nation. This was an independent TV show with a cast of minority characters speaking in English, Hindi, and Gujarati and financed by private investors–not by a studio or TV company–which meant it may never have been picked up. But it also allowed the show to not be limited by the typical stories and cast of characters you see on American or Indian TV.”

Kathy: What do you like about the cast of the show?
Omi: “When I started shooting, I was astounded by the amount of talent that was on the set. The cast was selected over many months and the actors that were chosen perfectly fit the roles. Many of them also had a wealth of acting experience and some were veterans of comedy and improv. It’s really the level of talent that elevates Brown Nation to a great show you want to binge watch.”

Kathy: Where are you finding the best opportunities right now: India or America? Are you more partial to one storytelling format over another?
Omi: “I am finding great opportunities in both India and America. Both countries are having media revolutions in the kinds of stories they are telling, so it’s exciting to be able to partake in both! I especially like it when the lines blur between the two like they did in Brown Nation. I prefer the efficient storytelling and comedic sensibilities of Western cinema, however there’s an exuberance and excitement to Bollywood that you just can’t get anywhere else. Plus Bollywood stories hit on topics that can be more relatable to South Asians so there’s value in that as well.”

Kathy: After working steadily in India for a few years, what made you decide to come back to America when you did? Was there ever a time when you thought your career might keep you in India permanently?
Omi: “There was definitely a time when I considered living in India permanently. Fame and fortune can be very enticing. But moving to different country solely for career opportunity has its limits. After 3 years of continuous work in India, I had huge professional growth but little personal growth. That’s when I consciously chose to move back to America, because it is the place I was born, grew up, and understood more completely. Although I have a huge fanbase in India, most of my family is in America, and it’s a great place to raise my son who is now 16 months old. My wife, Minal, is also finishing her post-doc at the National Institute of Health. We have a great life, and I still get to do what I love. I strive for a well-rounded life where I am challenged everyday. So in that way, I am blessed.”

Kathy: Having worked in comedy in both the US and India, what do you see as the major differences in comedic styles/preferences between the two countries?
Omi: “I am making generalizations here and there are always exceptions. But in general, comedy in America can be more low-key and subtle and ironic,  while in India the jokes can be over the top and less sarcastic. India still has a rich tradition of using puns or wordplay in comedy or jokes being steeped in innuendo or double meanings. In America, pun or wordplay humor is not as common. Neither comedy style is superior to the other and both really reflect the audience tastes.”

Kathy: Apart from the classic 3 Idiots, which Hindi film are you most proud of?
Omi: “I’m somewhat proud of my work in Madhur Bhandarkar’s, Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji. Although it wasn’t a major hit, my story in the film was realistic and relatable and I got to play a Maharastrian–which is what I actually am! Using my own experiences and some of my mother tongue in the film was extremely satisfying and allowed me to cross an item off my bucket list. Actually, it’s made me add another item to that list: Someday act in a Marathi film!”

Kathy: What are the plans for the release of Big in Bollywood?
Omi: “Big in Bollywood, the documentary that shows my rise to fame in India, is releasing on Netflix by the end of the year. It’s the true story roller-coaster of a film that follows a struggling actor who hits it big, and the perils of a meteoric rise to fame. Please follow me on Twitter @omionekenobe to find out more about the film and it’s release date.” (Since our interview, the Netflix release date for Big in Bollywood was announced as December 31.)

Kathy: Bonus fangirl question: I love Bipasha Basu, and you’ve worked with her twice. Do you have any good Bipasha stories?
Omi: “Bipasha Basu is a great woman and person. Many of the actors in India come from film families, and therefore they come to the set with a chip on their shoulders, as if it’s their right to be famous and respected. But actors like Bipasha and Madhavan came from middle-class homes, and they have retained that modesty and down-to-earth nature. Bipasha has presented a strong, smart woman figure to young Indians who may be looking for someone to look up to. And she’s beautiful too! When we shot Players in the northern-most city in Russia, Murmansk, it didn’t matter who was a star or not. None of the cast was recognized by the locals. But it didn’t matter what restaurant we went to; all eyes went to Bipasha. Even if she dressed like a bum, Russian men would still try to make conversation with her. They would say, ‘You work in Bollywood?’ ‘I know Raj Kapoor!’ ‘Awara Hoon!'”

Thanks so much, Omi! Check out Brown Nation on Netflix right now, and watch Big in Bollywood when it debuts on Netflix on December 31, 2016.

Streaming Video News: November 22, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with several new additions to the catalog. Three Bengali movies by director Qaushiq Mukherjee, aka Q — Gandu, Ludo, and The Land of Cards (“Tasher Desh“) — join two of his Hindi titles already available for streaming: Brahman Naman and X: Past Is Present. Also recently added to Netflix is the new series Brown Nation. This 10-episode comedy about a dysfunctional New Jersey IT firm features Bollywood veterans Omi Vaidya of 3 Idiots fame and Delhi Belly‘s Shenaz Treasurywala.