After reading Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake," a East Indian film editor friend of mine informed me that this was going to be turned into a movie. This was to be directed by none other Mira Nair. If you haven't see a movie by her I highly recommend it. Her directing is so well done that watching her movies makes you feel like you are there.
Last year a friend recommended a book called, "Shantaram." It sounded interesting, and 900 pages later, it still kept me interested. Shantaram is not written by an East Indian author, but an Australian author, who bases his book on his real life experience. It a semi-autobiographical story about an Australian heroin addict who escapes from prison and arrives in Bombay (Mumbai) with a fake passport.
This books takes you through the real India, and while visiting Bombay last year, those scenes came back to me as I saw the slums of Bombay, ate at Leopold's Cafe (surprised that it really existed). I hope that Ms. Nair can re-create these scenes from the book as she did a great job in "The Namesake." So much so, I bought the movie.
Ms. Nair uses well named actors, such as Denzel Washington, Kal Penn, Tabu, Ifran Khan and now Johnny Depp. In Mississippi Masala Denzel Washington plays the leading man. Johnny Depp will be playing the main character in Shantaram. Unfortunately these movies are often over shaowed by the big "Hollywood" Industry types. These smaller independent films really bring out the acting ability to their best.
Brick Lane is also a story of an East Indian family, in London. Also based off of a book by Monica Ali. This discusses the life of the arranged marriage of a South Indian girl to a Indian man living in London. This is not directed or produced by Mira Nair.
So if you would like to take a break from mainstream hollywood, pick up one of these movies and discover another side to cinema. Happy movie going.