Secret Projects' Book and Film Review

Secret Projects' Book and Film Review

The Secret Projects team loves books and movies about our beloved India. Here is an ever-growing list of some of our favourites...



Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts 

We love this book and its sequel The Mountain Shadow! It is inspired by the author's experience of living in a Mumbai slum, and it really captures the multi-sensory experience of India. 


God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy 

This book is set in the Southern State of Kerala, where two of our Secret Project Maker Networks are based. It is not only a story of childhood and human relations, but also an important commentary on Indian politics, religion and the caste system. Roy's most recent novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has also got great reviews! 


A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth 

This love story is set against the backdrop of a newly independent post-partition India, perfectly melding personal lives and a great national event. It is at once funny and tragic. 


Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh 

This epic trilogy deals with the Opium trade between India and China. We love this series as it provides a snapshot of all the different cultures, religions and traditions that make up the Indian subcontinent. 


Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie 

This is the story of the children born at midnight in the first hour of India's independence from British rule. It is richly interwoven with magical realism, creating a real labyrinth of individual and collective histories. 


Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn 

 This book is an odyssey through Africa and Asia, along which we meet extraordinary women fighting back against oppression. Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. We love this book, as it shows how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls. This is what Secret Projects is all about: turning oppression into opportunity. 


Films and Documentaries  

Slumdog Millionaire 

Slumdog Millionaire follows the story of 18-year old Jamal Malik from the Dharavi slum, Asia's largest slum, as he is a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? This film really captures the extreme socioeconomic inequality that characterises Indian society.  



Kanchipuram or Kanjivaram Silk is a type of silk sari made in the Kanchipuram region in Tamil Nadu, India. These saris are worn by brides in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh. This Tamil-language film depicts the struggle and exploitation of silk-weavers in Southern India, and portrays the emergence of the communist cooperative movement that emerged to fight for silk-weavers' rights. We think it is an important film in bringing to light the plight of garment workers throughout the country. 



Dangal is in part a sports drama after Indian Olympic wresting, but also a social commentary on female oppression in India. Based on a true story, the films serves as a role model for young women pursuing male-dominated industries. 


Bandit Queen 

This film is based on a true story. It is about a woman who was divorced and disowned, later becoming the leader of a group of bandits. While it doesn't end well, it is a powerful portrayal of the harsh realities faced by many women living in India.



When 5-year old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of miles across India away from home and family, he must learn to survive alone in Calcutta, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.


Monsoon Wedding 

This film follows a modern and global sprawling extended family reunited for a wedding in Delhi. Indian weddings are huge and spectacular! And this is a funny and nuanced portrayal of a particularly chaotic one. 



This sweet romantic comedy makes an important observation about modern life! When an American businessman is told his company is moving its operations to India, he is told that he will be moving there to lead the project. While initially baffled by Indian culture, he eventually begins to appreciate his new surroundings and learn a lot about himself along the way. 


True Cost 

Filmmaker Andrew Morgan travels around the world to meet the people behind our clothes, exposing the human and environmental costs of the global fashion industry. This is a really important documentary to us all at Secret Projects, as a fair and sustainable fashion industry is a central goal of ours. 


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