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NRI Directors Who Returned to Become Filmmakers


The theme of the hero returning from a foreign country, back to his motherland, is a common theme in our films.

But what if films spilled over to reality?

Over the years, there have been many filmmakers who have returned from foreign shores, returned to their homeland to make movies in their native language. In a true sense, they are following Narendra Modi’s call to Make in India. If you look at them closely, each one has their own style of stories, narration and direction which looks like those neat whiskey bottles in the duty free shops. Here’s a list of filmmakers who are doing this.



In many ways, Shekar Kammula has become the face of independent Telugu cinema. Returning from the US after being trained at Howard University in filmmaking, Shekar Kammula took up the risk of giving up a comfortable life and making different cinema back in Andhra Pradesh.

Dollar Dreams initially struggled for a release, with Shekar Kammula paying for the first few shows from his own pockets. However, word of mouth publicity spread about the film, and the film picked up pace. For Shekar Kammula, there was no looking back.

He went on to make Anand, Godavari, Happy Days, Leader, and Life is Beautiful. Today, he is an inspiration to lakhs of writers and filmmakers.


He debuted with the movie Vennela, which was probably the first movie in Telugu that showed the life of our students in the US. After a gap of 5 years, it was with Prasthanam that he got critically acclaimed. Creating those characters which have those minute elements hidden within every individual, but actually cost us big, are his specialty. 

Additional qualities are to pen those thought provoking dialogues which simply leave you mesmerizing each time you hear them more and more. The famous Maranam..Maranam.. dialogue from the recent Bahubali is one such classic example.


He lost money for LBW (Life Before Wedding) because he couldn’t get a proper release, and also due to piracy. Though he lost money, piracy actually helped in people noticing his movie which actually helped him in releasing his next movie, Routine Love Story. Chandamama Kathalu is just an extension of his craft which won him a National Award for Best Telugu film. Guntur Talkies, his next film, is due for release and looks promising.


A diploma holder in screenwriting, Srinivas debuted as actor in Ashta Chamma where he also provided inputs for the script and still continues to do justice to the roles he is given. With the romantic comedy Oohalu Gusagusalade, he debuted as a director and went on to receive appreciation for his work. Incase you haven’t watched this movie, watch it right now. It is truly worth it! His next is Jo Achuthananda.

These are visionary filmmakers who took up a huge risk and chased their dreams. Not only did they find success in their passion, they also inspire aspiring writers and filmmakers to continue pursuing their dreams.

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