I am often asked, in email and occasionally in comments, where to get a hold of the movies that I review here on Filmi Geek. I have been meaning to do a post setting forth some of the legitimate sources I use and know about. I live in the United States - those of you in other parts of the
world may not be able to get DVDs as inexpensively as I can. I am
afraid that I don't know as much about the DVD sources that people
outside of the United States prefer; perhaps some of you will
contribute that information in the comments. (Those of you in India can probably just go read something else!)
The good news is that DVDs of Indian movies are these days readily available, with English subtitles, from a variety of sources, either for rental or for sale. Nearly all of the movies that I have reviewed on this blog are available in subtitled DVDs from internet sources. The even better news is that DVDs of Indian movies - even legitimate, non-pirated DVDs - are very inexpensive. The slightly less good news is that even many legitimate DVDs are of mediocre quality; poor transfer, poor digitization, occasional skipped subtitles or unsubtitled songs.
Now on to some sources.
Your local masala shop. If you live in a major metropolitan area with any sizable South Asian population, chances are there is an Indian specialty grocer you can visit. I have three within walking distance of my home, not to mention dozens of others elsewhere throughout the city. Most of these shops carry DVDs for rental or for sale - usually mainstream and/or popular films. Quality can vary - rental DVDs can be abused in circulation, and some shops might have lower-quality pirates - but you'll usually do fine.
On-line retailers. My personal favorite, and the source of more than three-quarters of my collection, is the on-line retailer Nehaflix. Their prices and selection are very good, especially if you are an oldies fan like me. Toss in frequent sales and free-shipping deals along with an incredibly fast turnaround - orders are often shipped the same day - and it's easy to see why I tend to turn to Nehaflix first. All their DVDs are legitimate originals and the quality is as good as can be hoped. Another on-line retailer I have used is Eros - they are slower and not quite as reliable as Nehaflix, but they also have interesting sales, sometimes offering clearance DVDs for as little as 99 cents. I have heard good things about India Weekly, but I've not placed an order from them myself. Although some titles can be found on Amazon, I wouldn't bother ordering from them - all the Indian films in their catalog are actually sold through retail partners like Nehaflix, and you'll do better to eliminate the middleman.
On-line rental sites. The internet rental giant Netflix, which rents DVDs by mail, has a decent, and growing, selection of Hindi DVDs. There's also an all-Indian site, iTalkies, that works the same way as Netflix. iTalkies has a magnificent selection, and appears to be a good source for hard-to-find films that exist in DVD but are out of print; but I have not used it myself.
Libraries. If you live in a big city or a university town, your library may have a selection of Indian films. I've not used this resource myself but I know people who have had great success with it. Also I've been told that some libraries are receptive to purchase suggestions from library users.
Apart from those means for obtaining DVDs, there are a few other sources from which I regularly watch Indian movies.
The theater. If you live in a major metropolitan area with a sizable South Asian population, there may be a theater around that shows Indian films, if not continuously, than at least from time to time. Theatrical releases can be spotty in the US, limited to major releases from the big banner studios. One way to find out is to go to your local Indian grocer and ask. Another way, when you know that there is a major new release, is to search the internet for local showtimes for that film. If you can find out who is the local promoter of South Asian entertainment events, they may have a website announcing upcoming releases - like Aap ka manoranjan here in Boston.
Cable television. My cable network, Comcast, has two channels that show Indian films. AZN, which is part of our digital cable package, has a limited selection of South Asian films, many of which are not very good, that occasionally come into the rotation. ZeeTV, a premium channel, has a more diverse selection and shows about two movies a week. Other cable suppliers or satellite networks may have other channels that carry Indian films.
Jaman. Finally, the Jaman website (for which I am a writer and moderator) has a very good and growing selection of Indian films available for download. Jaman is a particularly good source of excellent art films - they have a great collection of titles from the NFDC, the Indian government agency that funds many art films - and the video quality is very good.
I hope that's enough to get you started - again, I apologize for the U.S. focus, and I hope folks in other countries will chime in and help out.