English remains an important language in India, Britain’s largest former colony. Hindi, the tongue of the northern regions of India, is the co-official government language, alongside English. A number of other regional languages have tens of millions of first-language speakers. Each of these languages has its own cinema and own form of popular music. Because of the regional language differences, English is a major language bridge among Indians, especially for the middle class and the white collar workforce.
If you have ever seen a Bollywood movie, you know that many Indians sprinkle English words and phrases into conversations in Hindi or their regional language. This means that you can follow part of what's being said, even if you don't speak the language. Except in very rural areas, most people know at least basic English, and many Indians in cities throughout the country are fluent. The unusually rapid speed of speaking, the use of outdated British words and phrases, and an unusual accent can make English in India difficult to understand at first. However, once you become familiar with the nuances, you can go anywhere in the country and understand almost anyone.