Female Filmmaker Friday: Gurinder Chadha, Director of "Blinded by the Light" Pays Tribute to Springsteen
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"I love that world where kids have one dream, and parents have another dream for their kids, and that area in the middle is where I like to create the drama."
Gurinder Chadha is an English writer, director, and producer who was born in Nairobi, Kenya. Her family moved to London when she was two. Her father eventually opened a family shop to earn money.
Always outspoken, Chadha wanted to work outside the family kitchen. After school, she took a job at a radio station, and eventually worked in television at the BBC. She went on to direct several documentaries, most revolving around British citizens with various origins, like herself.
After opening her own production company, Umbi Films, she directed and wrote a couple shorts before her first feature film Bhaji on the Beach debuted in 1993. The film was nominated for “Best British Film” at the 1994 BAFTAs. It was the first feature length film directed by a British Asian woman.
One of Chadha’s most celebrated films came in 2002. Bend It Like Beckham was the highest grossing British financed in the UK’s box office history at the time. It became an international success as well, being the only film to be released in every country in the world, topping box offices around the world, and winning awards and critical acclaim.
Today, her newest film Blinded by the Light debuts in theaters. The story of a Pakastani teenager, Javed, who falls in love with the music of Bruce Springsteen in 1987 Luton. Struggling to rebel against the life his father wants for him, Javed uses the songs of Springsteen to find himself amongst the chaos of young adult life. Getting a blessing from “The Boss” was a thrill for director, writer Chadha.
"I went, 'Hi Bruce, my name is Gurinder, I did 'Bend It Like Beckham.' I want to make a movie of this, please can you help us,'" Chadha recalled in an interview with CNN. "He sort of went, 'Sounds good.' And I thought, 'Oh my God, did that just happen?'"
But a big reason for her need to make this film now was when Brexit took place. The unleash of xenophobia around her in London upset her enough to want to tackle it in this story, along with a coming-of-age story about a boy’s love of music and his relationship with his father.
Blinded by the Light is in theaters today.