Gurinder Chadha

Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha
  • Born: January 10, 1960
  • Nationality: English
  • Profession: Film Director, Screenwriter

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Gurinder Chadha, OBE is an English film director of Kenyan Asian origin. Most of her films explore the lives of Indians living in England. This common theme among her work showcases the trials of Indian women living in England and how they must reconcile their converging traditional and modern cultures. Although many of her films seem like simple quirky comedies about Indian women, they actually address many social and emotional issues, especially ones faced by immigrants caught between two worlds.

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All my films are about kind of being seen to be one thing when you're actually something else, and the power of the female spirit to make things work your way on your terms. Which is what I do. Power ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
As I grew up, I always refused to cook Indian food very vehemently, and to this day, I don't cook chapatis at home. I'd always say, 'Why do I have to do it? Why don't the men do it?' Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Australians have a fantastic sense of humour and incredible taste. I was there for 'Bend It Like Beckham,' and I had a great time. Aussies loved it, and I think 'Bride & Prejudice' is going to do well, too, because it's all about having a good time. Time
Bollywood is a cinema of vibrant contradictions, which works when it seems it shouldn't.
Britain has nurtured me and made me able to make movies that have travelled round the world. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Constantly, I've been asked to make a sequel to 'Beckham.' However, I thought a West End show was the proper way to go. Once we made the show, I wanted to make sure that I embraced the West End genre rather than just put the film on stage.
DVDs have their place, but the cinema is a tangible, emotional experience that I would hate my children not to have.
For British cinema to survive, you really need a British film culture, and it's got to start down there, with young kids watching films in the cinema - so they can be transported to a different world.
I am not afraid to be a pioneer. When a door is ajar, you need to open it fully. And once you are in that room, you need to see what other doors there might be and where they might lead.
I can't stand films where parents are portrayed as old and doddery, and ignore their kids.
I knew from an early age that people didn't see the different sides of me. I formulated a kind of bi-cultural identity quite early, and I was always very comfortable with it, but I knew people didn't quite see that.
I know it sounds really weedy, but we are all children who seek approval from our parents.
I love 'I'm British But...' It's such a sweet, innocent, open-hearted film, and it has the sort of openness that I still aspire to with everything I do. It wears its heart, head, everything on its sleeve. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I really thought I couldn't be a mum. We had tried several times with IVF,, and it hadn't worked and we'd given up in a way. We both thought, 'You know what, that's that. It's not going to happen - let's move on.'
I remember a picture on the front page of the 'Sun' during the Brixton riots: a rasta guy with a petrol bomb, and a headline saying something like: 'The Future of Britain.' And I thought: 'Wow! Look at the power of that image,' and I wanted to get behind the camera to make these people three-dimensional. Future ;Power
I saw 'Billy Elliot' again, and what I loved about it was the way it had become a social document, a reminder of what happened with the mining communities in the '80s. And I thought, 'Everyone keeps wanting me to make a sequel to 'Beckham,' but maybe a musical remake is the answer, embracing all this theatricality.'
I tell stories about people audiences might think they have nothing in common with, then they emotionally connect with them and find they're not different at all.
I use humour a lot because humour is a great equaliser. Everyone laughs at the same things if you set them up properly, and that makes everybody equal. At the end of the day, I see my job as being there to entertain as well as inform and provoke.
I was a good Indian girl, but naughty in that I would often sneak out of the back door and into the garden and go off with my friends when I should have been at home cooking or cleaning.
I was a journalist when I made 'I'm British But...' I'd seen how important the media was in terms of defining Indians - after the riots in the '80s, I was like, 'Oh my God!' Religion & God
I went to L.A., and I was on two different studio movies at Fox and Sony, but they were never made in the end. When the second one wasn't happening, I ended up doing an episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are?' for the BBC, and went on a roots trip from England to Kenya, India, and pre-partition India in Pakistan, where my family originally came from. Families, Children & Parenting ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I'd come across a paper in an Indian feminist magazine about images of Indian women in the media, and something in me saw that it was all about how people see us. I already knew that from my childhood that people would see me and think one thing, but I always felt I was someone else. But this made me realise that I had to change how people saw me. Women
If I'm in a gathering of filmmakers, I'm first and foremost a British Indian; if I'm in a gathering of British Indians, I'm a woman director. There are so many sides to who I am that I change all the time. Time
If you tell me I can't do something, that's the worst thing to tell me. And that's what I tell girls, and what Beckham's about: you can do it, you can do it better, and you can do it in the way you want.
If you want to be a director, work with writers and find different ways of telling stories with film, then do a course. This way you can consolidate what you've learnt and use the course to go further. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I'm absolutely delighted because I'm part of the process that has made Asians very much part of the mainstream fabric of Britain, whereas, when I first started, we were completely on the margin.
Indian films never show cows. When you go to India, the most noticeable thing is the cows. Everywhere you look, there's cows walking around! Just by introducing the idea of animals - livestock walking around - suddenly makes it more real.
It's not simply that British films do well at the box office and generate revenue, it's that they provide a window to the world of what Britain and its culture is about.
I've been wanting for a long time to create a show which allowed me to show the British Asian community in a truly three-dimensional way, exploring the relationships between generations and what it means to be British and Asian as values become fluid. Time
My films do have a big following among young girls, and I want to instill confidence in them, a sense of self-appreciation - to make them feel they can be spirited and say what they feel.
My pregnancy was great, but the last three weeks were manic because my blood pressure was going up and up.
On the outside, America looks like this great melting pot, but on the inside, there's this segregation in American cinema. Why does a Latino film have to be for Latinos? Why is a black film just for black people? Why?
Once I started writing the screenplay of 'Bride & Prejudice,' I was convinced Jane Austen was a Punjabi in her previous birth.
One of the best things about the award season is that when a British film succeeds at the Oscars and BAFTAs, such as 'Slumdog Millionaire' in 2009 and 'The King's Speech' this year, the British public get right behind it with an immense sense of national pride.
One of the head guys at Disney categorically said to me, 'We don't want to make children's films any more. We want to make films that are going to appeal to all quadrants.' Hence you have films like 'Shrek' and all the Pixar stuff, which is designed to suit everybody.
One of the things I want to do with 'Desi Rascals' is go a bit deeper into the characters and their family lives and have a bit more heart and a bit more inter-generational story-telling, so it's not all about young people. Families, Children & Parenting
Our films have the ability to tell global audiences who we are, and this is something the government should feel compelled to protect. My film, 'Bend it Like Beckham,' for example, would not have been made without the backing and support of the U.K. Film Council. Government
Southall Broadway, in west London, has been a constant part of my life from the day I arrived in England as a baby from Kenya in 1962. My parents rented a room in one of the terraces off the Broadway, and I've seen it change from an ordinary English high street to what is now 'Little India.' with a confident Asian community. Life
The fact that it's hard to create an original British musical doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
The great thing about musicals is that they transcend race.
The more I make films, the more I feel less inclined to talk about them and just let people watch them. I feel that the pictures are telling the story, and I can't really add anything except just talking about the technicalities of what happened on the day.
The only time I used to feel like an outsider was when I first went to India. Time
There are very few people who are Asian who have the kind of global reach that I have, not just with Asians but with non-Asians. I've worked hard for what my name represents, my brand, not just in Britain but around the world.
Third-generation Indians love maintaining their cultural traditions, but they can also go down the pub, shop till they drop, do whatever anyone else does. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
'Up the Junction' really made me understand the power of cinema to create a vivid sense of a community. When I went on to make 'Bhaji on the Beach,' it was this sense I tried to recreate. Power
'Up the Junction' went on to inform my love of British social realism. It was the first film I saw of this ilk, a very stark, visceral reflection of England, an England I didn't necessarily feel a part of but that I knew was out there. You could almost smell the bread and butter and cabbage. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
'Viceroy' is the first British film about the Raj and the transfer of power from Britain to India made by a British Indian director. It is a British film made from an Indian perspective. Power
What's amazing about 'Desi Rascals' is that once you get over the all-Asian cast, what it seems to be mainly about is what everyone else is concerned about. Young people. Getting off with each other. Being embarrassed by your parents. Being hurt by romance. You'll watch it because it is entertaining, because it is moving, not because it is Asian.
When you're told that as a filmmaker of colour, the stories you want to tell aren't commercial enough, then you start thinking, 'I'm going to tell them anyway.'
Writing film scripts is the hardest thing in the world. A script has to go to five or six drafts, and you need the feedback of other people and to keep coming back with a fresh eye, honing it down.
You'd be surprised how hard it is getting the human emotional arc in a script to work. Ultimately a director stands and falls by their ability to do that. Work, Workers & The Labor Force