Issue :   
December 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         December 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Dec' 2017


The bold and beautiful

Santosh Mehta

Gurinder Chadha Gurinder Chadha, the English film director of Kenyan Asian origin, is r e c e i v i n g brickbats for her cinematic version of the Partition of India in 1947 by the departing British in her latest film now running in India and elsewhere globally but banned in Pakistan. I met her recently, when she was in New Delhi to promote her controversial film.. In the film, she blames Britain's wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill for conspiring to divide British India into a Hindumajority India and a Muslimmajority Pakistan in order to ensure that Britain continues to retain a bit of its influence in this part of the world after losing India---the jewel in the British Crown.
Gurinder was originally planning to base her film on Freedom At Midnight , the international best-seller on India's Partition by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. But a chance encounter with Prince Charles at a charity event in London changed her plans. When she told him that she was planning a film on the Partition with focus on his grand uncle and India's last British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten, Charles advised her to read The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India's Partition by Narendra Singh Sunila, a little known Indian diplomat.
She promptly picked up a copy of the book the next day, and refashioned her film, which puts the blame for the bloody Partition on Churchill. British critics have slammed her for this and attacked her for trivializing history. But The New York Times lavished praise on the film.

But Gurinder is unfazed. As a child growing up in London, she noticed her grandmother reacting in horror to any kind of violence shown on television. The grandmother's trauma was because she fled to India from her home in Jhelum, now in Pakistan, to escape death. Then, as a reporter she visited her ancestral home in Jhelum, and was overwhelmed by the love and affection showered on her by five Muslim families who fled India during partition and were living in that home. It was then that Gurinder decided to do a film on Partition.
Gurinder has been a film director and screen writer since 1990. But it was the global success of her 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham that got her recognition as a British-Asian woman director of substance.
Married to Paul Mayeda Berges, she is mother of a son and daughter who happen to be twins. 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. Much of her work also consists of adaptations from book to film, but with a different flare. She is best known for the hit films Bhaji On the Beach (1993), Bend i It Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice (2010).

Lighter moments of life with friends Gurinder was born in in 1960 in Nairobi ,Kenya , , then a British colony. Her family was part of the Indian diaspora in East Africa. They moved to Southall, West London when she was two years of age. Her father faced much prejudice because of his appearance as a Sikh Indian, wearing a turban and having a b e a r d .
Eventually, the family opened a shop to provide the family with an economic toehold.
Many of her future films draw on her personal experience of being an Indian and English at the same time, and how she dealt with the duality of her identity. For example, she would not wear traditional Indian clothing, and she refused to cook for her family. She sat at the table with the men and was "extremely outspoken.
After starting her media career in radio in the mid-1980s, Gurinder moved into television as a BBC news reporter. She went on to direct award-winning documentaries for the British Film Institute, BBC and Channel four, and in 1989 released the documentary I'm British. Afterwards, she set up her own production company named, Umbi Films. Her first film was the 11-minute Nice Arrangement (1991) about a British Asian wedding. It was selected for the Cannes Film Festival Critic's section in 1991.
Issues of domestic abuse and male superiority are also showcased in the film, as one character and her young son are chased by her abusive husband and his family. Another character, who is expected to be a doctor by her parents and the local Indian community, becomes pregnant by a black classmate, which is a taboo in the community. The film was low budget, but received critical success for its take on racial stereotypes, immigration, and gender roles. In 1995, she directed Rich Deceiver, a two-part drama for the BBC, watched by 11 million viewers.
Bend it Like Beckham was the highest grossing British-financed, British-distributed film, ever in the UK box-office (prior to the success of Slumdog Millionaire. The film was a critical and commercial success internationally, topping the boxoffice charts in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and South Africa, and winning audience favourite film awards at the Locarno , Sydney and Toronto film festivals.
"Bend it Like Beckham" features a strong Indian-British woman, Jess, who tries to realize her dreams while maneuvering through her duties as a daughter of traditional Indian parents.
Although marketed to the United States as a "chick flick," it is regarded in Britain as an important post-feminist film that fits perfectly into the British progressive frame of 2002. Prime Minister Tony Blair even wrote a congratulatory letter to Chadha, saying, "We loved it, loved it, because this is my Britain."
Gurinder has received several H o n o r a r y Doctorates from B r i t i s h universities and was awarded an O.B.E. in the 2006 Queen's Bithday Honours List on 17 June 2006 for her services to the British film industry.
She is c u r r e n t l y c o l l a b o r a t i n g with composer A. R Rahman and lyricist Stephen Schwartz on Dreamworks Animation 's first musical set in India. She has announced an animated musical entitled Monkeys of Bollywood, based on the Indian epic Ramayana. The Bollywood-style animated musical is set in Mumbai and revolves around two monkeys.
She is planning to make part two to the hit romantic comedy Bend It Like Beckham, where she hopes the three main actors make a return. The film would be based on their successes, and a further development on Joe and Jess's love story.