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Gurinder Chadha brings Bruce Springsteen back!

August 24, 2019 12:50 IST

IMAGE: Viveik Kalra and Nell Williams in Blinded by the Light.

Grurinder Chadha couldn't be in a happier place. 

Taking a well-earned holiday with her family at a beach resort far away from the maddening crowd, the filmmaker celebrates the success of her new film, Blinded By The Light.

 

IMAGE: Gurinder Chadha and Bruce Springsteen and his wife.

"The film is a tribute to so many things, including the music of Bruce Springsteen, who was such an important part of my growing up years. Today at 70, he is still performing, singing, still a force to reckon with," Gurinder tells Subhash K Jha.

She was introduced to Springsteen's music at a young age by a friend, in the same way as it is shown in her film.

"I was handed Bruce's album Born To Run by a friend. What fascinated me was the image of white man with a man of colour on the album's cover. During those days, this kind of cultural solidarity was rare. I was immediately charmed by Bruce's music. He sang about the working class problems, the dreams and aspirations of fringe people. He sang about people like me. Today, he is as relevant to the generation represented in Blinded By The Light as he was to my generation," Gurinder says, looking proud to have Bruce Springsteen as her friend today.

"I love the praise that's coming the film's way," she adds. "But the ultimate compliment is that Bruce Springsteen loved it! The film was inspired by his music and his approval meant the world to me. He came to the film's New Jersey premiere with his lovely wife, Patti. It was a big moment for all of us."

 

IMAGE: Gurinder Chadha directs Viveik Kalra.

Viveik Kalra plays the Pakistani-British protagonist Javed, and Aaron Phagura plays Javed's Sikh friend Roops in Blinded By The Light.

"We had someone else in mind but then I met Viveik. He was so sorted and wise beyond his years. He has contributed tremendously to the film. He is not enamoured by the trappings of stardom," says Gurinder.

"I believe in Danny Boyle's Yesterday, the Indian actor Himesh Patel plays a colour-blind character. His cultural background is not mentioned. In my film, Viviek is a culturally specific Pakistani British guy, struggling with problems of the Asian community in the UK, problems that I faced when I came to England," says Gurinder.

 

IMAGE: Gurinder Chadha on the sets with Viveik Kalra and Aaron Phagura.

She was not aware of Danny Boyle's tribute to the Beatles while shooting Blinded By The Light.

"When I was told Danny was doing a Beatles tribute, I was surprised. But it turned out to be different, or so I presume. I haven't seen that film," she says.

Gurinder is gratified by the response to Blinded By The Light.

"It's my best-received work since Bend It Like Beckham. Actually, I had to wait before doing Blinded By The Light. I couldn't do another film on a young Asian-Britisher's struggle to do his/her own thing so soon after Bend It Like Beckham. Then Brexit happened to Britain. I was very upset with what was happening with migrants and so-called outsiders. I had to tell this story of a young man, who is of Pakistani origin and yet so deeply connected to the music of Bruce Springsteen."

 

IMAGE: Gurinder Chadha with husband Paul Mayeda Berges and their nine-year-old twins, Ronak and Kumiko.

Blinded By The Light will release on Netflix on September 6.

Gurinder did consider a theatrical release in India but was put off by her experience the last time.

"My last film, The Last Viceroy, was released by Phantom Films in its dubbed Hindi version. The original English-language version was not even released," she says.

Subhash K Jha
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