Gurinder Chadha speaks on her new enchanting musical “Blinded by the light”

Gurinder Chadha couldn’t be in a happier place, celebrating the success of her new film Blinded By The Light

Gurinder Chadha speaks on her new enchanting musical “Blinded by the light”

Subhash K Jha

Gurinder Chadha couldn’t be  in a happier place. And  I do mean that literally and metaphorically. Taking a  well-earned holiday with her family at a beach resort far away from the maddening crowd, Gurinder celebrates  the  success  of her new film Blinded By The Light.

“It’s 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,” says  Gurinder, recalling how she  was  introduced to the music of Springsteen at a young age by a friend in much the same way as shown in the  film.

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

“I love the praise that’s coming the  film’s way.  But you know what was  the  ultimate  compliment for me? Bruce Springsteen  loved it!  The film was inspired 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 in the film, including  Viveik who plays the Pakistani-British protagonist  Javed,  and  Aaron Phagura who plays Javed’s Sikh friend Roops.”
In fact  Aaron was supposed to play  Javed.
“Yes, we  did have have 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  has done  some work before. But he is  not  the least enamoured by  the trappings of stardom,” says Gurinder adding that  Viveik plays a culturally specific  character in Blinded By The Light.

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

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  completely surprised. But that turned out to be different, or so I presume. I haven’t seen Danny Boyle’s film.”
Gurinder is intensely  gratified by the response to Blinded By The Light. “I’d agree with   you when  you say 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. But then Brexit happened to Britain. I was very upset and angry 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.”

Blinded By The Light is a family film in more ways than one.

Laughs Gurinder, “Both my 9-year  old  twins my son and daughter are seen in  the film. So am I in a wig, hence unrecognizable.”

The good news for Gurinder Chadha’s fans  in India is Blinded By The Light  is being released on Netflix in the first week of September.

“No one knows this. Now you do. Netflix it is. It is being  premiered on Netflix on  September 6. I was impressed by the massive global viewership Netflix offered to my film. At one go, Blinded By The Light would be watched by more people on Netflix  than it would be in its entire lifetime in movie theatres.”

Gurinder did consider a theatrical release in India for Blinded By The light. But  was put off by her experience  the last time. “My last film The Last Viceroy was only released by Phantom  Films in its dubbed Hindi version. The original English-language version  was not even released.”

For all the latest India News, Follow India Section.