|Gurinder Chadha - Bride and Prejudice
|We catch up with our friend Gurinder once again, this time to discuss her work on the buzzworthy Bride and Prejudice w/ Ash!
She's back! Gurinder Chadha, the director of "Bend It Like Beckham" has a new movie out called "Bride and Prejudice," starring Aishwarya Rai. The movie is unlike any other; it has a different feel to the Bollywood meets Hollywood genre. Have you ever wondered what Bollywood songs would sound like if they were sung in English? Well, now you have the chance to see that and much more in Aishwarya Rai's very first Hollywood feature. This has been the talk of many towns for quite some time and we chat with the women behind it all, Gurinder!
Peta Cooper: What is the significance of the title of the film? What is it trying to convey?
Gurinder Chadha: I chose to base the film on 'Pride and Prejudice' because it was my favorite book at school and I knew Jane Austen's themes were alive in modern day India. She was showing that for women in the 18th century their status was largely dependent on who they married. I wanted to show that for women all over the world there is still that pressure to get married and that somehow you're not complete until you do so. Whereas Austen was exploring class distinctions, I wanted to modernize and Indianize the story and look at the first impressions we make of each other culturally around the world. And I wanted you to laugh and shake your booty at the same time!
PC: It was great how you successfully managed to blend two cultures again. How did Aishwarya Rai's involvement enter the film? Did you envision her in that role or was it someone else's idea?
GC: Lizzie Bennet is the greatest heroine of English Literature and it's quite radical to re-imagine her as a Punjabi girl from Amritsar. I met Ash and knew she could be feisty, intelligent and beautiful. The key to the character is that she wants more than is expected of her and she won't settle for second best. Ash is the same way and I knew she would do a great job in the role.
PC: Any good or bad experiences working with her?
GC: I had very good experiences working with Ash because she knew this film wasn't going to be easy and she worked hard on it. I was bringing together actors from India, England, the States and New Zealand, and they all had to find a common ground to work from given their different acting backgrounds. During rehearsal they all had to be on their toes and after
that it was brilliant the way they all fed off each other and learned about the different acting traditions.
"I'm also producing 'The Mistress of Spices" ... with Aishwarya Rai starring"
PC: With Hollywood being how it is, do you think she can make a successful crossover?
GC: It all depends on the roles that are offered to Ash. She's extremely talented and people have really appreciated her performance in 'Bride' - if she gets offered great roles she'll deliver.
PC: I think she needs to work on being able to kiss on screen. But anywho, would you have objections if your daughter wanted to have a "love" marriage or if she wanted to marry a White guy?
GC: I don't have a daughter but my feeling is that it's not easy to find a true partner in life and if you're lucky enough to do that then it doesn't matter where someone is from, just be thankful you've found love and appreciate each other.
PC: I'm sure after our readers read that, you're going to get several letters from people asking you to adopt them!
GC: I can always use more extras in my films! (winks)
PC: Were there any bloopers on the set?
GC: I put bloopers at the end of the film like I did for 'Bend it like
Beckham' because so many people came up to me and said they loved that because it showed how much fun we had making the film. It was the same way with 'Bride' - we became this big, crazy family that traveled together from London to Amritsar, Goa, Bombay and LA. Almost every day we would end
up dancing on set and laughing hysterically after we wrapped. The end credits show Martin (Mr. Darcy) falling on his butt in one of the songs and me dancing through the Bollywood fountains!
PC: That fountain blooper was great! Now that the film is completed, what would you have done differently?
GC: I'm thrilled with the film and overjoyed that it has opened at No. 1 in the box office in the United Kingdom, India and South Africa. It shows that the same film can appeal to many different audiences as long as it's a good story with its heart in the right place. It's set to open all over the world and I can't wait to see the reactions in different countries. I've been seeing the film in the States with audiences in New York, St. Louis and LA and the reaction has always been the same - audiences get swept up in the joy and exuberance of the movie and they all want to go to India afterwards!
PC: It seems like you're pretty pleased with the film. Do you see any other Bollywood talent doing crossovers anytime soon?
GC: Bollywood is full of incredible talent both in front of and behind the camera. As the world gets smaller every day we influence each other more in our cinema as well. I think there will be lots of people who do international work in many different countries.
PC: Hmmm, who from Hollywood can crossover to Bollywood?
PC: (laughs) What's your next project about?
GC: I'm going to be directing a prequel to 'I Dream of Jeanie' for Sony Pictures in Hollywood. It's a great girl-power special effects movie, which moves between Persia 200BC and contemporary America. I loved the script because it's like an Indiana Jones for young women, the kind of rollicking adventure that usually only men get to make! It'll be a lot of fun.
I'm also producing 'The Mistress of Spices," which my co-writer and husband Paul Mayeda Berges will be directing with Aishwarya Rai starring. It's a magical immigrant's tale from the novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, all set in Oakland, San Francisco and India.
PC: We will have to catch up again then Gurinder! Anything you wanna say to the DesiClub.com readers?
GC: Laugh and dance a lot, less cynicism and more celebration. Be nice to your family and learn to cook aloo gobi!
The film is set to release in the USA on February 11th, 2005 - check out www.miramax.com/bride for more info!
Do you have any thoughts on this? Feel free to send Peta an e-mail @ Peta Cooper.