British critics pan 'Bride...' as mushy, silly

IANS
10/9/2004 12:00:00 AM
The recognition of Gurinder Chadha's  contribution to British cinema in the House of Commons for her blockbuster "Bend It Like Beckham" has made the filmmaker of Indian origin ecstatic.

What has pleased her is a letter that David Beckham wrote to the House of Commons saying how much he loved the film.

"To be thus recognised in the House of Commons is very, very uncommon," Chadha said in a telephonic conversation from London.

"I don't think a filmmaker has been honoured in this way. And I am honoured!"

Chuckles Chadha, "It's strange, but Beckham and I never really met. Right through the making of 'Bend It...' all the interaction with him was handled by lawyers and agents.

We wanted everything to be completely above board. But now I think it is time for Beckham and me to be friends."

Talk in India about "Bride & Prejudice" being a damp squib has baffled her.

"Are they joking? 'Bride & Prejudice' has in fact made huge, huge profits at the British box-office. Some misguided souls in the Indian media feel it isn't another 'Bend It...'.

Well hello! In case you haven't noticed, 'Bride & Prejudice' was never meant to be another 'Bend It...' It couldn't be.

"'Bride...' is about Bollywood and therefore self-limiting. We have, I think, more than broken through with the film. The grave-diggers may please find another site for their lamentations. My film doesn't need any dirges, thank you."

Chadha has just left for Los Angeles for a very special screening of "Bride & Prejudice". "We're gearing up for a Christmas release," she says.

Also on the anvil is her new project, an Arabesque fantasy based on the super-successful American TV series "I Dream Of Jeannie".

"It is a kind of 'prequel' about the main character's life before she became a witch. The leading actress has been more or less finalised. But let's keep her a secret until I sign her on. The studio wants to make sure there's scope for a sequel if the first one works," reveals Chadha.

And what does she feel about the comparisons between the two female superstar-filmmakers from India and their respective take on British literature?

"You mean Mira Nair's take on William Thackeray's 'Vanity Fair' and my take on Jane Austen? There's no common ground between me and Mira. Just because we share a common background and we both happen to be women , we're constantly compared. But it's as odd as putting Karan Johar and Ram Gopal Varma in the same range of vision."

Speaking of Karan Johar, Chadha sounds thrilled: "One of my dearest friends in the film industry...and a great help with 'Bride & Prejudice' in India. My dream is to one day make a film with Karan's best friend Shah Rukh Khan."