Gurinder Chadha wants to work with superstars like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Kangana Ranaut. But the British film director of Sikh origin says big Indian stars need “a certain kind of film” which is different from her style of working.
“I think the thing is that big stars here (in India) need a certain kind of film to be part of and the kind of films that I come up with is often very quirky, and different from what maybe they want to do,” Chadha said.
“So, unless I come up with a full star-led vehicle for them (it is difficult to cast Indian actors in my films). I have to think of films like that where I rhyme this British-Indian combination thing.”
Chadha, known for films like Bend It Like Beckham and Bride & Prejudice, doesn’t rule out the possibility of her getting Bollywood actors in her projects.
“I never say never. If someone has to give me a really interesting script here in India, I would do it.”
Be it Bend It Like Beckham, Bride & Prejudice or Partition: 1947 (released internationally as Viceroy’s House) — Chadha might have picked stories from different eras and cultures, but the one thing that ties them together is the presence of strong female characters.
The filmmaker, who was honoured with the Order of the British Empire, is in favour of initiating a campaign asking big Indian productions houses to churn scripts in sync with her style.
“Let’s start a campaign. Let’s write to Shah Rukh, Aamir, Kangana and all the interesting people…Dharma Productions, Yash Raj Films (asking them to) get Gurinder an interesting script.”
At the moment, she is basking in the all the appreciation that is coming her way for Partition: 1947, for which she went back to trace her roots and document events that led to India’s partition.
The film narrates the story of the trauma that people went through due to the division, and how it changed their lives. Taking the lead from Narendra Singh Sarila’s book The Shadow of the Great Game, she has also brought in the British side of the story, and showed what role Lord Mountbatten played in all of it.
India is a ship on fire – is a line in the film which refers to all the communal events that happened in the name of religion at the time of the partition.
And Gurinder, whose own family was caught up in the events that unfolded as the British Raj came to an end, says the film is “sadly very relevant” at the moment with many practicing “divide and rule” policy around the world.
“Sadly, I think the film is very relevant today because of not just what is happening here (India) but also around the world. There is a lot of divide and rule around the world. We have that in Europe and England too…
“The whole Brexit (the process by which United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union) thing, (there is) the fear of the unknown, the fear of foreigners, fear of refugees, fear of people who are different to you, and certain people use that fear to make political capital.”
But not everything is gloomy.
“When things go bad, hopefully good things come out of it,” the mother of two said on a positive note.
She is also developing a TV series, one of which is with BBC on Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his children, and there’s also a project based on an Asian household and a child’s dreams.