Born On: January 10, 1960
Born In: Nairobi, Kenya
Career: British Film Director
Gurinder Chadha, despite a traditional upbringing in a Punjabi household, did more than what was expected of an Indian woman. She developed an active interest in her mixed cultural identity. Her distinctly Anglo surroundings in Southall, London did more than just fuel her curiosity about other cultures. Chadha, a feisty and determined film-maker, although not much in the limelight now, is surely capable of bouncing back and creating yet another hit. Food is a recurring theme in her work as it's a great way of expressing cultural things. According to Chadha, 'you are what you eat'. Right now, her latest obssession seems to be with work that should get the attention of critics all over the world. She is best known for her hit films: Bhaji On The Beach (1993), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Bride And Prejudice (2004), Angus (2004) and Thongs And Perfect Snogging (2008). Her most recent project is the comedy film 'A Wonderful Afterlife' released on 21st April, 2010.
Chadha was born in Kenya, but moved to Southall when she was just a baby.she attended Clifton Primary School at the age of two. Her father, an accountant by trade, faced discrimination in the then-exclusively white neighborhood and had trouble finding work in his field. Instead, he worked at a local bakery and rubber factory - a struggle he endured to keep his family adrift. Chadha's parents were immigrants from Kenya. However, they still maintained close links with India, where Chadha's father had worked for some time in a bank. Her family was originally from Punjab. They didn't find life in Britain particularly easy. Her father got a job with the post office but was allowed to work only if he took off his turban. He switched jobs then worked in a gas station, eventually saving up enough money to start a general store. Chadha attended the Beaconsfield Primary School in Southall, before taking development studies where she learned about the politics and economics of developing nations. She took up this course at the East Anglia University, 120 miles away from her hometown. When she decided she wanted to go to the University of East Anglia to do her development studies, her teachers suggested a secretarial course, or a lesser university. Upon graduating, Chadha worked at BBC as a radio journalist, but disliked the self-importance of the other journalists. After being exposed to the bhangra dance scene, her life suddenly changed - she felt a connection to her mixed British-Asian culture for the first time and set out to explore it through films.
Chadha took a radio course, worked in radio and television. She claims her film-making skills can be traced back to journalism. She began her career as a news reporter with BBC Radio, directed several award winning documentaries for the BBC, and began an alliance with the British Film Institute (BFI) and Channel Four. In 1990, Chadha set up her own production company: Umbi Films. After a two-part drama for the BBC, Rich Deceiver (1995), and a number of television documentaries, Chadha went to Los Angeles to make her next feature film 'What's Cooking?' (2000). It was a movie about a series of overlapping stories involving four families (Hispanic, Vietnamese, African-American, and Jewish), all preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. Her hit films 'Bend It Like Beckham' is the biggest British-financed and distributed film. Her next big venture 'Bride and Prejudice' made it to the top of the box office chart in Britain.
Her contribution to the British film industry is vast. Gurinder Chadha has made a fantastic contribution to the British film industry over the past fifteen years. The recognition of Gurinder Chadha's contribution to British cinema in the House of Commons for her blockbuster 'Bend It Like Beckham' helped her reach the very heights of success.
Awards and Accolades