London audience whoop and this could sweep the US as predicted by acv at the Sundance Film Festival in January…
THERE were laughs and tears last night all around www.asianculturevulture.com as we watched the film ‘Blinded by the Light’ for the second time only and for the first time in the UK.
Last night, the Picturehouse Cinema in Piccadilly, London was packed and many had not only come to watch the film, but hear director Gurinder Chadha, writer Sarfraz Manzoor and lead actor Viveik Kalra talk about how the film – about a young Pakistani origin teenager from a working-class family in Luton, dreams of being a writer and is inspired by US rock star Bruce Springsteen – came to be made.
We’ll be running our interview with Chadha both from Sundance and London ( Tuesday, July 30) next week, as well as the other roundtable discussions which took place on the same day with Manzoor and Kalra.
Chadha was quizzed at a post screening Q&A last night by film critic Jason Solomons and took questions from the floor, telling the audience:-
🎥 Both the BBC and Channel 4 passed on making ‘Blinded by the Light’, even with Bruce Springsteen attached (in giving permission for the music). The film was financed by a US firm which was already in talks with Chadha about directing one of their scripts. Chadha said: “This film has already made money but that money is not coming into the UK film industry,” she lamented – unlike ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ (which was one of the highest grossing independent British films of that time). Chadha signed a £12m deal in Sundance in January for the film’s distribution mostly outside the UK.
🎥 That she was nervous as to how the American audience would react to a film about a Pakistani origin teenager and wanted to remove a US immigration officer scene, but put it back in after Manzoor said it was true and had happened to him when he went in search of The Boss (you will understand this when you see the film).
🎥 She started to work on film day after result of Referendum result and sees it as response to Brexit, using one of Springsteen’s lyrics, “We only win, if we all win,” to great effect near the film’s conclusion.
🎥 She felt there were not enough critics of a similar background to herself to understood the complexities of identity in modern Britain. “I can be English, I can be British, I can be Indian, I can be British Asian…”. She said many UK critics are ‘mono-lingual’ and ‘mono-cultural’ and criticise her work without understanding that she is communicating with lots of diverse constituencies who instinctively have an appreciation of what she is trying to do. “I have no problems with criticism, I used to be a journalist.” She started her career as a BBC documentary filmmaker before launching her feature film career with ‘Bhaji on the Beach’ in 1994.
Read more about Blinded by the Light next week…. Keep following the bird
‘Blinded by the light’ releases in the UK on August 9 and August 14* in the US
*Date amended 05.08.2019