Indians Abroad

Gurinder Chadha

Famous As Film Director
Born On 10 January 1960
Born In Nairobi, Kenya
Nationality British

Although an Indian by origin and a Nairobian by birth, Gurinder Chadha is essentially a British at heart, something that is well evident from her typical London accent, her self-deprecating "tongue-in-cheek" humor, and her subject-line, that is quintessentially English. The first British Asian women to direct mainstream feature films in U.K. and make a successful career out of it, Chadha's feats are indeed impressive. Growing up in an English environment, she was acutely aware of the mixed cultural identities that had a major impact on her early upbringing. And her films exude that longing to know and understand what is culture and the risk of living in the West. Films like "Bhaji on the Beach", "Bend it like Beckham", "Bride and Prejudice", and "What's Cooking?" depicts a clash between traditional Indian views and Western ideas, which is the classic theme of most of her films. Her unconventional screenplay and cheeky sense of humor is what makes her films so entertaining for both Indian and international audiences.

Early Life
Gurinder Chadha was born on January 10, 1960, in Nairobi, Kenya. Her parents relocated to Southall, West London two years after her birth. Although, she grew up in a traditional Punjabi home, she never pulverized to the pressures of an orthodox Indian household. There were many occasions where she refused to comply with the footsteps of the older generation women in her family, and rather took an offbeat road to etch a new identity for herself. Gurinder received her formal education from Clifton Primary School and later graduated from University of East Anglia. Soon after, she went on to enroll herself into London School of Printing to pursue her post-graduate diploma in radio journalism. From the very start, Gurinder knew what she wanted from her life, which she went on to achieve later.

After her graduation from London School of Printing, she joined BBC as a radio journalist, but soon moved on to television to work as a news reporter. Even before she knew it, Chadha was already into directing award winning short films that got her noticed, and credited her as an upcoming talent. Her career-graph took off in the mid 1980's and since then there has been no looking back. Living in the west all her life, she was very much influenced by the British-Asian cultures and was disheartened at how similar people from her ethnicity were portrayed. This in turn led to the desire to depict Indian culture in a new light altogether, and she went on to explore the subject in her various films. In 1990, she launched her production house under the banner of Umbi Films. "11-minutes Nice Arrangements" was first movie to be produced under her home banner in 1991. Her film "Bhaji on the Beach" spoke about the differences among the Indian women from different generations. The film won her great accolades and earned her global recognition for her work as a movie director. In 1995, her television drama "Rich Deceiver" was immensely appreciated and it managed to capture an audience of nearly eleven million. In the following years, Chadha gave several international hits that not only got the cash registers ringing at the box-office, but also established her as one of the most sought after British directors. Some of her popular movies like "Bend it like Beckham", "Bride and Prejudice", "Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging" proved her mettle as a filmmaker.

Achievements and Awards
Chadha has won several awards for her films. "Bhaji on the Beach" was nominated by BAFTA for the Best British film in 1994, followed by best newcomer in British Cinema and Evening Standard British Film award. She also managed to charm her critics with her film "What's Cooking?" for which she won the Best British Director from the London Film Critic Fraternity. She struck gold with "Bend it like Beckham' that topped the box-office charts and was an enormous success. Globally, the film won many awards in several film festivals including the Golden Globe Nomination for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), a BAFTA Nomination for Best British Film, a European Film Academy Nomination for Best Film, and a Writers Guild of America Nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Her other films "Mistress of Spices" (for which she wrote the screenplay) and "Bride and Prejudice" also managed to please her audience. She has also won several honorary doctorates from various universities in Britain.

Personal Life
Gurinder Chadha is married to a Japanese- American moviemaker named Paul Mayeda Berges, and the couple is blessed with twins - a son named Ronak and a daughter Kumiko, who were born in 2007.

Time Line
1960: She was born on January 10, in Nairobi.
1985: She graduated from London College of Printing.
1989: She directed many well known documentaries for BBC and Channel 4.
1990: Chadha launched her very own production house.
1991: Her first film "11-minute Nice Arrangement" was released.
1993: Her first award winning film "Bhaji on the Beach" was produced.
2002: She released her best commercial movie "Bend it like Beckham".
2006: She has won numerous doctorates from many British universities.
2007: She gave birth to twins, Ronak and Kumiko.
2010: Her last venture "It's A Wonderful Life" hit the theaters.