: Red Carpet
News TV/YouTubeGurinder Chadha
is branching out into television. The “Bend It Like Beckham
” director’s TV production company, Bend It TV, will receive 25 percent backing from FremantleMedia, Variety writes. Bend It TV aims to develop “upscale scripted content” as well as non-scripted content and other entertainment formats. According to the source, the deal stemmed from Fremantle drama chief Sarah Doole
’s efforts to expand the company’s number of scripted series.
Planning to use the medium to tell “stories on a big scale,” Chadha believes working in TV will allow her to share her work globally. “The audience now picks and chooses because of the [different] platforms,” she emphasized. “For someone like me who has always been trying to tell different kinds of stories, finally an audience can have access to them. That is the most exciting thing for a filmmaker like me, someone who wants to tell stories about people on the margins, or hidden histories and voices, and bringing them to the fore.”
Although she is best known as a film director, Variety reveals that Chadha began her career on Channel 4
’s “The Media Show” in the UK and is happy to return to her roots. “In my experience of late, television is much more open and responsive these days than the British film industry at getting those stories out there, getting them produced, made, and on screens,” she observed.
Describing her approach to storytelling — in any medium — Chadha said she is interested in “great content that is effortlessly diverse.” Expanding on that idea, she added, “My brand has always had a global reach and represents British storytelling, but from a diverse perspective.”
According to Variety, Chadha is especially excited to work with Fremantle due to its inclusion of women like Doole and CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz
in senior leadership roles. “I am working with bright, intelligent women at the top of their game, and we have a shorthand. When I pitch a story or idea they get it, so it allows me to be more productive,” Chadha explained.
The respect is mutual. Frot-Coutaz commented, “Gurinder is a phenomenal storyteller and a real auteur; I’m thrilled to be working with her. When we set out to build our scripted business, at the top of my list was working with and supporting the best creative talent in the world, and this new partnership truly exemplifies that goal.”
Chadha made her feature directorial debut with 1993’s “Bhaji on the Beach
.” “I was the first Indian woman to direct a feature film in Britain,” she said of the experience, “and now I’m still the only Asian woman directing feature films in the British film industry. That shows how hard it is to get out there.”
Since “Bhaji,” Chadha has directed “Bend It Like Beckham
,” “Bride & Prejudice,” the short film “Quais de Seine,” “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging,” and “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife.” Her latest film, “Viceroy’s House,” is set during the 1947 Partition — when India’s independence led to the bloody division of its territory. It is currently playing in the UK.
Next, Chadha will helm “Song for a Spy,” about a female Indian World War II spy. She recently donated her entire working archive to the British Film Institute’s National Archive.Gurinder Chadha
Moves to TV with FremantleMedia-Backed Bend It TV was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.