No Life without Wife

first_imgQ1 Jane Austen says, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Your version is ‘No Life without Wife!’ How similar – and different – are the two versions of essentially the same tale?A Extremely similar. That was always the intention to stay close to the book. I was thrilled when I heard the North American Jane Austen Society made me an honorary lifetime member for bringing a fresh new perspective to Austen’s novel.Q2 You’ve taken the action from staid England to swinging Amritsar with in-your-face Bollywood dances and music. Do you think Jane Austen would have been pleased?A I think Austen would have enjoyed the movie enormously. She had a great sense of humor and loved music and I guess she would have liked the India setting since she was such a world wise woman for her time. Q3 J How did the outrageous premise of blending Amritsar and Austen come about? A I just thought it was a good idea – an idea no one else would have come up with and treated in the way I did, as a British movie with a nod to Bollywood and Hollywood.Q4 How easy – or difficult – was it juggling this international cast comprising of Americans, Britishers and Indians? What was the most memorable moment for you?A It was very hard finding the balance culturally, as we all have different notions of our cultural make up: some people may find the film too Indian, some may find it not Bollywood enough. Some would have wanted more songs, others less songs, more dialogue. It was hard work. Best bit was doing the songs, especially the Marriage has Come to Town song, which was my favorite thing to shoot.Q5 In Bride and Prejudice, you have the NRI suitor and a room full of ambitious mamas hoping to hook him for their daughters. Do you see that happening a lot in real life? In our increasingly global world, is the entire Diaspora a hunting ground for a suitable spouse?A We’re Indians, right? Doesn’t matter what country you are in or how educated you are or aren’t. Indian mums are always on the lookout for prospective marriage partners for their marriageable aged kids.  Q6 As a Britisher, what was the experience like filming for the first time in India? How different is the Indian studio culture?A Filming in India was great. Everyone gave me a lot of respect and support. It was different to shooting in the west but worked very well, once you accommodated to their way of working. It is wrong to enforce your own rules – you have to bend and accommodate to their way or you’ll get frustrated.Q7 Bend it like Beckham gave the West a taste of the Indian community and viewers connected with it universally. What do you hope viewers will take away from Bride and Prejudice?A People should have fun with the movie – it’s a diasporic musical romp!Q8 For you, what does being British mean? Do you ever have to give up the Indian-ness or is it a part of your makeup? A It’s obvious from my work. All my films are about finding the right balance that works for me as a Brit Asian. I’m very content with the balances I have in my personal and professional life.  Q9 Your experiences in Hollywood?A So far, great. Just starting out on my big Sony picture, the prequel to the TV show I Dream of Jeannie.Q10 Do you think western audiences are ready for Bollywood inspired movies?A We hit number one in U.K. on release so clearly some of them are!Q11 You yourself are married to screenwriter Paul Mayeda Berges, who is Japanese-American. How common is the concept of intercultural marriages amongst the Indian community in the U.K?A Very common and growing more, but my husband loves being part of my Indian family and vice versa, so it works pretty well. It’s sad when people have to break ties with their families in order to marry out.Q12 You’ve shot Bride and Prejudice on three continents. What were the meals served on the sets and how did your international cast enjoy them?A We ate what the locals ate in every country – British stodge, Indian curries and Californian cuisine. Worked pretty well for all of us. In my case too much, I always put on a ton of weight on a shoot – you can see it in the end credits!   Related Itemslast_img