Portraying Indians’ lives on TV as equally important as white lives is “a flipping radical thing”, the director of ITV’s new Sunday night drama, Beecham House, has said.
Bend it like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha’s new six-part series tells the story of how India became part of the British empire.
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“The most exciting thing is simply having Indians in period costumes on primetime British TV – where their lives and loves are as important as their white counterparts. That’s a flipping radical thing,” she told Radio Times.
She hopes the series will be educational as well as entertaining – in a country where, Chadha says, schools are “frightened of telling the truth” about colonialism.
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“Most children in British schools aren’t even told now that there was an empire, that the British ruled India,” she said, adding: “Of course it’s wrong.”
Chadha has made her career adapting English classics through a modern lens. In Bride and Prejudice, her 2004 adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic, she injected a Bollywood twist, adding a multicultural layer to a story that speaks to the complexities of family expectations.
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Her work has been heralded as a breath of fresh air in a screen landscape that often leaves minority ethnic audiences in Britain and Hollywood feeling alienated. But Chadha says multicultural casting comes easy to her because her teams are diverse from the inside out.
“My buzz-phrase is ‘effortlessly diverse’. That’s what I do. My teams, both in front of and behind the camera, are a complete mixture. Diversity, for me, is...
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