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    Shah Rukh makes me weak-kneed: Gurinder Chadha

    [Interview by Subash K. Jha]
    Wednesday, November 24, 2004
    Guess who gets gooey-eyed and jelly-kneed for Shah Rukh Khan? Britain-based director Gurinder Chadha!
    "Besides my husband Paul, he's the only man who makes me go weak in my knees," Chadha, director of "Bride and Prejudice", told IANS in an interview.

    At the premiere of the film in Mumbai, Aishwarya Rai had saved seats next to herself for Chadha and her husband.

    "But at the last minute, Shah Rukh and his wife Gauri showed up. Earlier during the day, I had called Gauri to invite them. He took the phone and congratulated me. He promised he'd try to come.

    "By then my knees started trembling. Shah Rukh makes me behave like a teenybopper. When he showed up at the premiere, at the last minute, I was over the moon. Gauri and he occupied our seats. I sat on the floor and watched my film. I felt very Gandhian," Gurinder told IANS.

    Her wit crackles under pressure. Chadha, who also directed "Bend It Like Beckham", has taken the flowers and the flak for "Bride & Prejudice" on her chin.

    "The reviews are either really glowing or slightly guarded, like 'Yeah Beckham was better.' The criticism for 'Bride & Prejudice' is just as important and interesting to me as the praise. The negative and positive comments in India are very different from the same abroad.

    "The important magazines in Britain have given it four and five stars. Of course, some are bound to hate it. 'Bride & Prejudice' is a British film. But it is not a Euro-centric film.

    "When the British press criticises it, they don't understand why they're doing so. It's because they aren't getting the point. It's all so easy to dismiss the song-and-dance formula of Bollywood. But they've to understand the context of it. They should be asking themselves why should a British filmmaker turn around and do a take on Bollywood if not to challenge their hegemony?"

    No harm in a bit of money to go with the hegemony.

    "I've been a journalist myself - I used to work for BBC radio. I understand all journalists can't say that all the reviews are great. Then there would be no story. Criticism is spicier. But you've to think about the personal angle to the criticism. Please don't target me. I am not on trial here. It's Hindi cinema that's on trial among Western audiences.

    "I can make very good British movies. But I've chosen to make a film in a different idiom and flavour, and imposed it on British values. I think the Americans would get the point much more readily. In India some critics seem to be looking at a different picture. They think the music is cheesy. But that's how it was meant to be! I could've got Elton John to do the music. But I wanted Anu Malik."

    And Manoj Kumar to whose cinema "Bride & Prejudice" pays optimum homage did come for the premiere in Mumbai. "But he didn't stay for too long, though his wife did."

    At the premiere in Mumbai, Chadha was undoubtedly happy. "Even Sridevi was in the audience. And I hop

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