Making ‘Blinded by the Light,’ following a red carpet run-in with Springsteen

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Viveik Kalra and director Gurinder Chadha on the set of 'Blinded by the Light,' a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo credit: Nick Wall

In the new coming-of-age movie ‘Blinded by the Light,’ newcomer Viveik Kalra plays Javed, a lonely and repressed teenager dealing with tough financial times and anti-Muslim sentiment in the British town of Luton. It’s 1987 and Luton has been hit hard by Thatcher-era austerity. Javed fancies himself a writer, but his father, a Pakistani immigrant, emphatically rejects that idea.

The world changes for Javed when his Sikh classmate slips him two Bruce Springsteen cassette tapes.

At first, Javed doesn’t think the music will mean anything, but his doubts about Springsteen vanish as he hits play and he is soon transformed by music and lyrics that seem to speak directly to him--a world away from Asbury Park.

‘Blinded by the Light’ is based on the life of British journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, who chronicled his grand Springsteen awakening in a 2007 memoir, ‘Greetings from Bury Park.’ He joined us in the studio along with director Gurinder Chadha, whose films include ‘Bride & Prejudice,’ but whose greatest hit, so far anyway, remains 2002’s ‘Bend It Like Beckham.’

Chadha tells us about life after ‘Bend It,’ and she and Manzoor explain how they first met. Hint, it had to do with Springsteen. They also share how ‘Blinded by the Light’ came to be--before they could start anything, they had to get the rights to Springsteen’s songs--something that transpired after an impromptu meeting with The Boss on a red carpet.

Chadha also explains how Brexit influenced her decision to make the movie, and she shares the excitement of the Sundance bidding war. At $15 million, ‘Blinded by the Light’ was the priciest buy of this year’s festival.

Credits

Guests:
Gurinder Chadha - Filmmaker - @GurinderC, Sarfraz Manzoor - Writer - @sarfrazmanzoor

Host:
Kim Masters

Producer:
Kaitlin Parker