Gurindher Chadha’s foray into reality TV by way of ‘Desi Rascals’ has divided opinion among British Asians.
However, this summer sees Chadha return to her glorious roots with the stage adaptation of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’, the director’s seminal 2002 hit about football and life as a British Asian.
Chadha today released the first song from the musical which arrives in the West End in June.
Appropriately enough, the song is titled ‘UB2’ in a nod to the postcode of Southall, West London, where the movie was originally set and where the story’s main character Jess lives.
The song features the star cast of the musical setting the scene for the show and is shot on Southall’s famous Broadway, among other locations.
Chadha said: “UB2 is where Jess lives, and where I lived. We wanted to get people to start to feel the essence and heart of the music, and the best way was to bring it to life here in the heart of the community.”
That community was at the heart of Chadha’s own life growing up. She has revealed that the story of Bend It Like Beckham is inspired by her own and is a tribute to her late father who “never let colour or prejudice stop her from pursuing her passion” of filmmaking.
The stage musical arrives at the Pheonix Theatre in Charing Cross in the summer with previews beginning 15 May.
The play features Natalie Dew who plays football crazy Jess with Lauren Samuels as Jules, a player with the Harriers, a local women’s football team, and Jamie Campbell Bower as their coach Joe.
Ronni Ancona will play Paula, Jules’s Mum, with Jamal Andréas as Jess’ good friend Tony. Preeya Kalidas plays Pinky, Jess’ sister, with Tony Jayawardena and Natasha Jayetileke as her parents, Mr and Mrs Bhamra.
Original music for the play was composed by the renowned English composer Howard Goodall with lyrics by Charles Hart.