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Interview with Gurinder Chadha and Sendhil Ramamurthy

Aired April 16, 2010 - 16:49:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Between the two of them, director Gurinder Chadha and actor Sendhil Ramamurthy have fans that span the globe.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was married at your age. You don't even want to learn how to cook dhal.


ANDERSON: Those roles in "Bend It Like Beckham," Chadha combined Bollywood and Hollywood talent to create that year's surprise success. After "Beckham," she went on to direct a number of successful films, including the hit, "Bride and Prejudice."


ANDERSON: Ramamurthy is best known as the troubled, brilliant character of Mohinder Suresh in the American hit TV series, "Heroes."


ANDERSON: And now the two are teaming up in a new film entitled, "It's A Wonderful Afterlife."


ANDERSON: Directed by Chadha, the film applies her typical style by bringing traditional Indian issues to a modern setting. A fusion of East and West -- Chadha and Sendhil Ramamurthy are your Connectors of the Day.


ANDERSON: A powerhouse team when it comes to TV and the silver screen. Earlier, I sat down with your Connectors and I began by asking them about their new venture, "It's A Wonderful Afterlife"


SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY, ACTOR: "It's A Wonderful Afterlife" is a crazy out there, genre bending British movie, much like an ailing (ph) comedy. It's a supernatural comedy with a lovely sort of romance at its core. I think it's ever -- it's everything. It's got everything in it.

GURINDER CHADHA, FILM DIRECTOR: I couldn't have said it better myself.

ANDERSON: Who is the character you play?

CHADHA: I play a character named Raj (ph), also known as Googly (ph) his childhood nickname, who's a police officer and is -- is brought in by the London Police Department to help investigate a string of murders that are happening in Southall in the Asian community and ends up going undercover to kind of infiltrate the community and find out, hopefully, who's -- who's committing the murders and, in the process, ends up falling in love with -- with one of the suspects.

ANDERSON: Now, don't tell us too much. Don't tell us too much.

CHADHA: And there we go. There we go. Stop.

ANDERSON: Don't ruin it.

CHADHA: We'll cut before then.


ANDERSON: OK. All right. Well, it sounds fab.

Let's get some viewer questions.

Sanjeev: "This is clearly a satire," he says, "on India's obsession with marriage. Do you think that this obsession is -- is getting any less intense? Do you hope this film will make people see how silly it can be?"

RAMAMURTHY: I don't think it's getting any less intense. I just think the methodology is changing. I'm not advocating the methodology of the mother in this film, necessarily.


RAMAMURTHY: So, but I do think that, you know, the proliferation of Internet dating and, I mean there are people -- we all know people who got married -- Asian couples who got married off of So the Internet, you know, is new arranged marriage of our community.

ANDERSON: Meaghan asks: "What advice can you give young females who are looking to get into the movie business?"

RAMAMURTHY: My advice would be to get a camera, get a little editing program on your computer and just go out and do it. Make up little films. Film your cat. Make a film about your mom's cooking or just -- just do it.

ANDERSON: How did you both get involved?

I mean is that -- is that what you're ad -- I mean you're advocating something you did yourself, are you?

RAMAMURTHY: Actually, no. I didn't do that. No.


RAMAMURTHY: But that's how I would have done it today.

No, I did it -- I -- I trained as a journalist. So I used to work as a news reporter on the radio and then a bit on TV. And then I found the news too restricting for me. And I -- I wanted to tell other stories.

ANDERSON: And the rest is history, as they say.

Veronica has written in: "Sendhil, how do you feel about the direction of your character in "Heroes?"

CHADHA: Well, unfortunately, my character lost a little bit of direction in the -- in the final season of "Heroes." So -- but, you know, I think that -- that things kind of run -- run their course at some point. And I think that the journey for my character had come to a -- to an end.

ANDERSON: Mohan from Kuala Lumpur has written in and he asks both of you whether you've thought of putting your talent into more Indian films in Bollywood or, as he suggests here, Collywood?

RAMAMURTHY: Well, I made a film called "Bride and Prejudice," which was taking Jane Austen and giving her the Bollywood treatment. So I've got that out of my system. I've done one. I knew there was -- maybe I'll do another one later. But at the moment, you know, I'm kind of -- you know, we're -- my -- although my films are quite Britain, I do think you'll always get that kind of Bollywood-sie element there into the high dimensions (ph).

CHADHA: I -- I just finished doing a movie in -- in -- in Mumbai, actually, in February, which will be coming out later this year, September or Octoberish time, called "Shore (ph)." So it was my first experience. And it was fun. I mean it was -- it was very different to -- to working here. But it was -- it's definitely an experience that I would repeat.

ANDERSON: Udhara has written in: "As creatives with Asian roots, have you had any additional challenges breaking into the industry because of race?"

That's an interesting question.

RAMAMURTHY: I think that it was probably a little bit harder at the beginning, because I didn't look like what a film director is supposed to look like to a lot of people. But I think that once I had a success with "Bend It Like Beckham," it all -- it's plain smooth sailing from then on.


ANDERSON: Fabulous.

And she felt terrible. As you can see, she's not feeling very well, but she did a sterling job.

Your Connector of the Day today, Friday.

Monday's tried to teach all of us how to be a domestic goddess. Nigella Lawson's pure passion for good food has made her one of the most -- world's most recognized TV cooks.

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