Gurinder Chadha donates working archives to the BFI National Archive

Chadha’s archive includes shooting scripts, correspondence and on-set photographs for films including the box-office smash Bend It like Beckham and Viceroy’s House.


Gurinder Chadha (right) on the set of Viceroy's House (2017) with Huma Qureshi

Gurinder Chadha (right) on the set of Viceroy's House (2017) with Huma Qureshi

With Viceroy’s House now in cinemas, the BFI is delighted to announce that Gurinder Chadha, one of the UK’s most respected filmmakers, who was awarded an OBE in 2006 for her services to the British film industry, has donated her entire working archive to the BFI National Archive.

The Gurinder Chadha archive covers the award-winning Punjabi-British director’s work from her breakthrough BFI-produced 1989 documentary, I’m British But… (1989) and early shorts, to her BAFTA-nominated feature debut Bhaji on the Beach (1993), the international box-office smash Bend It like Beckham (2002), the highest grossing British-financed, British-distributed film ever in the UK box-office (at time of release), right up to her latest feature, Viceroy’s House (2017).

The archive contains 37 boxes of paper and digital material including script drafts and shooting scripts, story development notes, budgets, correspondence, on-set photographs and other production paperwork as well as extensive material relating to publicity, marketing and press.

The archive reflects Chadha’s work as a writer-director with numerous script drafts and handwritten notes for films such as Bride and Prejudice (2004), Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008) and It’s a Wonderful Afterlife (2010). Also held is an early script for Viceroy’s House, dated 2009/10, illustrating Chadha’s long-held determination to make a film about Indian independence.

Extensive sets of photograph albums go behind the scenes of films such as the Golden Globe and BAFTA-nominated Bend it like Beckham, showing Chadha working with actors including Keira Knightley, Parminder Nagra and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The archive also includes hand-drawn storyboards for Bend It like Beckham illuminating the development of this worldwide hit film in its journey from script to screen.

The BFI has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Gurinder Chadha, having supported her career from her early BFI-produced I’m British But… to most recently Viceroy’s House, with National Lottery funding through the BFI Film Fund. A regular at BFI Southbank, Chadha was most recently on stage for a special preview screening of Viceroy’s House on Sunday 26 February.

The collection has been transported to the BFI National Archive at Berkhamsted where it will be stored in optimal archival conditions. Once catalogued, the archive will be open to the public, with selected material being digitised for access. Recent donations made to BFI National Archive Special Collections include working archives from Sir Alan Parker, Ken Loach, Richard Lester, Jenny Beavan and Alan Whicker.

Bend it like Beckham (2002)

Bend it like Beckham (2002)

Nathalie Morris, Senior Curator – Special Collections, BFI said:

“We’re thrilled that Gurinder Chadha has donated her archive of working papers to the BFI. She has forged a strong and distinctive voice across her career as a director and writer, making films that have huge audience appeal while remaining true to story she wants to tell. I’m delighted that we will be able to open up the archive of a director at the height of her career, enabling the public to explore the way in which Chadha’s films have been made and shown.”

Gurinder Chadha said:

“I am overjoyed that the BFI will be the home to my working archive. For 28 years I have kept a record of all my research, notes, scripts, photos, etc. for all of my films. I realised that this archive comprises an important history of British Asian cinema and I am very pleased that the BFI will now preserve and share it with future generations of filmmakers and film enthusiasts.”

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