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Bend It Like Beckham's Gurinder Chadha To Direct An Original Musical For Disney

It's been twenty years since "Bend It Like Beckham" stormed into the hearts of critics and audiences alike, essentially launching the careers of stars Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley. It also established writer and director Gurinder Chadha as a sought-after name in film. Not only have many of her own writing and directing projects been met with critical and commercial success in her native Britain, but her production company, Bend It Films, has also been involved in the production of several TV shows and movies in India, and her work has performed solidly in the United States too.

Now, it looks like Chadha has signed on to write, direct, and produce an original live-action musical feature for Disney. Though details at this point are notably vague, Deadline reports that Chadha will write the film alongside her frequent writing partner and husband Paul Mayeda Berges and that its story is inspired by a princess from Indian history. 

Lindy Goldstein Productions will also produce, and the project is under the aegis of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production President Sean Bailey.

Gurinder Chadha's musical experience

While a Disney musical is far from unheard of, it is only recently that the studio has moved into the live-action space as opposed to animated musicals; most notably in the form of "Aladdin" and the upcoming "The Little Mermaid." Even these are adaptations of previous animated Disney musical films, while others like the "Descendants" movies have obviously pulled from previous Disney properties. Gurinder Chadha's upcoming project may signal an expansion or shift on the part of Disney, who hasn't made a fully original live-action movie musical since the era of "High School Musical."

Gurinder Chadha, for her own part, has experience in the world of musicals. Not only was "Bend It Like Beckham" adapted into a West End musical in 2015 — for which Chadha and Berges wrote the book — but "Bride and Prejudice," her 2004 follow-up to "Bend It Like Beckham," incorporates musical numbers recognizable to both western musical fans and Bollywood musical lovers. It was the first film in history to open at number one at both British and Indian box offices on the very same day.