Born 1953 in Sevagram, India. Lives and works in the United Kingdom
Udayan Parasad was born in India, but immigrated to Britain with his family in 1962. He studied at the National Film and Television School, London, and then moved into television, where he directed a number of documentaries such as “A Corner of a Foreign Field” (Channel 4, 1986) and “Indian or British or Both?” (ITV, 1986). He then directed a series of television films for the BBC: “Here is the News” (1989), a conspiracy theory thriller written by G.F. Newman; “102 Boulevard Haussmann” (1991), an Alan Bennett-scripted account of the relationship between Marcel Proust and his maid, Celeste; and three comedies “They Never Slept” (1991), “Running Late” (1992), and “Femme Fatale” (1993) written by Simon Gray. Prasad moved into feature films with “Brothers in Trouble” (1995) and “My Son, the Fanatic” (1997), both of which show a keen sense of the diasporic concerns of many British-Asian filmmakers of his generation. “My Son, the Fanatic,” scripted by Hanif Kureishi from his own novel, shows the religious and generational differences that manifest themselves in a British Muslim family where the son becomes a fundamentalist and vilifies his “Westernized” taxi-driving father, who drinks and has a relationship with a prostitute. This is a neat inversion of the standard representation of generational conflict – the “Westernized” youths of “Bhaji on the Beach” (dir. Gurinder Chadha, 1994) or “East is East” (dir. Damien O'Donnell, 1999), for example, struggle against their more traditional parents – and demonstrates that cultural identity is a highly complex issue. Both films were critically well-received but made little at the box-office. Prasad returned to television to direct “Playing Sandwiches” (BBC, 1998) in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads series, and episodes of the comedy drama Big Bad World (ITV, 1999), before making “Gabriel and Me” (2001) for the Lottery-funded Film Consortium. Written by Lee Hall and centering upon an 11 year-old boy in the North East, it inevitably attracted comparisons with “Billy Elliot” (dir. Stephen Daldry, 2000), few of them favorable. His imaginative documentary “According to Beryl” (2001) for the BBC's Arena arts programme (1975-) displayed his talents more effectively.
Contribution: Participates in Station 3: The Movie Theater East of Eden, Aarhus, with “My Son, the Fanatic,” United Kingdom 1997. 35mm (color), 87 min. Courtesy of the artist and Studio Canal Image, France. The film is screened on Tuesday, October 12, 2004, from 7:30 – 9 pm.