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The intriguing tale of how Sundance Film Festival hit, ‘Blinded by the Light’, got its Springsteen seal of approval | News | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS
JOLANDA BAKKER

The intriguing tale of how Sundance Film Festival hit, ‘Blinded by the Light’, got its Springsteen seal of approval

'Blinded by the Light' not only got a standing ovation at Sundance but it got a big distribution deal

According to Variety, Blinded By The Light, from director Gurinder Chadha, which tells a coming-of-age story set in late ’80s England, not only got a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival but got a big distribution deal with New Line for world rights worth $15 million.

The story is a partly autobiographical story of a Pakistani teenager who falls in love with Springsteen’s music even against the strong disapproval of his parents. The movie’s main character, Javid, actually seems to be Sarfaz Mansoor, author of the book Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll.

As the director Chadha tells her story, they got the rights to use 17 Springsteen songs by chance. “Sarfraz is like a super fan of Bruce’s. He’s seen him 150 times, so much so that Bruce recognizes him at concerts, because he’s probably the only Pakistani in the audience, and he’s got a big afro.”

“In 2010, Bruce was attending the premiere of his film The Promise in London. I was invited. I took Sarfraz as my plus one. We stood on the red carpet, hoping to take photographs with him. As he walked down, he banana-ed and walked over to Sarfraz and said, ‘Man, I read your book! It’s really beautiful.’ Sarfraz started hyperventilating. And then I ran over and sort of seized the moment and said, ‘Hi Bruce! My name is Gurinder. I’m a film director. We really want to make a film of the book.’ He looked at Sarfraz and me and said, ‘Sounds good. Talk to Jon Landau [his manager]’.”

Preparing the movie, Chadha and Mansoor sent a draft of the script to Springsteen and got a response: “I’m all good with this. Give them what they want.” 

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