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Chadha sets chiller in the ‘Afterlife’

Director takes a scary turn with new feature

Having previously dealt with soccer and snogging, British-Asian helmer Gurinder Chadha is turning her hand to a good old-fashioned scare.

Chadha is prepping “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife,” described by the helmer as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” meets “Shaun of the Dead.”

Story follows a British-Asian mother whose obsession to marry off her daughter comically leads to serial murder.

“It’s a comic caper very much in the tradition of classic Ealing comedies,” Chadha told Daily Variety. “It’s a return for me to the characters and setting of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ but in a different genre, namely horror, although I would say that the gore will be easy on the eye.”

Chadha is casting the multicultural project, which has a budget of about $10 million. Lensing begins in the U.K. in February.

She’s co-writing and producing the pic with husband Paul Berges. The two previously collaborated on Chadha’s 2002 breakout hit “Bend It Like Beckham,” the U.K.’s third-highest grossing indie film with a local cume of $18.5 million.

The husband-and-wife team also worked together on Chadha’s Aishwarya Rai starrer “Bride and Prejudice” as well as this year’s “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.” Latter pic has been a solid hit at the U.K. box office, bringing in $10 million to date.

HanWay Films is handling international sales for “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife” as part of its AFM slate, which also includes helmer Jon Amiel’s Charles Darwin drama “Creation,” starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly, as well as Michael Caine starrer “Harry Brown.”

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