By David Gritten A couple of months ago, I sat in an editing room two floors above a bustling Soho street with the British film director Gurinder Chadha, best known for Bend It Like Beckham, and an editor named Martin Walsh.
They were perusing, frame by frame, a scene from Chadha's new film, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, adapted from a bestselling children's book in diary form by the author Louise Rennison.
Peter (Liam Hess) uses his bedroom for these sessions, and explains to his nervous clients the intricacies of snogging in the smooth, practised tones of a confident salesman.
He charges a modest sum for the service, uses appropriate background music, and keeps a meter running to count down to the lesson's end.
'Oh yeah, plaster his hair down over his forehead,' she said, doing precisely that, 'and he looks just like a little Indian accountant! 'The twins had been brought round from the couple's Soho flat for a brief mid-morning visit and cuddle with mum and dad; after 20 minutes they were on their way, and Chadha and Berges, admirably compartmentalising their careers and domestic lives, returned to work on the film.
This was just a tiny glimpse of the multi-tasking required of Chadha in getting Angus made for Paramount Pictures.
The humour in the scene comes from its innocence and awkwardness. The doors burst open, and in marched Chadha's husband and creative partner, the Japanese-American filmmaker Paul Mayeda Berges.
Dallas was to have been Chadha's first film in Hollywood, and she had already placed her plans to film Angus on hold to seize the opportunity.It is an amusing story, recounting the domestic and romantic ups and downs of a 14-year-old English girl, and the scene Chadha and Walsh were trying hard to perfect is one of the film's comic highlights.