The president, Joseph Blatter, had been much taken with Nagra’s performance in Bend It Like Beckham, he added.
“We were pleasantly surprised that it was possible for Miss Nagra to come to Madrid at short notice,” he said.
Blatter said: “Bend It Like Beckham is a delight — a feel-good film that goes straight to the heart of all of us at Fifa. What really sets this movie apart for me is the fact it really is about the love of football. In my capacity as Fifa president, I have been working to promote women’s football for many years now, so I can also salute such excellent publicity for the game.”
He also said: “The film’s originality also resides in its context: that of Indian girls growing up in England. Jas also stands out, not only for her ball skills, but also for her cultural heritage. The film is also very funny.”
Meanwhile, more details were announced in London today about the English-language Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice.
“You know how it is with Bollywood stars,” Chadha told The Telegraph. “It is so difficult to get dates from them because they are working on so many films at the same time. But she has confirmed four months for next summer.”
The leading man opposite Aishwarya will be a Hollywood star of “matching” status, Chadha said. He will play “Will D’Arcy”. Chadha’s film will turn the Bennett family of Hertfordshire into the Bakshi family of India.
A statement from Pathe Pictures said: “Although based on Jane Austen’s classic novel of the same name, the film will adopt the now recognisable Bollywood conventions, with the narrative driven forward by a number of spectacular musical sequences. Lyrics are by the famous Akhtar family and music is by Anu Malik, India’s most prominent composer and recipient of this year’s President’s Award.”
The statement added: “Currently in pre-production in India, the film will commence principal photography in July, 2003, shooting on location in India, the UK and the US. Pathe Distribution will release the film in the UK and France. Pathe International will sell the film throughout the rest of the world.”