Dir. Gurinder Chadha, UK/Germany 2002, Certificate 12A
Bend It Like Beckham was one of the surprise hits of 2002, making over £11,000,000 at the UK Box Office and hitting a chord with a range of audiences at cinemas. A vibrant and colourful British comedy about a young girl from a Sikh family who desperately wants to play football against the wishes of her traditional parents, the film can be seen to follow the path of other recent British-Asian films such as Bhaji on the Beach, Anita and Me and East Is East in its examination of culture clashes and family traditions. Bend It Like Beckham takes these themes and adds extra ingredients to the dish – football, Shakespearean confusions over identity and sexuality, in-jokes about both British pop culture and the Sikh way of life, and a music soundtrack mixing a range of East/West sounds and musical styles. It is also useful to look at Bend It Like Beckham within a wider context of the British Asian experience in popular culture and media, such as portrayal of Asian culture on television including Ali G, Goodness Gracious Me, families in soaps such as Coronation Street and EastEnders – even the new Walkers Crisps advert has Gary Lineker in a mini-Bollywood musical - and the Asian language, music and fashion that has now flowed into the mainstream.
© Film Education 2003
Jesminder (known as Jess) is a Sikh teenager living in Hounslow, who loves to play football. Her parents disapprove, wanting her to settle down, get a job as a lawyer and marry a nice Indian boy. Meeting up with another teenage girl, Jules, while having a kick around in the park, Jess discovers there is a local girl’s football team and also that there is a chance she could play professionally. She joins the team (lying to the coach, Joe, that she has told her parents) and becomes best friends with Jules; whilst the team get a chance to go to Hamburg to play. In Germany, Jess and Jules have...