Major Themes in Bend It Like Beckham

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Bend it like Beckham is a film that was written, directed, and produced by Gurinder Chadha, a British film maker who was grew up in India. The film focuses on the main character's desire to play football and the conflict she faces due to her obligations to her traditional Sikh family. The character, Jess Bhamra, must make the decision to pursue football or follow her parent's wishes and complete school and marry and Indian man. As Jess struggles to find her own identity without losing her family, she befriends a British footballer Jules. Jules' parents offer an interesting parallel to Jess' family, showing that although cultures may be very different in some ways, they are actually very similar in others. Director Chadha explains that Jess's coming-of-age story represents "the nuts and bolts of integration" and the experience of being part of a "diasporic culture."(McClain, 2005). In addition to cultural issues, racial, gender and sexual discrimination are also dealt with by characters in the movie. The film presents several aspects of India culture such as; religious beliefs, traditional roles of Sikh woman and the importance of Indian rituals and cuisine. Jess often lacks enthusiasm for her culture, much to her parents' dismay. Throughout the movie, Jess' family and especially her mother, often pray to a picture of an old man with a long white beard that hangs above the fireplace mantel. The man is Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism (Sighn, 1998). When Jess' mother is praying to Guru for "A-level results" on Jess' exams, Jess tells her mother to hurry up. While Jess' mother takes her religion and tradition very seriously, Jess is disinterested. Religion is a very important aspect of Sikh culture, as they include prayers and rituals into their daily lives (Gold, 1996).

Jess' reluctance to submit to the traditional role as a Sikh woman is a major conflict between her and her parents. Jess is experiencing integration with British culture. Although Jess does not...
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