Review of Bend It Like Beckham


This movie started out as a British-Indian film.  Then, it became a British film.  Now, it is a classic movie that has been accepted by a worldwide audience.  The movie’s motto is- “Who wants to cook Aloo Gobi when you can bend a ball like Beckham?”  It turns out that this message appeals not just to British teenagers, but also to teenagers in America, India, Australia and everywhere else.  With this movie, Gurinder Chada establishes herself as a director who can bring Indian stories to a global audience putting her in the same league as Mira Nair. 


The movie operates at many levels.  At one level, it is the story of how an Indian family in Britain resists acculturation.  The young Indian lady who wants to be a soccer star has to fight tradition as well as the bitter racial experiences of her father.  At another level, it is the story of sports and women.  The universality of the movie emerges from this theme.  Even though, women have long had the opportunity to participate in sports in Western societies, cultural acceptance of athletic women has been hard to come by.  In the movie, the enduring friendship between the young Indian soccer star and her British peer is the pivotal relationship.  The most memorable character is, perhaps, the mother of the British soccer player who equates women athletes with a certain sexual persuasion!  Ultimately, the movie is about the empowerment of women. 


Gurinder succeeds in telling a powerful story without resorting to rants or lecturing the audience.  The humorous approach to these serious topics succeeds in bringing the message home. 



December 21, 2006

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