Bend It Like Beckham Cultural Essay

1554 words 7 pages
Bend it Like Beckham (2002/3) is a romantic comedy written, directed and produced by Gurinder Chadha, a Kenya-born British film maker who grew up India. Director Chadha’s films often reflect on her complex background. Unlike many comedies, Bend it Like Beckham is filled with plenty of important themes. One of them addresses the importance of cultural integration.

Jesminder Bhamra, like the director, is British-Asian. Just like Director Chadha had refused to take traditional Punjabi dancing lessons and watch Bollywood films as a child, Jesminder unintentionally rebels when trying to integrate cultures. Jesminder’s traditional Sikh parents want her to be ‘good’ by completing university and marrying an Indian man. However, due to local
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This is evident when Jess’s friend’s mother mistakenly calls her a lesbian in front of her family; the older relatives have no idea what everyone else are talking about. Director Chadha uses Tony to highlight Jess’ integration in a scene where Tony confesses that he is gay. The over the shoulder shot focusing on Jess’ face immediately after his confession, used in conjunction with her incredulous words, ‘But you’re Indian,’ prove that even though Jess has lost some of her religious and cultural beliefs, she still thinks in the perspective of an Indian. Her expectations of both others and herself show that even though she has slowly integrated into the new environment, her prior knowledge is still part of who she is. Director Chadha’s use of characterisation here assists in viewers’ understanding of balanced integration. Although Jess does not strongly believe in her cultural traditions, this scene shows that the traditions are her roots. It suggests that we must still retain our values when integrating.

Film editing is used frequently in the film to stress important ideas. Jess tries to incorporate the British culture with the Indian culture, but, her parents choose to remain separate from the British community. Regardless, Jess still wishes to follow her dream of playing football professionally. At the end of the movie, Jess has to attend her sister's wedding and miss the final football match which a scout offering scholarships is