Jesminder’s traditional Sikh parents want her to be ‘good’ by completing university and marrying an Indian man. However, due to local influences, Jesminder dreams of playing football professionally. The film explores how Jesminder finds a way to integrate her parents wants (Indian culture) with her own desires (British culture).
Brought up in Britain, Jesminder and her sister are heavily influenced by the British culture. Jesminder has changed her name to Jess, a name she only uses when away from family. Similarly, her sister’s name (Pinky) is obviously not Indian.
Pinky has also adopted a British accent as well as a vocabulary of British slang. Both Jess and her sister’s behaviours display common traits of British people. For example, Pinky can always be seen using British slang. Her use of the tag ‘innit’ instead of ‘isn’t it’ and insult, ‘you silly cow! ’ clearly reflect the influence. Cows are regarded as sacred in the Indian culture hence her use of ‘cow’ to insult explains her gradual deviation from Sikh traditions. However, the sisters still use certain Indian terms such as ‘Gorah’ which refers to a white person.
Director Chadha’s use of dialogue allows viewers to observe how Jess incorporates British slang with Indian terms. The dialogues show the importance of integration but a balance must be found so we do not abandon the values which we grew up with. Our daily life should contain balanced amounts of various things. Religion for Sikhs is very important; hence prayers and rituals are well incorporated into their daily lives. Although Jess is aware of her religion, she does not feel strongly about it like traditional Sikhs would.
... a direct result of the Sepoy Mutiny, the Indian presence in the British army was reduced to almost a half of what ... groups as the Sikhs, who were portrayed as model citizens and soldiers. Muslims, in particular were persecuted, because the British believed that ... , and in the Punjab the Sikhs were so hostile to the Muslims that they supported the British against the Mughal restoration in ...
A scene which shows Jess’ lack of interest in religion is when she receives her A-level results. Her mother, Mrs Bhamra, is praying to a picture of Guru Nanak – founder of Sikhism – for Jess’ results to be good. A combination of overhead shots and mid shots couples with Jess’ words, ‘Hurry up, mum,’ show that Jess does not really care about her religion. The overhead shots show Mrs Bhamra praying very sincerely while Jess, behind her mother, looks like she really could not care less. The following mid shot shows Jess opening the envelope quickly and roughly with a doubtful expression on her face.
This scene shows her awareness but disinterest and disbelief in her religion. Another scene shows that, even though Jess is aware that traditions are a part her life, she does not agree with them. Her football team mate asks her how she can stand having to marry who others want her to. The close up shot immediately next shows her saying, ‘it’s just culture’ with a nonchalant facial expression. The scene indicates that Jess knows the expectation of her to follow the traditions but may not strongly believe in those traditions.
Her actions indicate that we should not remain separate from the new environment, but to combine the old and the new. Another character that highlights integration of cultures is Jess’ best friend, Tony. Tony is also an Indian but he is gay. Homosexuality is not accepted in the Indian culture and is seldom talked about. 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.
... very important role in defining our family values and cultures. These traditions and cultures have been passed to our parents from our ... network of reciprocal commitments and shared social relationships. As a tradition routine, Sunday family dinner prepared by my father has ... and this promotes family solidarity. The Reflection on the Tradition Though we have a happy family, we also experience ...
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 attending. Jess’ father, allows her to play in the remainder half of the final, after seeing how upset she looks, saying, ‘if that (going to play in the finals) is the only way I can see you smiling at your sisters wedding, then go. ’ The technique of parallel cross cutting is then used to alternate between the match and the wedding. At the end of the cross cutting, the camera tracks Jess’ ball into the goal.
That combined with a song containing the lyrics, ‘I shall win,’ coupled with Pinky being picked up by her husband at the wedding party portrays a happiness and victory from both Jess’ and Pinky’s point of view. The happiness here relates to how integrating culture is also a happy thing. This scene suggests the importance of integration and accentuates how a simple act of accepting integration can make such a great difference. The technique of film editing (parallel cross cutting) shows coexistence of both cultures together.
Director Chadha uses film editing to show how two different cultures can be combined together happily. The technique of music is used to show that cultural integration is a happy thing. In the conclusion, Jess’ parents realise the importance of integration instead of separation, and approve of her dream of playing football. The scene where her parents agree contains the technique of music to highlight the importance of integration. The soft but grand music creates a victorious mood which accentuates that integration has a happy and positive outcome.
The very last scene where Mr Bhamra (Jess’ father) is teaching Joe how to bowl shows the successful integration of Jess’ parents. The following and last object shown is an ice cream truck playing its joyous music. This final music reiterates the positive gains through integrating cultures. The icecream truck symbolises fun and childhood values. When combined, the duo playing cricket together and the icecream truck signifies the importance of integrating but not losing those childhood values.
... his father and his legacy.Rather than promote the integration of cultures of Americans and Japanese, the American characters in Sayonara ... femininity and the like.Although superficially posing as an antiwar film, Sayonara is hardly convincing as any discussion about the ... underlying themes present in the 1957 film Sayonara. Marchetti argues that, if anything, the film is much more involved with civil ...
Moreover, since the last scene is about joyous and successful integration, it (integration) is the most memorable idea presented in the film. Director Chadha uses the technique of music and symbolism to effectively suggest that the outcome of integrating cultures is positive. Another technique used is costume. While the Indian females in the film wear their traditional clothes (saris), the Indian males in the film do not. Instead, the males wear Western clothes (suits).
This difference is emphasised by the Indian television programme which Mrs Bhamra watches in the film.
The males in those programmes wear their traditional clothes. At Pinky’s wedding party, viewers can again see that the only people wearing traditional clothes are the performers. The female teenagers even wear Indian clothes that have been modernised and westernised. The difference of males and females wearing western and eastern clothes reveals that the Sikh-Indian population as a whole has slowly integrated the British culture with the Indian culture. Director Chadha has used costume to show that the world today where integration is very important.
This film, Bend it Like Beckham, implies that even though integrating different cultures is often very difficult, it is still possible. Jess and other characters’ successful integration of the values of the British culture with that of the Indian culture, show the importance of balanced integration. Although we may not always be in the same situation and our problems may not be the same as Jess’, Director Chadha’s intentions to show the importance of keeping balance while integrating, help us to understand that whatever we do, a balance must always be kept.
We do not have to abandon our prior values to integrate, and we should not have to abandon our true selves to join a group. In those cases, a balance between our values and the commitment is required. However, we should not refrain from integration or joining a group due to fears of inability to balance. Overall, Director Gurinder Chadha’s film, Bend it Like Beckham addresses the theme of balanced cultural integration which reflects on the need for a balance in our lives, and the need to integrate into a new environment.
... this binary opposition in Indian film: GOODEVIL HeroineVamp HeroVillain Indian societyWesternisation MoneyPoverty Love Loneliness Ever Indian film shows a struggle between ... inimical and threatening to Indian familial social tradition. Villains tended to wear western clothes; westernized women were ... designers have become so trendy that many create clothes for exclusive weddings of the ultra rich as ...