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Bend It Like Beckham _HOT_

Many sports movies, such as "Coach Carter," "Remember the Titans" and "Gridiron Gang," focus on a male coach instilling character into his players. A few do have women characters, but the genre is largely considered one for men and boys. "Bend It Like Beckham" -- along with films like "A League of Their Own," "Stick It" and "Love & Basketball" -- does not fit this pattern, and that alone makes it stand out, even to this day.

Bend It Like Beckham

This is the kind of tension and gender commentary that we expect from films today, but made "Bend It Like Beckham" so progressive for its time. These days, it's more accepted to have a more nuanced take on gender. It's "cool" to critique gender norms in a way that wasn't even 15 years ago. A film like newly released "Blockers" features a female character who is biracial (half South Asian actually) who was taught to love sports by her father (played by John Cena), feels like a direct character descendant of Jess. And yet "Bend It Like Beckham" doesn't feel old. The commentary offered still feels relevant because even though gender is being addressed in different ways in film, we're still catching up to the ideas Chada presented over a decade ago.

"It's honestly the plot of 'Pride and Prejudice' inside a soccer movie," says Heather Hogan, senior editor at, which covers LGBTQ culture and politics. "Both women being in love with coach Joe feels like it's wedged in there to convince the audience those two women aren't in love with each other.

She elaborated in her "Burn It All Down" interview, saying, "... I never played soccer, but I understood the metaphor of it and for me it was a film about people breaking the rules, but actually you're bending the rules."

She continued, "So what I did my whole life was bend the rules, and there were expectations of how I should behave as girl, as an Indian girl, and then a woman. I kept trying to duck and dive that to be who I am."

"Everybody jumped up and cheered. It was absolutely fantastic," Chadha said in a director's commentary clip from Fox Searchlight. "They were like, 'Oh she can bend a ball. It's not going to be a waste of time then.'"

Time capsule indeed! I loved this movie and I barely remember the Tony character! A re-watch is probably needed. Wasn't there a rumor that one of the leads was supposed to be male and they changed it? I can't seem to find with a cursory google search, but I feel like that was a rumor going around.

Eighteen year-old Jess's parents want her to be a nice, conventional Indian girl. But she just wants to play football like her hero, David Beckham, For Jess, that means kicking a ball around the local park with the lads until she's spotted by Jules, who invites her to join the local women's football team.

She has even shared a picture of her playing the hugely addictive game Fortnite on her laptop - which may explain why you're unlikely to see Parminder cropping up on your TV screen with anything more than a bit part.

While she has managed to land bit parts in TV shows like the second series of Netflix show Thirteen Reasons Why, her Instagram feed is filled with pictures of doing the school run and walking the dogs.

While marrying a nice Indian boy in a customary wedding ceremony and learning to cook a Punjabi dinner doesn't seem like a problem for her sister Pinky (Archie Panjabi), Jess would rather be out in the park, playing a good game of soccer with the neighborhood boys.

Bend it Like Beckham tells the story of Jesminder "Jess" Bhamra (Parminder Nagra), a British-Indian teen whose love of soccer conflicts with her traditional parents' ideas of how young women should behave. Directed by Gurinder Chadha, the movie opened in Britain in 2002 but didn't hit the states until 2003 (you can rent it on Amazon now). Unlike today, when movies often disappear from theaters in just a few weeks, Bend it Like Beckham was allowed a slow burn via word-of-mouth over the course of the summer. It earned a domestic total gross of over $32 million, a pretty great take for a small indie comedy in the early aughts. And the film's rabid fan base, many of whom are millennial women, still talks about the movie to this day on both sides of the Atlantic and across the world.

But the movie's box office success is a minor victory compared to its devotion to inclusivity and the prominence of female voices. Breaking down the components of Bend It Like Beckham is like checking off a list of inclusive requirements. You've got a writer and director who's a woman of color, as well as a lead character who is also a woman of color. There's a Bechdel Test-passing plot focusing on women in sports, and themes of fighting the patriarchy, breaking from tradition, and finding your own voice.

While Jess' parents may want her to adhere to their traditional Indian values and settle down with a nice husband, like her older sister Pinky (Archie Panjabi), Jess would rather sneak off and play soccer with her new best friend Jules (Keira Knightley). The internal struggle to please one's family versus the intense desire to find your heart's true contentment is a universal feeling known by many teens. The way Bend It approaches the subject, however, feels fresh, even 15 years later. As Jess battles her family, she also battles herself, yet is able to find her strength and express what she truly wants in the end.

Bend It Like Beckham is also just a seriously awesome girl power anthem. Although the movie's title is a reference to star soccer player David Beckham's ability to score goals by kicking the ball on a curved angle with incredible force, it also means much more than that. Bend It Like Beckham" is a great metaphor for a lot of us, especially girls," Chadha said in an interview in 2003. "We can see our goal but instead of going straight there, we too have to twist and bend the rules sometimes to get what we want."

For a Punjabi-Australian Muslim kid living in a conservative, overwhelmingly white town in regional NSW in the aftermath of 9/11, it was both shocking and extremely validating to see people who dressed and spoke like my family in a movie that was being warmly received by audiences of different backgrounds.

\\u201CI think that had a massive impact on how the film was received globally,\\u201D she said. \\u201CI think the world was quite shocked and beaten up by that, and here comes this innocent film that is trying to make people understand what it feels like to be different.\\u201D

Describing any single piece of art, especially a sport-themed, romantic comedy, as something that could heal the world after an event as globally traumatic as 9/11 risks coming across as overly hubristic, to say the least. But in the case of Bend It Like Beckham, it, if anything, actually undersells the film\\u2019s significance. And the clearest evidence of that is how, despite its enormous success at both the box office and among critics, there\\u2019s been nothing like it since.

Bend It Like Beckham broke new ground when it came to representationWhen I walked out of the cinema after watching Bend It Like Beckham for the first time (on my 12th birthday), I experienced something I couldn\\u2019t properly articulate until much later. It was the rush of seeing people like me and my family on screen. For South Asians living in the West, particularly Punjabis, it was one of the first times we\\u2019d seen our culture in a contemporary story that reflected our actual lives.

Chadha\\u2019s goal of making a film to try and \\u201Cmake people understand what it feels like to be different\\u201D, especially in a world as divided by hate as ours was during the War on Terror, resonated with a generation of migrant communities.

I can guarantee that no one else in my cinema back in 2002 had any idea what \\u201Caloo gobi\\u201D or a \\u201Cgora\\u201D was, but references to Punjabi food and culture felt like a wink from Chadha to someone like me. \\u201CI know this movie is for everyone, but I see you \\u2013 and it\\u2019s especially for us,\\u201D she was saying.

Everything from the anglicising of names (\\u201CJesminder\\u201D becoming \\u201CJess\\u201D), the pressure from parents to become a respected white-collar professional and the examination of racism in sport were all themes that felt like they\\u2019d be ripped from the diaries of second-generation South Asian kids living in Britain, Australia, Canada, the United States and New Zealand.

If all of that doesn\\u2019t sound fun enough, throw in Texas\\u2019 all-time banger Inner Smile, Nessun Dorma and Curtis Mayfield\\u2019s Move On Up (I like to imagine that Kanye West was watching Bend It Like Beckham when he decided to sample Mayfield for his hit Touch the Sky), and without a doubt you have the best soundtrack of all time.

A film like this in 2002 was seen as a rare oddity rather than something to emulate. That\\u2019s slowly changing with the rise of actors such as Dev Patel and Mindy Kaling, but the fact that it\\u2019s taken two decades to get just to this point is still an indictment on how disconnected mainstream cinema is from the lived reality of millions of people around the world.

NAGRA: When Bend It first came out, there was interest in a magazine doing a cover story, and [the marketing team talked] about putting me on the cover. They were told that actually, it would be better to put Keira on it because they would get more bums in seats. It was just hurtful, like, Wow, okay.

A kaleidoscope of color and culture clash humorously as an Indian family in London tries to raise their soccer-playing daughter in a traditional way. Unlike tarty elder sister Pinky, who is preparing for an Indian wedding and a lifetime of cooking the perfect chapatti, Jess' dream is to play soccer professionally like her hero David Beckham. Wholeheartedly against Jess' unorthodox ambition, her parents eventually reveal that their reservations have more to do with protecting her than with holding her back. When Jess is forced to make a choice between tradition and her beloved sport, her family must decide whether to let her chase her dream...and a soccer ball. 041b061a72


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