Director/producer Gurinder Chadha returns with another big screen offering with British Asian flavour. Find out what we make of her new flick, Blinded By The Light.
By Jas Pandohar
With Blinded By The Light London based filmmaker Gurinder Chadha is back to Bend it Like Beckham territory and form. You don't have to be a Bruce Springsteen fan, British or Asian to enjoy this heart warming, coming-of-age story inspired by British journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir “Greetings From Bury Park”.
Set in 1987, during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, Blinded By The Light is a joyous tale of a Luton born and raised Pakistani teenager who learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the words and music of Bruce Springsteen.
Starring newcomer Viveik Kalra (Next of Kin, Beecham House) alongside funnyman Kulvinder Ghir (Bend it Like Beckham) and Brit star Hayley Atwell (Avengers: Endgame), the plot revolves around Javed (Kalra), a young teen trying to discover his identity in a world that divides him in two.
On one one hand there is his strict factory worker father (Ghir) whose conservative views on life and his son's future career stifle him. On the other are his English teacher (Atwell) and fellow students whose passion for literature, music and politics excite him. Javed is about as far as he can be from his Asian peers and siblings who are more interested in exploring bhangra at daytimers.
While some may go off the rails and bury their heads in clouds of cigarette smoke or cans of cider, Javed sees how hard his parents work for his benefit and tries to find a middle ground. It comes as a surprise to all, including local racists, that salvation comes in the form of a casette tape gifted by his Sikh college mate. Soon the sounds of The Boss evade Javed's life. Springsteen's lyrics about the plight of the downtrodden working class speak volumes to him thousands of miles from across the Atlantic.
If you're searching for a light-hearted, easy to understand look at the British Asian culture clash, Blinded By The Light is that feature film. The comedy drama depicts the universal struggle we all face in establishing our identities in a family and society where being different forces you to stand out and stand up for yourself. High five to Chadha and Manzoor for getting this film financed, made and distributed world wide. It will mean a lot to many.
Blinded By The Light releases UK wide on August 9th.