Bend It Like Beckham
The movie is set in contemporary England, in suburban London. The main character, Jesminder Bhamra, is an 18-year-old Indian girl with a passion for football (as well as for the universal poster boy for the sport, David Beckham), but with ultra-conservative immigrant parents. Jess and her sister Pinky are both born and bred in London, but are subject to all social and religious rituals, ranging from dressing in the traditional Indian sari to marriage arrangements.
And football, the ultimate example of an unsuitable activity for a young Indian girl up for possible marriage offers, is definitely not part of the list. Jess meets Jules, a British girl with a football team, and eventually they play the game together (mostly without the knowledge of Jess’ parents), and become best friends. They end up being rivals for the affection of their coach (his being non-Indian becomes yet another violation in the cultural beliefs), and later Jess succumbs to the pressures of keeping with her family’s culture and traditions.
The story closes with Jess winning the coach’s heart and her parents’ approval to play football, all the way in America. II. Geographic Application Outside of India, Asian Indians are perceived to be hardworking, intelligent, advanced and adept at technology while still faithful to their culture’s many traditions and rituals. Most of them are profiled as professionals and small-business owners, specifically in the United States. Children of Indian immigrants are often expected to marry within their community, in an apparent objective to preserve the pure Indian heritage (Pavri, 2007).
In the movie, Jess’ sister Pinky had been arranged to marry Teetu, whom she loves, and is still expected to conduct herself as a traditional Indian bride-to-be. A single piece of information that goes against social decorum is adjudged shameful and brings dishonor to the family. When Teetu’s family mistakes Jules for a boy, they immediately cancel the wedding plans because it is unacceptable for their soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s sister to have relations with a “filthy English boy” (Chadha, 2003).
A good name and reputation is of utmost importance in the Indian community, an ideal they have kept alive even in a locale as culturally diverse as London. The wedding preparations and rituals are used as the movie’s continuity device, representing the unwavering adherence to the Indian culture even in modern-day England. From the names of the characters (“Pinky” and “Jess”) to the desires expressed (street fashion for Pinky and football for Jess), we see an attempt to expose the rebellion and changing mindsets of children of immigrants.
Cultural diffusion is the transmission of one culture’s ideals to another, and this is clearly shown; second-generation Indians, having been born and bred in the new country, while aware of their own culture, will most likely absorb and prefer many of the liberal values espoused by their Caucasian peers (Frochlic, 2006). The character of Jess exemplifies this thinking as showcased in her choices: clothes, interests, attitude.
The stereotype acts of rebellion are even included, such as playing with a team instead of going to a job at a record store, sneaking off to a football match under the guise of visiting cousins, entertaining the affections of her male Irish coach, and even idolizing the British Beckham, who is hardly an icon that represents Indian culture. Racism is also an issue tackled in the film, from when Jess’ father reveals that he was also into football in his younger days, but was hardly given a chance as an immigrant to England, primarily because of his origins.
In Jess’ case, one of the football players in the opposing team called her a “Paki”, a derogatory term used against Indians. This is substantiated by the fact that in the UK, racism accounts for a bigger percentage in ethnic minorities than Caucasians (Frohlich, 2006). III. Personal Observations The character of Jesminder Bhamra typifies second-generation immigrants all over the Western World—caught between old and new, tradition and progression, acceptance and rebellion. This is demonstrated in the way she tried to pursue her dream, but with her family’s values following her every move.
Considering the tight cultural expectations of an Indian family, I think it is quite normal for a girl of Jess’ age to react exactly the way she did. Someone older, like her sister Pinky, while also modern and really more British than Indian had a bit more maturity to understand and handle the issues and concerns surrounding Indian marriages, weddings, and brides-to-be. Should I opt to live in a foreign country would probably not affect my values as an American, seeing as our culture has been introduced and explained to the rest of the world through music, cinema and other avenues.
Moreover, the fact that the American culture is also symbolic of freedom and diversity allows it to assimilate and adapt to others pretty well.
Pavri, Tinaz. “Asian Indian Americans. ” Countries and Their Cultures: Multicultural America, 2007. http://www. everyculture. com/multi/A-Br/Asian-Indian-Americans. html Frohlich, Vinzent. “Asian Indians in Great Britain: A Success Story? ” University of Potsdam English Department, 2006. http://www. grin. com/en/fulltext/kul/27029. html Chadha, Gurinder, dir. Bend It Like Beckham. Perf. Parminder Nagra. Fox Searchlight, 2003.Sample Essay of Custom-Writing