Express Review of Blinded by the Light
There are similar coincidences between Bend it Like Beckham, Gurinder Chadha’s 2002 hit comedy and her new film Blinded by the Light: A Pakistani family struggling to live in the UK with a strict father, and sons willing to leave behind their parents’ prejudices and live their lives as young Brits.
In both films the main character chooses a profession rejected by his/her parents (female footballer/writer), there’s a family wedding when the protagonist disappears to pursue his/her dreams (to play football game in ”Bend it like Beckham”, to buy Bruce Springsteen’s concert tickets in ”Blinded by the Light”), a dinner with a British family to annoy and be annoyed, an ending when the star realises that he/she has to make peace with the past to have a future. Both films have huge similarities. But the treatment has changed. “Bend it like Beckham” was a giant joke, full of humour and joy, where everything was going to be fine, and even the opposition of the parents was treated with benevolence.
Years have passed now and Chadha is still optimistic but the point of view is more sceptical. The family is object of daily racist attacks, brutally shown, their interactions are more dramatic, the adolescent‘s feelings are bitter. Still, Chadha has a great talent to make fun of daily situations creating an enjoyable movie.
It might just be that Blinded by the Light is not a strict comedy, but it definitely is very funny, optimistic, and with a strong feel-good factor. The movie has elements of musical, comedy, and, especially the first half, is a great study of the frustration and anguish of being a teenager trying to find your own way. But above all, it is a wonderful love letter to the Boss, and the way many people found their voices thanks to his lyrics, about how music gives you strength before finding your own way. And Viveik Kalra is terrific as Javed. I strongly recommend it. Not only because it is very entertaining, but also because our Pablo Lario is in all the cafeteria scenes. Enjoy!