Bend It Like Beckham

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Bend It Like Beckham
Two sporty girls hugging.
British theatrical release poster
Directed by Gurinder Chadha
Produced by
  • Gurinder Chadha
  • Deepak Nayare
Written by
Story by Gurinder Chadha
Starring
Music by Craig Pruess
Cinematography Jong Lin
Edited by Justin Krish
Production
companies
Distributed by Redbus Film Distribution
Release dates
  • 12 April 2002 (2002-04-12)
Running time
112 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • United States
Language
  • English
  • Punjabi
  • German
  • Hindi
Budget $6 million (£3.7 million)
Box office $76.6 million[2]

Bend It Like Beckham is a 2002 romantic sports and Indian-themed comedy-drama film produced, written, and directed by Gurinder Chadha, and starring Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anupam Kher, Shaznay Lewis, and Archie Panjabi.

The film's title refers to the football player David Beckham, and his skill at scoring from free kicks by curling the ball past a wall of defenders. It follows the 18-year-old daughter of Punjabi Sikhs in London. She is infatuated with football but her parents have forbidden her to play because she is a girl. She joins a local women's team, which makes its way to the top of the league.

Bend It Like Beckham was released theatrically on 12 April 2002 by Redbus Film Distribution, and on DVD and VHS on 18 November 2002 by Warner Home Video. The film surprised critics and was met with mostly positive reviews and it earned over $76 million on a $6 million budget. A stage musical version opened at London's Phoenix Theatre on 24 June 2015.[3]

Plot[edit]

Jesminder "Jess" Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is the 18-year-old daughter of Punjabi Sikhs living in Hounslow, London. Juliette "Jules" Paxton (Keira Knightley) is the same age and the daughter of a native English family. Jess is infatuated with football, but because she's a woman, her family won't let her play. However, she sometimes plays in the park with boys including her best friend, Tony (Ameet Chana), a closet homosexual.

Whilst on a jog through the park, Jules discovers Jess' skills, befriends her, and invites her to try out for the local women's football team, the Hounslow Harriers coached by Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Jess is extremely happy and excited about the tryouts, even though Joe is skeptical about a new player joining the team. After seeing Jess' skills, Joe accepts her on the team and Jess lies to Joe about her parents being cool with the idea. Jess develops an attraction toward Joe, and when the team plays in Hamburg, Germany and goes out clubbing, they're caught about to kiss by Jules, who also has a crush on Joe, souring Jess and Jules' friendship, as Jules is adamant she'd told Jess about her crush. When Jess goes to Jules' house to try to patch up their friendship, Jules' mother (Juliet Stevenson) is misled and thinks they're hiding a lesbian relationship.

Meanwhile, having discovered that Jess has been playing football behind their backs, Jess' parents (Anupam Kher and Shaheen Khan) become more strict and forbid Jess from playing any more matches. The elder Bhamras are also distracted by their elaborate wedding plans for Jess' older sister, Pinky (Archie Panjabi). Thanks to Jess and Jules' skills, the Harriers reach the finals of the league tournament. Unfortunately, the final and Pinky's wedding are on the same day. Joe pleads with Mr. Bhamra to allow Jess to play, but Mr. Bhamra refuses, revealing that he doesn't want Jess to suffer the same way he did when he was kicked out of the cricket club because of his being an Indian.

Joe accepts that Jess isn't allowed to play, and the final begins without her. But halfway through Pinky's wedding, Tony convinces Mr. Bhamra to let Jess go. He agrees, and Tony drives Jess to the game, where the Harriers are losing 1-0 with half an hour left. Jess and Jules tie the score, and when Jess is awarded a free kick, she must bend the ball around the wall of players to score. She succeeds and the Harriers win the tournament. Jess and Jules are offered scholarships at Santa Clara University in California, which Jules tells her parents immediately, whereas Jess has trouble telling hers. Jules and her mother arrive at the wedding so that Jules can celebrate with Jess. When Mrs. Paxton accuses Jess of being a hypocrite and a lesbian, Jules grabs her mother and runs off in shame.

Jess still hasn't told her parents about the scholarship. Tony decides to lie to the family and tells them he's engaged to Jess as long as she gets to go to any college she wants. Jess reveals the lie and her mother blames Jess's father for allowing her to play and refuses Tony's proposal. Jess's father convinces her mother to accept Tony after telling her he doesn't want Jess suffering like he did. Jess flees to the football field to tell Joe of her parents' decision. The two almost kiss, but Jess pulls away, saying her parents would object, and that although they had come far enough to let her go to America to play, she doesn't think they would be able to handle another cultural rebellion from her.

On the day of Jess' and Jules' flight, Jules' mother gives her daughter a football jersey and wishes her good luck. The two are about to board the plane when Joe arrives and confesses his love for Jess. The two kiss and Jess agrees to sort out their relationship (and her parents) when she returns for Christmas. Jess and Jules send their parents a team photograph, and it is revealed that Pinky is pregnant. Mr. Bhamra practises cricket with Joe's help.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was located in Hounslow in west London.

Casting and music[edit]

On 8 March 2002, it was announced that Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley would play the two lead roles in the film, while Archie Panjabi and Jonathan Rhys Meyers were in early talks to join the cast. On 14 March 2002, Shaznay Lewis and Anupam Kher were also in final talks to join the film, Shaheen Khan was added to the cast, playing Mrs. Bhamra, mother of Jess and on 20 March 2002, Juliet Stevenson and Frank Harper joined the cast of the film, playing Paula Paxton and Alan Paxton, mother and father of Jules. Craig Pruess scored the music for the film and on its soundtrack. The soundtrack also contains "Titles" performed by Craig Pruess and Bally Sagoo featuring Gunjan, "Inner Smile" performed by Texas, "Jind Mahi" performed by Malkit Singh, "Noorie" performed by Bally Sagoo and Gunjan, "I Wish" performed by Victoria Beckham, "Kinna Sohna" performed by Gunjan, "Tere Bin Nahin Lagda" performed by Partners in Rhyme and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, "Independence Day" performed by Melanie C, "Darshan" performed by B21, "Hot Hot Hot" performed by Bina Mistry, "Atomic" performed by Blondie, "Hai Raba!" performed by Craig Pruess and Bally Sagoo featuring Gunjan, "Nessun Dorma" performed by Tito Beltrán, "Move on Up" performed by Curtis Mayfield, "Punjabiyan Di Shaan" performed by Hans Raj Hans, "Baddest Ruffest" performed by Backyard Dog, "Tere Bin Nahin Lagda" performed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and "Do Your Thing" performed by Basement Jaxx.

Filming[edit]

The film was filmed at Bara Hall Park, Hayes, Middlesex, England, UK, Hamburg, Germany, Hotel Steigenberger, Hamburg, Germany, Hounslow, Middlesex, England, UK, London Heathrow Airport, London Borough of Hillingdon, London, England, UK, Southall, Middlesex, England, UK, Contessa Lingerie Shop, Twickenham, Middlesex, England, UK, Damini Store, Southall, Middlesex, England, UK, Elbe River, Lower Saxony, Germany, Gunnersbury Park, London, England, UK, Hounslow Central tube station, Hounslow, Middlesex, England, UK, Molesey Football Club, Walton Road, West Molesey, Surrey, England, UK, Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England, UK, Soccer Scene, Carnaby Street, Soho, London, England, UK, Sutton Square, Heston, Hounslow, Middlesex, England, UK, The Broadway, Southall, Middlesex, England, UK, Twickenham Film Studios, St Margarets, Twickenham, Middlesex, England, UK, Yeading Football Club, Middlesex, England, UK and Piccadilly Circus, Piccadilly, London, England, UK in 2002.

Release[edit]

Theatrical[edit]

Bend It Like Beckham was released theatrically on 12 April 2002 by Redbus Film Distribution. The film then received a limited theatrical release in the United States on 12 March 2003 by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and VHS on 18 November 2002 by Warner Home Video. Among the DVD bonus features, there are several scenes that did not make the final release. Some of these scenes include dialogue from Pinky's friends as well as Jules, her mother meeting Kevin and his friends outside a shop, which would have been helpful because Kevin is mentioned three times but is never seen.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Jonathan Rhys Meyers was praised by critics for his performance.

The film surprised critics and was met with mostly positive reviews. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times noted that the film "was really full of easy humor, an impeccable sense of milieu that is the result of knowing the culture intimately enough to poke fun at it while understanding its underlying integrity."[4] The Times of India noted the film's social context, saying, "[it] is really about the bending of rules, social paradigms and lives – all to finally curl that ball, bending it like Beckham, through the goalpost of ambition [...] The creeping divide shows that Britain is changing, but hasn't quite changed yet. The stiff upper lip has travelled miles from the time Chadha's father was denied a pint at some pubs at Southall, but like dollops of coagulated spice in badly stirred curry, discrimination crops up to spoil the taste, every now and then, in multi-racial Britain."[5]

Planet Bollywood gave the film a 9 out of 10 and stated that the "screenplay not only explores the development of Jesse as a person, but also the changing values and culture of NRI teens: Jesse's urge to break the social norm of the Indian homemaker, her sister's (Archie Punjabi) sexually-active relationship, and the gay Indian [Tony, played by Ameet Chana]."[6] The Hindu argued "if ever there is a film that is positive, realistic and yet delightful, then it has to be Dream Production's latest venture directed by Gurinder Chadha [...] Light hearted, without taking away the considerable substance in terms of values, attitudes and the love for sport, the film just goes to prove that there are ways to be convincing and honest."[7] The BBC gave it 4 out of 5 stars and argued that "Mr. Beckham ought to be proud to have his name on such a great film."[8] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives Bend It like Beckham a rating of 85%, based upon 147 reviews (125 fresh and 22 rotten).[9] The British film was distributed by iDream Productions in India,[10] and went on to set the record in India for most number of tickets sold during a single weekend for a foreign movie.

Box office[edit]

Bend It Like Beckham also became the highest-grossing Indian-themed film ever in the USA, with $32 million in box office revenue.[11]

Accolades[edit]

Wins[edit]

Nominations[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

Music from the Motion Picture Bend It Like Beckham
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released 2002
Recorded 2000-2002
Genre Bhangra
Pop
Label Milan Entertainment (US)
Cube Records (UK)
Producer Various artists
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars link

The UK release of the soundtrack features bhangra music, songs by the Spice Girls' Victoria Beckham and Melanie C and rock band Texas. It also features "Baddest Ruffest" by Backyard Dog, the aria Nessun Dorma, from Puccini's Turandot and excerpts from dance band Basement Jaxx. The USA release rearranges the tracks and excludes some material. "Dream the Dream" appears in the movie but did not make the final cut on the soundtrack.

UK release[edit]

  1. Craig Pruess & Bally Sagoo Feat. Gunjan – "Titles"
  2. Blondie – "Atomic"
  3. Backyard Dog – "Baddest Ruffest"
  4. B21 – "Darshan"
  5. (Movie Dialogue) – "It's Beckham's Corner"
  6. Victoria Beckham – "I Wish"
  7. (Movie Dialogue) – "Learn To Cook Dahl"
  8. Malkit Singh – "Jind Mahi"
  9. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – "Tere Bin Nahin Lagda"
  10. Bally Sagoo Feat Gunjan – "Noorie"
  11. (Movie Dialogue) – "Juicy Juicy Mangoes"
  12. Basement Jaxx – "Do Your Thing"
  13. (Movie Dialogue) – "Eyes Down"
  14. Texas – "Inner Smile"
  15. Melanie C – "Independence Day"
  16. (Movie Dialogue) – "Can't Make Round Chapattis"
  17. Hans Raj Hans – "Punjabiyan Di Shaan"
  18. Gunjan – "Kinna Sohna"
  19. Tito Beltrán – "Nessun Dorma"
  20. (Movie Dialogue) – "The Offside Rule Is"
  21. Bina Mistry – "Hot Hot Hot"
  22. Craig Pruess & Bally Sagoo Feat. Gunjan – "Hai Raba!"
  23. Curtis Mayfield – "Move on Up"

US release[edit]

  1. Craig Pruess & Bally Sagoo Feat. Gunjan – "Titles"
    • (Movie Dialogue) – "It's Beckham's Corner"
  2. Texas – "Inner Smile"
  3. Malkit Singh – "Jind Mahi"
  4. Bally Sagoo Feat Gunjan – "Noorie"
    • (Movie Dialogue) – "Learn To Cook Dahl"
  5. Victoria Beckham – "I Wish"
    • (Movie Dialogue) – "Juicy Juicy Mangoes"
  6. Gunjan – "Kinna Sohna"
  7. Partners in Rhyme (featuring Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) – "Tere Bin Nahin Lagda"
    • (Movie Dialogue) – "Can't Make Round Chapattis"
  8. Melanie C – "Independence Day"
  9. B21 – "Darshan"
    • (Movie Dialogue) – "Eyes Down"
  10. Bina Mistry – "Hot Hot Hot"
  11. Blondie – "Atomic"
  12. Craig Pruess & Bally Sagoo Feat. Gunjan – "Hai Raba!"
  13. Tito Beltrán – "Nessun Dorma"

North Korean broadcast[edit]

To mark the tenth anniversary of North Korea's relations with the United Kingdom, an edited version of Bend It Like Beckham was broadcast on North Korean state television on 26 December 2010. The British Ambassador to South Korea, Martin Uden, said it was the "1st ever Western-made film to air on TV" in North Korea.[13]

Stage musical[edit]

A stage musical version of the film opened at London's Phoenix Theatre in 2015.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bend It Like Beckham (12)". British Board of Film Classification. 11 March 2002. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Bend It Like Beckham at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ a b "Bend It Like Beckham the Musical". 
  4. ^ Turan, Kenneth (12 March 2003). "Bend it Like Beckham: Movie Review". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Review: Bend it like Beckham is like curry at the Wayback Machine (archived 2 March 2009)[dead link]. Times of India review. 10 July 2002
  6. ^ Bend It Like Beckham. Planet Bollywood review. (27 June 2003). Retrieved on 3 November 2011.
  7. ^ Bend It Like Beckham. The Hindu. 19 July 2002
  8. ^ Jamie Russell Bend it Like Beckham (2002). Bbc.co.uk (11 April 2002). Retrieved on 3 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Bend It Like Beckham". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  10. ^ SSKI's Shripal Morakhia divests 50% stake in iDream to management team. Indiantelevision. 23 April 2014.
  11. ^ Dropping Lesbian Romance from Beckham the Right Decision. AfterEllen.com. Retrieved on 3 November 2011.
  12. ^ http://espn.go.com/espys/
  13. ^ "North Korea bends it like Beckham in UK film first". BBC. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 

External links[edit]