Major Themes in Bend It Like Beckham Essay

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Bend it like Beckham is a film that was written, directed, and produced by Gurinder Chadha, a British film maker who was grew up in India. The film focuses on the main character's desire to play football and the conflict she faces due to her obligations to her traditional Sikh family. The character, Jess Bhamra, must make the decision to pursue football or follow her parent's wishes and complete school and marry and Indian man. As Jess struggles to find her own identity without losing her family, she befriends a British footballer Jules. Jules' parents offer an interesting parallel to Jess' family, showing that although cultures may be very different in some ways, they are actually very similar in others. Director Chadha explains that …show more content…
Start behaving like a proper woman!" (Chadha, 2003). Jules' mother says to her, "No boy's gonna go out with a girl who's got bigger muscles than him!" The mothers share the belief that women should concentrate on attracting a husband, rather than spend time playing sports.

The topic of homosexuality is also included in the film. The reactions of the characters show how British culture and Indian Culture view homosexuality in a similar way. Jules' mother misunderstands an embrace between Jules' and Jess, and assumes that the two are lesbians. Jules' mother is clearly upset by the idea of her daughter dating another woman. Near the end of the movie, when Jules' finds out that her mother thinks she is dating Jess, she exclaims, "Mother, just because I wear trackies and play sport does not make me a lesbian!" The mothers misperception also shows that female athletes can be stereotyped as homosexual. In Indian culture, the Manu Smriti, the oldest code of conduct in India, states the homosexuality is punishable (Olivelle, 2004). This explains why Jess' friend Tony does not want to come out to his family. Jess actually says, "but you're Indian!" when Tony reveals to her that he is gay. Although homosexuality does exist in the Indian culture, it is not accepted or spoken about. When Jules' mom calls Jess a lesbian in front of her family, the older women have no idea what she is talking about.