Monday, February 17, 2003

Who wants to cook Aloo Gobi when you can bend a ball like Beckham?
Caught an advance screening of Bend It Like Beckham yesterday at AMC Phipps. Along with a mixed bag of people: the Indian diaspora (rather in a minority), and a multitude of Americans (a lot of whom seemed to have arrived thanks to notices in respective film clubs). The movie is a ball (no pun intended) of fun, and just like her chief influence Ken Loach, director Gurinder Chadha's jokes in Hindi/Punjabi got laughs from everyone, transcending linguistic and cultural barriers. The icing on the cake was a Q & A session with the director herself after the screening. I even got to pipe in a question of my own, about the influence of Ken Loach on her filmmaking. Her response: She admired him for his consistent integrity and vision spanning an impressively long and sturdy filmography. The other questions were predictably about the making of the film. The representative Indian diaspora question was a tad uncomfortable. It started off as a question about Indians being accepted in the mainstream in the US and the UK (peppered with a rather flat joke about Indians "not yet being Republican"). GC's response was interesting: she was sure that the UK mainstream had been more welcoming and accomodating than the US mainstream (thus thwarting the assumption of the question). She mentioned Tony Blair at which apna guest piped: but he's an American poodle. Rather gauche. Luckily, the brief bad taste was lost in a mood that continued to be informal and informative. For those interested, there's a repeat advance screening (minus the Q&A) on Feb 25. The film hits Atlanta in March 2003. Although the tidyness of the plot is predictable, the film's enthusiasm and earnest make it an irresistable delight. Great poster too. Tip: Fans of the irreverent TV series Goodness Gracious Me will see a few familiar faces.

Four Word Reviews

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