Bend It Like Beckham

Bend It Like Beckham
Bend It Like Beckham

British release poster
Directed by Gurinder Chadha
Produced by Gurinder Chadha
Deepak Nayar
Written by Gurinder Chadha
Guljit Bindra
Paul Mayeda Berges
Narrated by Charlotte Hill
Starring Parminder Nagra
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Keira Knightley
Archie Panjabi
Shaznay Lewis
Anupam Kher
Music by Craig Pruess
Cinematography Jong Lin
Editing by Justin Krish
Studio BSkyB
British Screen
Distributed by Redbus Film Distribution (UK)
Fox Searchlight Pictures (US)
Release date(s) 11 April 2002 (2002-04-11) (United Kingdom)
1 August 2003 (2003-08-01) (United States)
Running time 112 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget £6 million ($3.7 million)
Box office $76,583,333 (Worldwide)[1]

Bend It Like Beckham is a 2002 comedy-drama film starring Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Anupam Kher, Shaznay Lewis, and Archie Panjabi first released in the United Kingdom. The film was directed by Gurinder Chadha. Its title comes from the football player David Beckham and his skill at scoring from free kicks by "bending" (curving) the ball past a wall of defenders.



Jesminder "Jess" Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is the 18-year-old daughter of Punjabi Sikhs living in Hounslow, west London. Juliette "Jules" Paxton (Keira Knightley) is the daughter of an English couple. Jess is infatuated with football, but because she is female her parents do not allow her to play. However, she sometimes plays in the park with various boys and her good friend Tony, a closet homosexual. When Jules discovers Jess' skills, she invites Jess to try out for her local team, the Hounslow Harriers, coached by Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Although initially skeptical, Joe is convinced by watching Jess play, and puts her on the team. Jess lies to Joe about her parents being onboard with the idea. She becomes fast friends with Jules and Marlena "Mel" Goines (Shaznay Lewis).

Jess is attracted to Joe. When the team travels to Hamburg, Jess and Joe's relationship develops; at the end of the night the two are about to kiss when Jules (who also has a crush on Joe) interrupts them, souring Jess and Jules' friendship. When Jess arrives at Jules' house to try to fix the friendship, Mrs. Paxton is misled and thinks that the pair are involved in a lesbian relationship. Jess' parents learn that she has been playing on the team and become more strict, ensuring she does not attend matches. Meanwhile, the elder Bhamras are distracted by the elaborate preparations for the upcoming wedding of their older daughter, Pinky (Archie Panjabi).

Thanks to Jess and Jules' skill, the Harriers reach the finals of the league tournament. An American recruiting scout will be attending. Unfortunately, the final is held on the day of Pinky's wedding. Joe pleads with Mr. Bhamra to allow Jess to play, but he refuses. He reveals that he does not want Jess to suffer as he did when he was kicked out of a cricket club because of his race. Joe accepts that Jess will not play and the final begins without her. Halfway through Pinky's wedding ceremony, Tony convinces Mr. Bhamra (Anupam Kher) to allow Jess to play. Tony drives Jess to the final, where the Harriers are 1–0 down, with half an hour remaining.

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 win the game. She succeeds, and Hounslow wins the tournament. Jess and Jules are offered football scholarships to Santa Clara University in California. Jules tells her parents immediately, but Jess has trouble telling hers. Jules and Mrs. Paxton arrive at the wedding, for Jules to celebrate the scholarship offers with Jess. Again mistaking the girls' mutual affection for something more, Mrs. Paxton accuses Jess of being a hypocrite, and calls her a 'lesbian'. Mortified by the scene her mother is making, Jules grabs her and flees.

Jess still has not told her parents of her scholarship, so Tony claims that he and Jess want to get engaged, on the condition that she go to any college she wants prior to their marriage. Jess exposes the lie, stating that she needs to base her future on honesty, and that accepting the scholarship is her heart's desire. Mr. Bhamra talks Mrs. Bhamra into allowing Jess to go, saying that he does not want Jess to give up her dreams as 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; although they had bent their rules to let her go to America to play, she doesn't think they would be able to handle her breaking another cultural taboo.

On the day of Jess' and Jules' flight to America, the two families say their separate goodbyes to their daughters. As the two are about to board the plane, Joe arrives and confesses his love for Jess. The two kiss. Jess agrees to sort out their relationship (and her parents) when she returns for Christmas. A weeping Mrs. Bhamra offers Jules' mother a tissue, and the fathers shake hands.

In the final scene, a pregnant Pinky sets a Santa Clara team photograph back on the mantel in her parents' house. As the movie ends, Mr. Bhamra, his new son-in-law, and Joe play cricket in the yard.



Critical reception

The film surprised the critics, and it 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."[2] The Times of India noted that Bend 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."[3] 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: Jess' 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]."[4] The Hindu argues, "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."[5] 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."[6]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave Bend It Like Beckham a rating of 85%, based upon 147 reviews (125 fresh and 22 rotten).[7]

The film's plot originally resolved with the two female leads ending up together romantically, but director Gurinder Chadha rewrote the script for fear of upsetting conservative Indians. The film retained its message challenging homophobia and the role of women in society, but the two female leads fight over their male coach instead. The British film went on to set the record in India for most number of tickets sold during a single weekend for a foreign movie. It also went on to become the highest-grossing Indian-themed film ever in the U.S. with $32 million in box office revenue.[8]

Awards and nominations



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

The UK release of the soundtrack features bhangra music, songs by Spice Girls' Victoria Beckham (whose song "IOU" can be heard during a scene involving Jules' mother but was not included on the original soundtrack) and Melanie C (Melanie C's song "I Turn To You" was used in the film but is not included in the soundtrack) and the band Texas. It also features "Baddest Ruffest" by Backyard Dog, the aria Nessun Dorma, from Puccini's Turandot, and excerpts from the dance band Basement Jaxx. The US release rearranges the tracks, and excludes some material.

UK release
  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
  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

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, posted on Twitter that it was the "1st ever Western-made film to air on TV" to be broadcast in North Korea.[9]



  1. ^ Bend It Like Beckham at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Review: Bend it like Beckham is like curry. Times of India review. 10 July 2002
  4. ^ Bend It Like Beckham. Planet Bollywood review. (2003-06-27). Retrieved on 2011-11-03.
  5. ^ Bend It Like Beckham. The Hindu. July 19, 2002
  6. ^ Jamie Russell Bend it Like Beckham (2002). (2002-04-11). Retrieved on 2011-11-03.
  7. ^ "Bend It Like Beckham". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  8. ^ Dropping Lesbian Romance from Beckham the Right Decision. Retrieved on 2011-11-03.
  9. ^ "North Korea bends it like Beckham in UK film first". BBC. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Beckham, David — ▪ British athlete in full  David Robert Joseph Beckham  born May 2, 1975, Leytonstone, East London, Eng.    English football (football (soccer)) (soccer) player, who gained international fame for his onfield play as well as for his highly… …   Universalium

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