Thursday, 18 April 2013

Bend it like Beckham

I had a treat last night, I watched the movie ‘Bend it like Beckham’ again, an independent movie made and set in my part of the world – Hounslow, Southall, Brentford and Feltham.

It’s a wonderful, joyous film and I can’t believe its 11 years old.

A Sikh girl joins a womens football team that trains in Hayes, against her parents wishes and against what is expected of her by her community. She carries on playing in secret. That’s it, really, except everybody has a real struggle but in the end it all works out alright. Oh, and it’s about football. And did I mention there’s a happy ending?  And the theme is ‘Move on up’ by Curtis Mayfield, what could be better?

On the way there, the film challenges every taboo of race, class and gender and is set against the background of Hounslow/Southall rather than Hollywood or even Bollywood. It’s saying that no community has got it right but we all have a chance to make things better.

It’s nice to spot places that meant a lot to me and where I worked for so many years like Hounslow park, Hounslow Central Tube Station, the high street Hounslow, Lady Margaret Road Southall, The Broadway, Southall park, Heathrow airport, Yeading and Hayes. Almost every shot brings back memories.

We had a lot of battles through the years – fighting racism and bigotry. It’s not a fight that ever stops, but this film gets something of the atmosphere of the wonderful melting pot that is West London.

I even recognise a couple of people in the film – one was a client of a firm where I once worked.

Innit, as we say in Sow-tall.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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