Bhaji on the Beach (1993) Poster

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An extraordinarily perceptive summary of life: sex and race
gaynor.wild15 January 2002
Gurinder Chadha, in the setting of England and with people of Indian background, has made an excellent movie about racism, sexism and the difference in viewpoints among generations. It is applicable to all people. Using the device of a group of "Asian Women" going from Birmingham to Blackpool for a one-day holiday, she includes stories about wife beating, unmarried pregnancy, loneliness, religious and cultural conservatism, and the most basic: sexual attraction. One of the most striking things about the movie, other than the intensity of the stories, is that no time is wasted. Despite the rather large number of characters, all are adequately described, and the stories are completely told. There is not one moment in the movie that I would modify. It is excellent: four stars out of four. I am looking forward to more movies and stories from Ms. Chadha.
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Surprisingly charming
smatysia17 July 2002
A surprisingly charming little film about a multi-generational group of ethnic Indian women in England going for a day trip to the seaside. The movie dabbles in a number of issues, problems some of the women have, and problems they have with each other, mostly to do with a HUGE generation gap, something often found in immigrant families. A number of the actresses were quiet good, especially Lalita Ahmed. This one's worth a look if you're tired of murders, explosions, and car chases. Grade: B
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Surprisingly good "Slice of Life".
Facade23 January 1999
I found this film thoroughly watchable, and compulsive viewing. I think this was mainly because of the believable main characters, a group of Asian women.

The film itself is a compendium of stories, each person having their own set of problems.

The main cast are members of the "Saheli Women's Group" on a day trip to Blackpool. There is Ginder, a battered wife who has left her husband, a young girl who is pregnant by her black boyfriend, two old women stuck in the past, a vampish "mutton dressed as lamb", and two teenagers chasing boys.

There are some nasty reminders of the prejudice in our society, such as an encounter with louts in a Service Station. There are also some amusing scenes, the teenagers ridiculing their elders for example, yet the mood swings very quickly one way and another, as they are pursued by Ginder's husband and brothers, picnic on the beach, make friends with the locals, and visit a nightclub.

The film's main weakness is the number of issues that it tries to address, it's strength the "ordinariness" of the actors, who could each fill their roles in real life.

On a scale 0-10 7. Expect to be drawn in rather than entertained.
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bhaji on the beach impresses
Kaif Mahmood1 June 2003
watching bhaji on the beach is a charming experience. gurinder chadha's debut movie is a wonderful display of her obvious talents in presenting a pleasant picture of the indian diaspora without sugar-coating it. conflicts related to gender, generation and race abound, but the film never gets depressing. full of characters and fuller of huge variety in background music, it creates an upbeat, captivating atmosphere.

chadha's latest film, bend it like beckham simply cannot match upto the charms of bhaji on the beach. while the former is more commercially driven, the latter is an honest, cheeky and ultimately endearing experience. from the inquisitive shots of a busy carnival to the innocently affable punjabi songs the women sing on the bus, the first-time director has done a brilliant job in this socio-cultural amalgam of more than half-a-dozen important characters.

strongly recommended for anyone who likes 'slice of life' movies. its been ten years since gurinder chadha made this film. several movies have been made on the NRI experience, but only two have matched up to its brilliance - east is east and leela. bhaji on the beach is a must-see.

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Interesting and Engaging
Peter Faulkner14 November 2016
This an excellent 'under the radar' film that keeps the viewer interested all the way through from start to finish. A mixed group of Indian women from Birmingham take a day trip to Blackpool to see the illuminations.They each have their own issues and problems which are gradually revealed and played out as the film progresses.

The sensitivities of sexism, mixed-relationships, multiculturalism, racial bigotry and inter-generational difficulties are all explored in this film.The writer has woven some interesting sub plots into the main story and they all come together quite well. There is only so much that can be crammed into a film lasting just over 100 minutes, but the crowded story-line has been carefully thought through, and thus does not fall apart, despite the various topics and themes. It is a good film and I would watch it again.
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Impressed me- a definite 10/10!!!
smackajacka24 April 2004
I wasn't a fan of Chadha's more recent movie Bend it like beckham, which I cant stress enough just does not at all match up to the quality of this film. Old certainly IS gold, as Bhaji On The Beach clearly demonstrates, focusing on the variety of problems faced by the many characters involved and not just one leading character's problems. This is certainly what makes the movie interesting at all times. Everyone has their own issues in which to deal with and not a single uninteresting second goes by. Theres always something that holds your attention, makes you laugh or sympathise with the character(s) concerned. The combination of the excellent, upbeat dance-orientated music (which was dominant at the time in contrast to today's rubbish), colourful scenes of Blackpool pleasure beach, humour and grim reality makes this a film definitely worth watching. I urge any one interested in this genre of movies to watch this. A fantastic film that whole-heartedly deserves 10/10. It's a shame they don't makes movies like this anymore.
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lolavideola17 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is a humble movie that rewards the viewer on many levels. The realism is amazing. All the characters and the actors themselves are totally believable. You are totally drawn into their worlds as if you were watching a documentary. Chadha's direction is spot on and non-pretentious. All the cast do an amazing job and play their parts brilliantly.

I for one could follow all the different story lines and was not bothered by the large number of lead characters. In fact this made for great viewing as you get to see many different points of view.

I am also having trouble with the people who are appalled believing that the use of Hindi versions of English songs throughout the movie and the ladies singing in the bus is a racist / un-PC joke. No, YOU have it wrong. The use of these songs is not for laughs and is not supposed to be funny. It is just another touch of realism. The soundtrack songs are REAL covers released for the Indian diaspora and the ladies singing in the bus are a depiction of characters as they would act in real life. If you find these songs unintentionally funny then you yourself have a racist issue, not the movie.

Also this is a time capsule of 90s style. Although the Indian sarees and suits are timeless as well as Ranjit's business look, his brother's track suit ensemble and Ginder's new outfit are absolute hideous 90s monstrosities.

Overall, this is an excellent little movie and I love it for it's simplicity and success at depicting each character's complexities.
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City Lights
sol-18 August 2017
An assortment of Indian women (teenagers, middle aged and the elderly) face racial prejudice, stereotyping, generational gaps and individual inner demons on a trip to see the Blackpool Illuminations in this debut feature from 'Bend It Like Beckham' director Gurinder Chadha. The film gets off to a solid start with a surreal opening sequence in which a well cast Lalita Ahmed is trapped by contemporary British culture in direct conflict with her inner roots. Ahmed is, however, only one of around a dozen main characters, and the film varies in how engaging it is as it weaves in and out of subplots varying from an unwanted pregnancy, to a young woman who has taken her son with her to Blackpool to escape an abusive husband, to two older women who believe that something is wrong with modern youth. With solid performances all round, the film never bores, though the highlight is clearly Ahmed, whose surreal daydreams increase in frequency and intensity as she lets herself be romanced by a British acquaintance. The shots of Blackpool at night are a wonder to behold too, with the glowing lights providing an appropriate dreaminess to this tale of Indian women reassessing their dreams in life.
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Too Many Issues - Not Enough Comedy
Theo Robertson7 September 2005
When I was a film student in London I was the only Scot in class which led to the inevitable question " Do you set your screenplays in Scotland Theo ? " I replied I didn't because setting a story in a specific geographical location lessens the marketability of a script because the parochial nature only appeals to a specific audience

BHAJI ON THE BEACH would be an example of what I'm talking about where a bunch of Indian women travel from Birmingham on a day trip to Blackpool . Does anyone think a bunch of women singing the Cliff Richard hit Summer Holiday in Punjabi is funny ? Have you got to be Hindu to appreciate the joke ?

Perhaps I'm being quick off the mark to condemn the movie through its small minded ethnicity because I'm not entirely sure if that's the film's problem . What is certainly a problem are the far too many issues crammed into the story . Things like domestic abuse , teenage pregnancy are touched upon and because of the characters ethnic background racism is makes an appearance too in a story that's overwhelmed by its social conscience and underwhelmed by laughter . If you want to send a message try Western Union instead of celluloid
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alan8616 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I was forced to watch this back when I studied Media and it is dire, just take my word for it, its really not worth wasting your time watching this, I warn you that I'm about to write a spoiler (though really there isn't much left to spoil the makers did all the ground work)...

basically a bunch ladies go on a day trip to Blackpool to escape their husbands , their husbands turn up eventually, they argue about not being respected, the husbands say they'll change their ways...and 101 of the dullest minutes later its finally... THE END!

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