Bhaji on the Beach (1993)
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
THIS IS MY VOTE FOR THE WORST FILM EVER MADE