Monday, December 01, 2003

Bend It Like Beckham...A Lesbian Love Story?

Was Bend It Like Beckham a Lesbian Love Story?

According to this story, filmaker Nisha Ganatra of Chutney Popcorn and Junky Punky Girls fame, says Bend it like Beckham was initially intended to feature a lesbian relationship between Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley (Jess and Jules), the two main actresses in the film.

Nisha Ganatra says her close friend Gurinder Chadha, who directed the film, chickened out at the last moment, over concern that Indian audiences might be offended (I think they were right). Ganatra, whose film Chutney Popcorn has got rave reviews, was in Bombay for the Bombay Academy of the Moving Images. Her film is a comedy that centers on a lesbian who is willing to be a surrogate mother for her married sister.

I think for the sake of the plot, it was good that the relationship between the two protagonists was nothing more than platonic. Not only would the film have missed out on some fantastic dialogue ("Mother, Just because I wear trackies and play sport, does not make me a lesbian"), I think the film would have been trying to tackle too much. Even though Chadha skipped out on making Jess and Jules lesbians, she still covers homosexuality through Tony's character, interracial dating, and the breaking of gender roles, to mention only a few. Also, I think that had the film focal point been on a lesbian relationship between Jess and Jules, the film's focus and audience would have been completely different.


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