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Gurinder Chadha @ 60: Five iconic characters in her films

This writer, director has changed the face of both British television and cinema. Not only have the characters in her shows and films inspired people but they have shown that all is not lost when it comes to hopes and dreams.

This lady is none other than the talented Gurinder Chadha who on the 10th January will be turning 60! On this occasion will look at five characters from Chadha’s films who were all facing their own demons but in the end they conquered them.

Jess from ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (2002)
Parminder Nagra who played the role of Jess has been seen in many big shows but it is this iconic role that she will be forever remembered for. The character Jess was an inspiration for many girls because she showed what kind of struggles she had to face in order to follow her dream of playing football. The character was a reality for many young people who had talent and dreams of doing something but were unable to do so because of their parents. Watching this film many could relate to this story because it wasn’t only Jess who was having to deal with something in her life, her best friend Jules (Keira Knightley) had to deal with how her mother wasn’t happy with her image and wanted her to be more girl like.

Hashida from ‘Bhaji on the Beach’ (1993)
Hashida was a young woman who was seen as well mannered and smart by the communities aunties. She was studying to become a doctor and seemed to be brought up by loving parents who trusted her enough to go out and do whatever she needed to do. Her struggles begin when she finds out she is pregnant and her biggest dilemma is she doesn’t know what step to take next. Her parents don’t even know about her boyfriend Oliver so to tell them of her pregnancy would be difficult. On an Asian ladies group trip to Blackpool when the aunties discover this secret of Hashida, they express their disgust and the shame that she would bring to her parents. At the same time the younger girls take Hashida’s side saying it isn’t a big deal as times have moved on. This film discussed many issues that Asian women faced living in the UK during the 90’s and the character Hashida was just one of the many stories seen in the film.

Lalita from ‘Bride and Prejudice’ (2004)
This film was considered as the Bollywood adaptation of the renowned book ‘Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan played the role of Lalita who was very bright and loved to read. She often spoke her mind which her mother didn’t approve of as she was worried no one would marry her because of her smart remarks. While Lalita’s mother spent most of her time trying to find good families for her daughters to marry into Lalita had other dreams. She didn’t want to be just an accessory for her husband or a doll who did as she was told. She wanted to be free and be seen as an equal but then again she didn’t want to get married. When she meets Will Darcy she finds that he is arrogant and doesn’t think very much before he opens his mouth, which leads to the two of them clashing. At the same time Will is both surprised by Lalita and curious as he is sometimes left speechless by her answers not knowing what to say. Lalita was indeed strong minded and showed that it wasn’t wrong to be the way she was unlike what others thought.

Roopi from ‘It’s a Wonderful Afterlife (2010)
Roopi lives with her mother whose only mission in life is to see her daughter get married however it isn’t as easy as she thinks. Whenever this topic arises the opinions of others tends to put Roopi down making it sound like she is the problem no one would want to marry. Even Roopi begins to give up thinking about marriage because after every rejection she begins to believe marriage maybe isn’t for her. However things do begin to look up when Roopi and her mother bump into a family friend named Raj who is a police officer. He has all the qualities Roopi’s mother has been looking for in a son in law and what better he seems to like Roopi.

Roopi’s character played by Goldy Notay expressed the many pressures some women face from society. The fact that she needed to get married and in order to do that she would have to lose weight or in a worst case scenario go abroad because she wouldn’t find anyone suitable where she lived shocked many. In Roopi’s case she finally finds the man of her dreams who accepts her for who she is.

Javed from ‘Blinded by the light’ (2019)
This film told the story of Javed and the many struggles he faced in his life. If anything or anyone understood him it was Bruce Springsteen’s music. On one side was his father who couldn’t quite understand his son’s views nor his talents, all he could see was his mounting troubles increasing as he tried to provide for his family. Javed faced racism being one out of a few South Asian students in his school, he tried his best to fit in but was unable to. Being so young he had many things that stood in the way of his talent of writing poetry and expressing himself but he didn’t give up. With the music of Springsteen supporting Javed he decided he wouldn’t let anyone cut his wings, he would surely fly and follow his dreams. This story was about expressing oneself and of course not giving up ones dreams. wishes Gurinder Chadha a very happy 60th birthday and we look forward to seeing more of her work very soon!