Jess or Jessminda as she is known to her parents, is an important main character in the film Bend It Like Beckham directed by Gurinder Chadha. Jess is an Indian girl who plays soccer living in England which is why she is such an important character in this film.
Although she is a very typical English girl her home life is much different, it is very traditional Indian with strict rules and an Indian culture. She is also looked down on by her Indian friends and family because she plays soccer which is almost not allowed in the Indian beliefs and traditions.
While she was playing soccer she falls in love with a white Irish boy named Joe which is also frowned upon by her parents who expected her to fall in love with an Indian man.
Jess is an Indian girl living in London, England. She must live two lives, overcoming the stereotypes of an Indian cultured life when she is at home and an English culture when she is out with her friends.
Throughout this film the cultures clash landing her into a lot of trouble especially with her parents who are very traditional Indian parents.
This clash of cultures is shown especially and Pinky’s (Jess’ sister) wedding, where Jess must sneak out of the wedding, with the help of her dad, and go and play in her soccer final. Although there is no dialogue through these scenes the viewer can tell what is going on. They can tell this by the music changing from traditional Indian music to the cheers and claps of a soccer match.
The director was wanting to show the difference between an Indian culture and a English culture and also how people who live under these must change between the two to try and please either their friends or their family. They are expected to do so flawlessly and when they don’t they are likely to get into trouble as shown in the film Bend It Like Beckham.
Soccer in London is the most popular sport for both males and females. Jess is a soccer player with the difference of her being Indian. This is unusual for Indian females and is frowned upon by the Indian culture.
Jess must overcome this stereotype so that she can carry on doing what she loves, she must overcome the threats from her parents telling her in dialogue by Jess’ dad “I will not have my daughter running around showing her legs to everyone.” This also brings up the theme of stereotypes saying that girls should not be playing football because it is not normal.
This does not only happen a lot in the movie but this is also happens very often in real life. Children must obey their parents rules but also want to play the game they love, this causes an extreme pressure on the child that could be resolved by letting them do what they love.
While Jess is in the soccer team she falls in love with her coach, Joe, a white Irish-man. This relationship would not be accepted by Jess’ parents so Jess decides not to tell her parents and keep it a secret from everyone. Jess also encounters a problem with her best friend Jules when Jess goes to kiss Joe in Germany and Jules walks in to see them leaning into each other.
Jess did not realise that Jules was also in love with their coach and regrets the decision that she made. You can tell that Jess was regretting what she did while in Germany by the way she slips back into her traditional Indian life style so that she can avoid the embarrassment of going to training sand confronting Jules again after the incident.
Although there is no dialogue through these scenes you can tell that she is depressed with her new lifestyle by the sad, slow music being played through the scenes. Jess’ relationship with Jules was resolved once they had finished playing in the soccer final.
This shows that relationships with your best friends can be resolved by doing what you love with each other, finding something that can help resolve fights can save relationships, although there should be a good reason to start fighting in the first place.
This films main theme is stereotypes about a traditional Indian family living in England. They must overcome the stereotypes from the public and also the stereotypes which the expect from themselves.
These stereotypes are shown throughout the film through what the parents are expecting of Jess and there reactions when they find out what she has done. Stereotyping certain culture groups should not be said or done if they are trying to fit in with your culture.
People will start thinking that they are not right for the community and feel as though they are always being judged, we should be able to find a balance between our culture and what we want from ourselves as shown by Jessminda in the film, Bend It Like Beckham.