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Bhaji on the Beach [DVD] 
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A day trip to Blackpool to see the lights, a harmless break from the routine for a mini-bus full of women from the Asian’s Women’s Centre. It all seems innocent enough but as the mini-bus trundles along to a Punjabi rendition of Cliff Richard’s “Summer Holiday” problems quickly become apparent. Ginder is fleeing her violent husband with her 5 year old son. Hashida is eighteen, about to start medical school, and has just discovered that she is pregnant by her black boyfriend. Teenage sisters Madhu and Ladhu, with no parent in sight, are on the rampage…for a man or perhaps a boy! Asha is to discover that there is life and indeed romance beyond the confines of the shop counter. And the judgemental Pushpa faces her day of reckoning when she encounters some male strippers. By the end of the day a good deal more has been illuminated than just a stick of rock and a kiss-me-quick hat!
Bhaji on the Beach is the directorial debut of Gurinda Chadha, which--like her next film, What's Cooking--features women as the central characters and seems to involve food at every turn. It's an ensemble piece, which takes a while to establish the characters' relationships with each other. But eventually the focus of the film--based on a story by Meera Syal--gets distilled to a group of women taken on a day trip to Blackpool by a progressive thinking "sister". The skies are suitably grey as they arrive in the English resort town, with the amusement arcades, takeaways and shop fronts looking tacky and run down. There's Ginder (Kim Vithana), who has run away from her violent husband, Hashida (Sarita Khajuria), who has a major decision to make and conservative aunties Asha (Lalita Ahmed) and Pushpa (Zohra Sehgal), not to mention youngsters Ladhu (Nisha K Nayar) and Madhu (Renu Kochar) who are just along for the excitement. As the day wears on, tension mounts between the different generations as secrets come out into the open. It matters little that the plot feels a touch contrived--particularly the convergence of significant characters towards the end--as there's a lot of energy in the performances. The result is a bit rough around the edges, but there's a lot to amuse here, not least in the colourful nod to Bollywood contained in Asha's many dream sequences. --Emma Perry --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Directed by the same person who brought us Bend It Like Beckham, Bhaji on the Beach is this lady's most under-rated achievement and by far, her best work to date. Even on a low budget, the film captures such thought provoking issues which are still prevalent today, but it's also humourous and will appeal to all ages and cultures. You'll recognise some familiar faces who have gone to work on bigger movies since, namely Hugo Speer (Full Monty, etc)
It's also amusing to watch scenes where the actors are relying on pay-phones to communicate (can you imagine doing that these days with the popularity of mobile phones??).
I was saddened to learn that one of the leading actresses of this film died through drowning a couple of years ago...I remember reading about her in my local newspaper. I know I'll certainly not forget her with her part in this brilliant film.
The women represent a hearty cross section of age and background.
In the colourful group there are teenagers, whom clearly seek fun, sari bound and frown wearing elders, and more sensitive characters that are escaping problems such as an abusive husband while another, a student unexpectedly discovers that she is pregnant by her Afro-Caribbean boyfriend.
This diverse character study of such a complicated British subculture, where director Gurinder Chadha seems to handle the subject with tact and style, to deliver a sensitive film from such a low budget and challenging subject.
It follows a group of women going to Blackpool for a day out but there are a lot of problems some of these women are facing. One of them is pregnant and hasn't told her family, another has left her husband because he was abusive.
With the same director as Bend It Like Beckham it is an enjoyable watch and a nice insight into the Asian population of Britain