FQ columnist Bilal Qureshi compares two seemingly similar summer movies: Gurinder Chadha's Blinded by the Light and Danny Boyle's Yesterday, both of which feature music-obsessed South Asian male leads. However, while Boyle's film adopts a race-blind perspective, promoting a vision (or fantasy) of a multiracial Britain of friendships and intimacy, in Blinded by the Light, Chadha pushes her long-standing interest in race and multiculturalism beyond the feel-good sensibilities of her earlier hit, Bend it Like Beckham. Instead, Qureshi argues, Chadha has made a subversively political film, bristling with an urgent plea for empathy, inspired by the blinding xenophobia of Brexit.
Elsewhere: Bending It Like Chadha
Bilal Qureshi is a radio journalist and cultural critic exploring the intersection of international politics, identity and art. From 2008 to 2015, he served as producer and editor for NPR's All Things Considered. He now profiles authors, filmmakers, visual artists, and musicians for the network. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Washington Post. He also co-hosts the FQ podcasts for Film Quarterly.
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Bilal Qureshi; Elsewhere: Bending It Like Chadha. Film Quarterly 1 December 2019; 73 (2): 62–65. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2019.73.2.62
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