Some more examples of the children rebelling against their religion are that one of the sons Tariq has a white girlfriend and sneaks out to night clubs to get drunk, Maneer tells his father he is studying engineering when actually he’s an art student, Meena hates wearing Saris and loves playing football, and when George is not around the children eat meat, which is not allowed in their religion. George does not know about these indiscretions, however Ella does, and just wants to protect and support her children with what they want to do, but does not let the children disrespect George in any way.
Religion is so important to George he even beats up his wife when she disobeys him. ‘East is East’ is a far more emotional film than Bend it Like Beckham, dealing with some very sensitive issues. It is the story of when two cultures collide in one family, and the circumstances this causes. In the first scene the family are part of a Christian parade, carrying a statue of Christ. However they get lost, and have to run down some back streets to catch up with the rest of the parade. I think the filmmaker included this scene to emphasise the fact that the family are different, and stand out from others in the community, because of their culture. I think the time era makes a difference because Britain was less multicultural in the 70’s.
The first scene I studied was Nasir’s wedding. Nasir is the eldest son in the family, and is having an arranged marriage, much to his digression. However his father is persistent and thinks this is what’s best for his son. In the beginning of the scene it shows the family dressed in their traditional clothing, getting into a van to go to the wedding. This sequence is particularly interesting because they seem to be attracting a large amount of attention from the neighbours, who are all standing watching in amazement as though they had never seen anything like this before. This shows that the area of Salford in the 1970’s was not very multicultural and it was not very common to have a Pakistani family living in the neighbourhood. We learn that Tariq’s girlfriend’s granddad is very racist and makes spiteful comments about the family, which shows multicultural Britain in a negative light.
The final result in the scene is Nasir decides he cant go through with the wedding and runs out. In George’s eyes this brings shame and dishonour on his family and removed Nasirs portrait from the wall and pretending he was dead. This is significant because it shows the audience how important religion is to George, it also emphasizes the theme of struggling to adapt to a different culture. The next scene I looked at is when the family travel to Bradford. This is very much an Indian community, as when the family drive past a road sign it reads ‘Bradistan’ in graffti. The town is very similar to Southall in ‘Bend it Like Beckham.’
What this tells us about multicultural Britain is that people of different cultures don’t all necessarily live side by side, but populate certain areas so much so that only one culture is predominantly living there. Another scene I looked at was the scene where the youngest son, Sajid, is circumcised, because he was failed to ‘get done’ when he was younger. George is adamant the Sajid is to be circumcised as soon as possible otherwise dishonour will be brought on the family. The sound effects in the scene are very effective, with a chopping sound and Sajid screaming, helping the audience to create a picture. This scene is significant because again it shows how far George is willing to go for religion. Another important point is that we find out that George is quite racist, when he asks the doctor threateningly, ‘Are you Indian?’
George organises a double arranged marriage for two of his sons, much to their disliking and the end scene is the two families meeting for the first time. The Shahs are presented to us as very stuck up and snobbish, looking down on the other family as if they are not good enough for them. Ella is offended by them and decides she does not want her sons marrying their daughters, causes an argument and tells them to get out of her house. I think the filmmaker’s message in this scene is that what is seen as honourable, is not always right. I think the meaning of this scene is to show that life has obstacles and confrontations but can also be resolved in yhe end.
Overall, I think East is East presents quite a negative view of multicultural Britain. The film involves a lot of racism, and does not show a mixture of many different cultures working together in peace. However it shows that the characters in the film (especially the children) are influenced by English culture. I think the film teaches us that we should accept differences and everyone deserves to be able to do what they want in life.
The two films are very similar and very different in lots of ways. I think the settings and time difference is very significant, because Britain is more multicultural today than it was in the 70’s. Some of the characters are also similar: George and Sukey who are very strong minded and want their children to follow a religion, and Jess and the other children who want to follow their dreams. The two towns that the characters visit, Southall and Bradford, are also very similar, and show us that even though Britain is more multicultural these days, certain areas are still always going to be more heavily influenced by the dominant culture than any others. In both films there is an issue of racism, which represents Multicultural Britain in a bad way. Both films also deal with family conflict and how this can be resolved.
In conclusion, I think that ‘Bend it like Beckham’ was successful at portraying multicultural Britain as it shows us that despite different cultures and religions, we all have the right to fulfill our dreams, and get along and culturally mix with each other, for a positive future. I think ‘East is East’ also is successful at portraying multicultural Britain. It shows us that it is unfair to force things on people, even if it goes against what you believe in.
I think the filmmaker wants you to think about how hard it is to be different and fit in. They want us to see what it is like to be attacked with racism. The filmmakers try to represent multiculture through the story lines of the films: When different cultures are brought together it can cause problems, but everything gets resolved in the end. I think that both filmmakers are trying to create multicultural Britain as a land of opportunity, and although racism still exists, you are free to be who you are, despite what religion you are or where your from.