What they felt and what they preached was not in my name. Javed had succeeded, by the end, in leaving Luton, the “shithole” that he hates so much, in order to study English Literature at Manchester University. Chadha’s Blinded by the Light – co-written by Manzoor, is set wholly in the 1980s, with no direct reference to the political context in which the book was written and published; to 9/11 and 7/7, to “Muslim extremism.” But the narrative structure remains the same – one in which Javed (a fictionalized teenage Manzoor) plays the role of a “good Muslim” who is saved by Bruce Springsteen. Placing such “oxymorons” together (like the double whammy of a working class boy who likes ballet, in Billy Eliot, a South-Asian girl who likes football in Chadha’s Bend it like Beckham) is a standard trope in cinema and literature, but it is interesting to think about the assumptions this can reveal, as well as the direction that characters are supposed to aspire towards. When Javed gets a girlfriend, her parents tell him that she always brings “inappropriate” (men of colour) home to shock them. There is no inkling of the reality of what he has faced and will face; the whiteness of institutions, curricula and teachers, complicit in creating a sense of inferiority, shame and silence amongst students of colour. Javed’s interest in writing also catches the attention of the girl that he likes, Eliza. Chadha was quoted as asserting that Beecham House was “a flipping radical thing.” (Guardian 18 June 2019). He doesn't like what he doesn't understand. While we were having dinner, she said we should call for a taxi to take us to hospital. But Gurinder was like, ‘C’mon, we’ve got to give this guy a girl. Or, like Chadha’s recent film and television projects, Viceroy’s House and Beecham House, they have been ambitious narratives about white men and their extravagant houses, in colonial India. The life my father had built, the family he raised and the life I have fashioned are all due to living in Britain. View the profiles of people named Sarfraz Manzoor.
The camera’s white eyes, which are Javed’s eyes, “other” his family, who come across as flat, stiff, bland and constantly strained, without complexity, humour, warmth and specificity. Javed's mother (Meera Ganatra) works out of their home as a seamstress, and his father (Kulvinder Ghir) works at a nearby factory.
They know all the words. Change ). Sarfraz spent his teenage years in a constant batt. The torch has been passed. Sarfraz Manzoor on "Blinded by the Light". Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account.
It was my first visit to the US. The more we tried, the less fun it became. Rather, Javed has internalised these. The terrain of Chadha’s latest offering, Blinded by the Light, an adaptation of Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir Greetings from Bury Park, appears to be different – gritty and mundane, regional and recent; depicting working class lives in Luton in the 1980s.
"It's a fairy tale," Manzoor added. This is the book that Chadha decided to adapt into a film, and in this decision, whether she is blind to its Islamophobia, its racism, its white gaze or actively agrees with it, she is complicit and aligned to these.