Bhaji on the Beach
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An assembly of Indian women, both immigrants and their British-born brethren, travel to the English seaside in this comic drama.
The plot focuses on a trio of young women caught between tradition and independence: Ginder (Kim Vithana), who risks the uncertainties of social ostracism and single motherhood in order to escape from her abusive husband; Hashida (Sarita Khajuria), who jeopardizes her promising future in medical school when she becomes pregnant by her West Indian boyfriend (Mo Sesay); and Simi (Shaheen Khan), who integrates her feminist politics and her commitment to her culture by heading up the Saheli Asian Women's Group.
To provide the women of her community with a chance to get together and enjoy themselves, Simi organizes a ladies-only trip to Blackpool, a seaside resort town that resembles Atlantic City. Along for the ride are boy-crazy teens, conservative matrons, and a garish visitor from Bombay, each of them offering a singular perspective on Asian immigrant culture.
Asha (Lalita Ahmed), a middle-aged wife, mother, and newsstand proprietor, spends much of the trip experiencing picturesque visions in which an Indian goddess reprimands her for the missed opportunities in her life.
Introspection gets pre-empted, however, when Ginder's husband (Jimmi Harkishin) and his brothers show up looking for a little involuntary family reunion. Bhaji on the Beach screenwriter Meera Syal would go on to pen the award-winning novel (Anita and Me) and work on Goodness Gracious Me, the BBC's Indian/Pakistani sketch comedy show.
Fans of Anglo-Asian cinema will recognize actress Souad Faress, who plays the colorful Rekha Tendon, from her role as the haughty Cherry in My Beautiful Laundrette. Akbar Kurtha, who plays one of Ginder's brothers-in-law, would go on to portray the title character in My Son the Fanatic.
Writer/director Gurinder Chadha would return with another ensemble feature, What's Cooking?, in 2000.
- Genre: Comedy, Drama