“Blinded by the Light” stars Viveik Kalra, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Kulvinder Ghir, Nell Williams, Dean-Charles Chapman, and Aaron Phagura. Released on August 14, 2019, the film is about a teenager who becomes inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s music.
The film is directed by Gurinder Chadha, who also directed films such as “Bhaji on the Beach”, “Bend It Like Beckham”, “Bride and Prejudice”, and “Viceroy’s House". It is based on the memoir Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll by Sarfraz Manzoor. Like film, music displays many types of feelings that we can relate to, such as happy, sad, and love. Whether it’s pop, hip-hop, or even country, music always finds a way to bring people together and inspire them to get out there and enjoy life with its lyrics. One of the prime examples of this is the music by Bruce Springsteen. His lyrics reflect on personal themes that plenty of people have been facing today. Even though I haven’t heard any of his music, he sounds like a very inspiring artist. After experiencing the music from Elton John and The Beatles on the big screen this year, it makes sense that Hollywood would make something that involves Springsteen’s music. Similar to “Yesterday”, this latest drama doesn’t focus on the life of Springsteen. Instead, it uses some of Springsteen’s music to drive the purpose of its story. So far, this strategy was proven to be a success in terms of critical reception since its release at Sundance in January and in the United Kingdom about a week ago. But is it good enough to get American audiences to join in on the ride?
Inspired by the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, the film’s story centers on Javed Khan (Kalra), a British-Pakistani Muslim teenager who lives in Luton with his family. He dreams of becoming a writer and leave the troublesome world behind, but because of his father’s (Ghir) disapproval, his family’s cultural traditions, and the racists, it proved to be much harder than he thought. With the help of his friends and Bruce Springsteen’s music, he’ll discover the true meaning of finding one’s own voice. The film is a simplistic coming-of-age tale that deals with themes that involve culture, politics, and race, but it also represents how the power of music can inspire someone to find their own voice and appreciate the good things in life, such as love and dreams. These things may sound preachy on paper, but on the screen, they’re as poetic as Springsteen’s songs. Combined with Chadha’s unique sense of direction and a screenplay that seamlessly blends the inspirational themes with some music video-like sequences, “Blinded by the Light” is another feel-good experience that tugs on your heart strings and feels proud of itself for doing it. Viveik Kalra was magnificent in his role as Javed and Kulvinder Ghir delivered a satisfying and heartfelt performance as Javed’s father Malik. These two actors alone are what made the chemistry between Javed and Malik as connective as a real father-son relationship. This is one of the important parts of the film that didn’t come off as melodramatic or cheesy. Hayley Atwell also did pretty well as Ms. Clay, Javed’s school teacher who is inspired by his writing. The film does follow a similar pattern from the other coming-of-age films, which would make the ending a bit obvious for people who are familiar with the genre. However, the most important part of a coming-of-age movie is the journey towards the ending, and this film understands that. It’s a fun happy-go-lucky journey that sticks to the tone it’s going for, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and has a heart big enough to make me shed a tear that’s filled with inspiration and joyfulness.
Overall, “Blinded by the Light” is an inspiring and heart-warming tune that I wouldn’t mind listening to over and over again. With its brilliant cast, Chadha’s direction, and a well-written screenplay, the film successfully worked around its usual pattern to craft a joyful and satisfying addition to the list of important movies to watch during this day and age. It serves as a reminder to put your faith in your voice, your dream, and also your loved ones because these things will help you get through the rough challenges that are ahead of you. I would highly recommend this feel-good late-summer treat to everyone.