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Ciné Sunday: Blinded by the Light

Gurinder Chadha

Inspired by journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s youthful obsession with rock legend Bruce Springsteen, Blinded by the Light received its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, where it stole hearts and wowed critics. Director Gurinder Chadha (Bhaji on the Beach, Bend It Like Beckham) brings her trademark warmth and humour to this toe-tapping upbeat comedy-drama-musical.

"Exuberant, evocative and charming..."

Our story is set in Luton, 1987, where Javed (newcomer Viveik Kalra), a sensitive British teen of Pakistani descent, lives with his close-knit family, amidst the racial and economic turmoil of the times. Javed writes poetry to escape his intolerant hometown and his strict and traditional father. When a classmate introduces him to the music of ‘The Boss’, he sees parallels to his working-class life in Springsteen’s powerful lyrics. As Javed discovers a cathartic outlet for his own pent-up dreams, he also begins to find the courage to express himself in his own unique voice.

Exuberant, evocative and charming, Blinded by the Light features a winning performance by Kalra, backed by a wider ensemble cast that includes Rob Brydon, Hayley Atwell, Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar. With vivid musical sequences, it colourfully explores the profound impact that popular songs can have – both inspiring your dreams and pushing you to realise them.