1. Read the extracts and collect all references to Indian customs and how they differ from European ones (Design a grid in which you fill in the differences)
Choosing the wife or husband
In India, the most boy and girls are not allowed to marry someone, who belongs to another culture or caste.
Nearly everyone in Great Britain is allowed to choose his partner on his own.
Every member of the family has to behave well, as the Indian traditions stipulate it. O0therwise, there would be shame on the whole family.
Of course, you should also behave well in Great Britain, but if you do not, it’s “your problem”. The family hasn’t got something to do with it.
Before you marry someone, you are just engaged with him. During this time you’re not allowed to do anything wrong. Otherwise, the family of your engaged couple is not agree with the wedding.
Naturally, you shouldn’t do something wrong if you life in Britain. But it has no influences to your wedding.
In India the weddings are always planned in the traditional way. The whole family has to be invited to the wedding.
Everybody has the right to marry, who, where and in the way that he or she wants.
The traditional Indian woman has to be a good housewife and mother. She has no Job, but has to take care on the household.
Most British women have a job. For the most part, the jobs in the household are shared between man and woman.
In India, the women have to take a subordinated role to the men. For example in public, the women have always to go behind their husbands, because they are not as important as them.
Women and men have nearly equal rights.
In India, there are different castes. The people belonging to these castes are strictly shared.
In Great Britain, every person is as worth as every other person.
In India, cows are holy animals. It’s strictly forbidden to eat beef. You have also to take care on these animals. For example: If there’s a cow sitting on the street an you want to pass it, you have to wait until the cow goes away.
In Great Britain, Beef is the most liked sort of meet.
2. Examine and describe Jess’s relationship with
- a) Her sister Pinky
- b) Her parents
Jess and Pinky are different as day and night. Nevertheless, they like each other. Pinky’s wedding is approaching and this puts more pressure on Jess. The pressure on Jess is intensified as an American football scout is due to watch an important cup match on the day of Pinky’s wedding, when all of these conflicts come to a head and are solved in a good way.
All Jess wants to do, to the consternation of her parents, is play football. Her Parents want her and her sister to be good Indian daughters. All Jess wants to do, to the consternation of her parents, is playing football. Her mother is desperate, because she wants Jess to learn, how to cook traditional Indian meals, but Jess is absolutely not interested in.
3. How do Jess and Pinky deal with family traditions and values? What are the differences between the two?
Both of them try to be a good Indian daughter, but in very different ways. Pinky wants everybody to think, that she behaves as the Indian tradition demands it, but in reality she isn’t this not at all. She wears such short skirts and dresses. Besides, she had sex with her boyfriend at the airport, although, it’s strictly forbidden to sleep with the partner before the wedding.
Jess is different at all. She tries to REALLY to behave as the Indian traditions demands, although she is really not interested in this culture. She is in a very difficult situation, because football is her life. But unfortunately in the Indian culture, women must not play football or do any other sports in public. In the opposite of her sister, Jess is not interested in learning how to be the perfect Indian housewife. Pinky tries to be a modern but also traditional Indian wife.
a) Is this a story about a girl wanting to play football or is it more than that?
It is definitely more than that. It’s the successful experiment to reconcile the old Indian traditions with the modern British life. The story shows in very interesting way, what happens, if such different cultures clash into each other. Besides, the story is also about other problems like homosexuality, racism, jealousy, rivalry or prejudices.
b) What is the story all about?
Jess Bhamra lives in London. She is the younger of two daughters in a Punjabi family. All Jess wants to do is play football. Her parents want her and her sister Pinky to be good Indian daughters. Pinky’s wedding is approaching and this puts more pressure on Jess. Her life changes when she meets Jules and is encouraged to join the local ladies’ football team. Jess is finally doing what she loves to do but has to lie to her parents. The team go to Hamburg to play, where her relationship with Joe, the team’s coach, becomes much closer. Jess and Jules argue because of Joe. Jess’s parents find out that she has been lying and she is banned from playing. The pressure on Jess is intensified as an American football scout is due to watch an important cup match on the day of Pinky’s wedding, when all of these conflicts come to a head and are satisfactorily resolved.
c) When Pinky finds out that Jess is in love with the Irish Joe she writes an e-mail to the agony aunt of the Club magazine.
From: Pinky Bhamra
To: Catherine Anderson
Subject: My Sister endangers my wedding!
London, 16th of October 2006
I have to write to you, because I’ve got a big problem. I’m from India, so my parents want me and my sister to be good Indian daughters. So I have to marry by respecting the old Indian traditions. I’m engaged with my longtime boyfriend. Now, we wanted to get married, but my sister Jess endangers my wedding. The parents of my engage couple saw her kissing an English boy. In the Indian culture, it’s forbidden to have a relationship with a person from another culture. That was a real shame for the whole family. So they came to my parents and told them that they aren’t agree with the wedding any more. I told them, that it’s not fair at all, it was Jess, not me, kissing an English boy, but everything, they said, was that they think, if the one sister breaks the old tradition rules, the other will do it also. I’m really desperate and I don’t know what I should do. Please help me. I really want to marry him. I hope that there will be a way to fix our wedding.
Thanks for your help!
I’m looking forward for your answer!
With best regards,
d) What images of women within the Indian community occur in the film? How are they related?
The traditional role of the Indian women is being a good housewife. The main role of the women is being a good mother, which conveys the traditional Indian values to her children, a good housewife, which cares about the household and a wife, which is subordinated to her husband. Those values are shown in the film for example by Mrs. Bhamra wanting Jess to learn being a good housewife. She says that she won’t find a man, who wants to marry her, if she couldn’t cook the traditional Indian meals.
e) How does Mr. and Mrs. Bhamra’s attitudes to Jess are playing soccer differ? What does this imply about the gender roles within the family?
Mrs. Bhamra doesn’t want her daughter to play football at all. In her eyes football isn’t a kind of sport, it’s “running half naked in front of a lot of men.”
Mr. Bhamra likes football very much, but first he thinks it’s only a sport for boys. He says that it’s not right for Indian girls to play soccer. Later, He sees that Jess is playing football very good, and then he is nearly fully behind her plan becoming a professional football player.
This implies that the men take the decisions in the family. The wife has to follow the husband’s opinion.
In what way has the British nation been enriched through the arrival of the ethnically diverse immigrants? Which advantages does the foreign secretary Robin Cook point out in his speech?
Great Britain, especially London is the home of lots of immigrants. They give London his “special feeling” there are a lot of different shops and small restaurants. This mix makes London and whole Great Britain much more colourful and exciting. But on the other hand, a lot of Londoner say, that they think, there are too much immigrants. They love their “cultural and classical London”.
This problem is also popular in other big cities in Europe.