Blinded by the Light, inspired by a true story, is set in 1987 and tells the story of Javed, a Pakistani-British teenager who lives in Luton, England. Javed feels trapped by not only the prejudice and intolerance of his small town, but the stubbornness and traditional views of his father.
Desiring to be a writer, Javed studies English instead of Economics, which is what his father believes his son is studying. Finding solace and depth in Bruce Springsteen’s songwriting, Javed grows as an individual and continues to pursue his writing dreams, while keeping it a secret from his family and his father who does not understand.
Directed by Gurinder Chadha, Chadha also wrote the screenplay with Sarfraz Manzoor, whom the character Javed is based on. Viveik Kalra’s portrayal of Javed is extremely relatable, likable, sensitive, and you really are taken on an emotional journey through Javed’s pain, struggles and frustrations. At one point, I wanted to scream at the screen in anger with what Javed was going through. And I can only imagine what the real Javed, Manzoor had to deal with growing up, considering the film is based on his life.
While I adored the music choices and the fashion styling of the characters, which helped make it evident that the film is set in the late 80’s, Blinded by the Light has a very personal narrative, and one that spoke to me in volumes. I could see myself in Javed, as I too have had a difficult Asian upbringing, the desire to be a writer and the stubborn father who did not understand me. And just like Javed, I understand that I am who I am today, because of my family. I am also a big advocate for live music, and have seen Bruce Springsteen in concert myself, not once but twice.
If you have ever felt like the underdog, if you have ever had a family member try to hold you back from expressing who you are, if you have ever felt trapped and stuck in a box that people expect you to be in, and if you have ever connected to the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen – then this movie is for you.
Blinded by the Light will finally be released in Australian cinemas on the 24th of October and I highly recommend checking it out if you are curious. For me, it’s one of the best films of 2019 and not only did it move me to tears, but it also inspired me to put on a Springsteen record (immediately after the film), and ignited my passion to try creative writing again. So, thanks Gurinder Chadha, Sarfra Manzoor, Viveik Kalra, and thank-you Mr. Springsteen.