“Talk about a dream
Try to make it real
You wake up in the night
With a fear so real
You spend your life waiting
For a moment that just don’t come
Well, don’t waste your time waiting”
The relevance of the lyrics to Badlands for the movie Blinded By The Light sums up the dream for Javid Khan played by Viveik Kalra in this heartwarming British Comedy/Drama. Based on the true story of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor after discovering Bruce Springsteen, the songs and lyrics became a mantra to his life.
In an era of Wham! Boys, Bananarama girls, goths and androgynous men and women Javid a small-town boy from Luton becomes obsessed after his friend, Roops played by Aaron Phagura introduces him to the rock ‘n roll sounds of Bruce Springsteen. Who would’ve thought the lyrics to Springsteen songs could have a lot in common with the life of a Pakistani immigrant family?
With Javid’s life revolving around each song he realises through the lyrics that he needs to follow his dreams of being a writer at the expense of his Fathers expectations of traditional Pakistani values. The answers all lie in songs like Dancing in the Dark;
‘Message keeps getting clearer
Radio’s on and I’m moving ’round the place
I check my looks in the mirror
I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man, I ain’t getting nowhere just living in a dump like this
There’s something happening somewhere
Baby I just know that there is.”
The screenplay was written by Gurinder Chadha along with her husband Paul Mayeda-Burges and Manzoor. The film is a wonderful flashback to the colourful, bright fashion and syth pop music of the 80s as well as the dark and tumultuous Thatcher years where unemployment and racial tensions were high. With Javid’s Father losing his job and the pressures of his Mother to increase her work load for her at home sewing job, the 80s were a lot less colourful that we may have remembered.
Springsteen’s music was Javid’s release and a way out of the dark so with the help of love interest Eliza played by Nell Williams and a supportive English teacher Ms Clay played by Hayley Atwell he sets out to make sure he makes it out of “a dump like this.”
It’s not hard to notice the less than subtle references of the 80s with plenty of A Flock of Seagull hairdo’s and acid washed jeans to add a fun nostalgic vibe but the real delight is the story of a kid in struggle street trying to make good and realising in the end just how good he does have it, all to the soundtrack of Bruce Springsteen. It’s a movie you will walk away from smiling. humming songs and feeling good.
Movie Review By Anastasia Lambis
Blinded By The Light is in cinema’s from October 24