Blinded by the Light— a Pakistani’s Love for the Boss

Blinded by the Light— a Pakistani’s Love for the Boss September 3, 2019

Labor Day is upon us, and if you still haven’t seen the best reviewed movie of the summer— go now during the holiday. ‘Blinded by the Light’ featuring the classic rock music of Bruce Springsteen is about an immigrant family from Pakistan who live in Luton in the U.K. and their struggles to make a living, and survive anti-immigrant racism, particularly white nationalist racism. While you might think the story is ripped from today’s headlines, actually it ripped from the late 1980s in Britain when Thatcherism had stirred up and emboldened the white nationalists in the country— does this sound familiar. At the heart of the story is the tale of a bright young man named Javed with a gift for writing, and a belief that Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics perfectly exegeted his feeling and very soul. Meanwhile, his traditionalist father doesn’t want his son to like Western music or even to be anything other than Pakistani. So can a young find true love, a career in writing, while balancing the tensions with family and trying to please everyone at once? As Javed says near the end of the film– ‘I wish to build a bridge to my dream future, without building a wall against my family.”

The story is in fact based of a real life story, and the screenplay is adopted from a biography about Javed’s life written by a Pakistani named Mansoor. The movie itself has Ms. Chandra as the director and producer of ‘Bend It Like Beckham fame’. This is a feel good story about growing up, and gaining one’s voice, and overcoming obstacles to be one’s best self through perseverance and hard work. Towards the end of the film you may find yourself crying a bit for the plight of immigrants in an unwelcoming setting, but also crying tears of joy for the ‘overcomer’ like Bruce himself. Springsteen approved the use of his music in this film, and the film fairly flies by at 114 minutes. This is a movie to take your family to, and then have a good family chat about immigrants, and the fair treatment of immigrants. There is also the bonus of parents learning something about how not to crush their children’s dreams.

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