BLINDED BY THE LIGHT – DREAMING ABOUT SPRINGSTEEN

In cinema halls from 29 August, the film by Gurinder Chadha, winner in the Generator + 13 category at the Giffoni Film Festival.

The Boss. One only has to mention Bruce Springsteen to win over Americans. From the first to the last. Even the airport policeman, as the new film by Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham) Blinded by the Light, goes to shows, is on the long list of Springsteen admirers. “I can’t think of any better reason to go to the United States than to see the Boss’s home.” The reason is predictable and clear: everybody, whatever the generation, will have listened to one of his tracks at least once in their lifetime. As a boy, Springsteen had, from a very young age, already learned to run following in the footprints of another great player on the American music scene, Elvis Presley. He had seen him on American television’s most popular programme, the Ed Sullivan Show. It could be said that it was this very TV performance that urged him to pick up a guitar and write the songs destined to become legend. Initially with an acoustic guitar and then an electric one, from Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., Springsteen decided to embark on a long on the road journey that would lead to success.

Coming from a working-class background, the Boss has managed to cope with his talent without ever exaggerating. In fact, his stories seem to belong to a humble generation in search of a light to follow. Then again, the 1970s did mark a period of disillusionment. With reality no longer being covered by the undisputed creed of the “Self-made man” but rather more by anything but idyllic social conditions, Springsteen’s songs represented a moral blessing for the people. The question arises automatically: is Blinded by the Light a biopic of the Boss? Not really. If you truly want to delve into his life, it would be better to look elsewhere, from the documentary Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock ‘N’ Roll, to the theatre performance that the artist himself staged on Broadway, available on Netflix from December. And so, what has Springsteen got to do with this film? Go back to the previous paragraph, starting from the Boss’s initial inspiration, and replace the subject with Javed, a young British kid of Pakistani origin. Taken from the autobiographic novel Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock ’N’ Roll by Sarfraz Manzoor, the story reflects a well-defined social gap. The setting is Luton, in England. In 1987, the political-social climate is not at its best. As in all economic crises, clashes begin to take on a racial nature. If you are with someone who has a different colour skin to the British, you are the first to be targeted. In this tense climate, Javed is bewitched by the content of Springsteen’s songs which seem to come close to his own experiences of life.

Just as Elvis was fundamental for Bruce, the same principle seems to strike the young Javed who, guided by a soundtrack that includes Born To Run, Hungry Heart and Because The Night, tries to make his dreams come true. Blinded by the Light, written by the author of the book, Sarfraz Manzoor, Paul Mayeda Berges and film director Gurinder Chadha, sees Viveik Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir, Meera Ganatra, Nell Williams, Aaron Phagura, Hayley Atwell and Dean-Charles Chapman among the cast. The film is to be distributed by Warner Bros as of 29th August.