Take it easy referat






Take it easy, Dad


Every culture has it’s tradition. Each tradition is different and usually doesn’t cause problems in its own country. But what happens when Asian tradition is transplanted to  a western county like England? Is it easy for a father to keep up his tradition if he lives in a different culture and does his behaviour cause problems for his children?




Good examples of Asian families living in Great Britain can be seen in the “New British Cinema”, in movies like “Bend it like Beckham” with an Indian family and in “East is East” with a Pakistani family.


In these families we have a rigid structure: the father is the head of the family. The mother has fewer rights than her husband. But the children, especially the daughters, have almost no rights. The mother and the children have to do what their father wants. He also does not accept his wife or his children having another opinion than his. He also is not scared of using violence against his family. Here Mr. Khan, who beats up his wife, is a good example.  He tries to keep up his tradition and wants his family to live up to his ideals. The reputation of his family is very important. Nobody is allowed to do anything that could be bad for his reputation.

But what would life of Asian children in western societies be like if they were to live up to their father’s ideals? In the two movies the children want to live like their British friends. They want to go out, drink alcohol, play soccer or have a girlfriend. But all these kinds of behaviour are bad for the family’s reputation, according to the father.

So what can the children do if they do not want to be outsiders in society. They could do everything secretly. And so does Jess in “Bend it like Beckham”. She is a great fan of David Beckham and also enjoys playing soccer. But it is a shame for an Indian family if the daughter plays soccer. Her parents are not fond of this hobby and “her mother attempts to replace the love for sports with a knowledge of cooking” (Mark Dujsik), so Jesminder has to buy her soccer shoes secretly and has to play soccer when her parents are out. This is a big Problem for Jess  because her parents do not want her to do the thing she likes best. She is torn between her family and herself.

In “East is East” the Khan children also have to do a lot of things secretly. Tariq is involved with Stella, the daughter of the racist neighbour Mr. Moorhouse. They meet though their fathers would never allow such a relationship. Especially Mr. Khan would be shocked. He thinks it is his task to select a bride for his sons. Mr. Khan had chosen a bride for his oldest son Nazir, but he fled the wedding ceremony and gives full expression to his homosexuality. After Nazir’ s running away, Mr. Khan declared him dead because this behaviour is a shame for the family. And how big would be the disgrace if Mr. Khan’s son were gay? So Nazir had to escape and now lives without any contact to his family which is surely not pleasant. 

But Mr. Khan  did not learn the lesson. He also has chosen two brides for his sons Abdul and Tariq and

Abdul accepts the decision of his father. He just wants to make his father happy and has not got the self confidence to resist his father’ s authority. But Tariq has. He heads for the nearest bus stop. Although he can not leave his family and his friends like Nazir did, Tariq is torn between his family, on the one hand, and his wishes and his future life, on the other. But in the end he recognises that his family is more important to him than anything else. Nevertheless he has big problems with his father and his opinion of what life should be. Mrs Khan, Mr. Khan’s British wife, tries to defend her children from her husband and “finds herself the victim of his misdirected anger” (Damien O’ Donnell),because he doesn’t want his wife to protect her children if he punishes them. This brutality frightens the children, especially the youngest Sajid, and shocks the confidence of the children to their father.



A big, but often forgotten problem for the children is the circumcision. As a good father, who believes that this ritual is necessary to be a good Pakistani, Mr. Khan wants to circumcise Sajid, who runs away. This “operation” could cause a lot of physical problems for the children. It’s part of the religion but of course the young children, like Sajid in “East is East”, don’t want to be circumcised because it is very painful. This tradition, which his father wants to keep up, could make a young boy hate his religion and his father’s tradition.

In “ Bend it like Beckham” it is also a wedding that causes a problem. Jess’ sister, Pinky, is getting married on the same day Jess has a very important soccer match. If she plays well, she could get a scholarship. But Jess is not allowed to go to the match because of the wedding. Jess’ great chance of seems to be over but surprisingly her father permits her to go to the match during the wedding  . Her father realises that the match is very important for the future of his daughter. Once Mr. Sharma was a great athlete but after he arrived in England “he was met with racism that kept him competing” (Mark Dujsik). He just doesn’t want his daughter to have such an experience, too.

This is the big difference between Mr. Khan and Mr. Sharma. Mr. Khan has his strict rules and never wants his family to break them. Mr. Sharma’ s character develops during the movie. First he is traditional and strict. But he changes from his conservative point of view to a more tolerant one. The big difference between Mr. Khan and Mr. Sharma is that Jesminder’s father allows his daughter to choose their further husbands for themselves. This is a very important step from Asian tradition to western lifestyle. That is perhaps also the reason why the Sharma children get along with their parents much better than the Khan children. Jess and Pinky are just allowed to make the most important decision in their lives for themselves and Jess is also allowed to go to university in America.


In the end most Asian children in the films know where their roots are and do not want to loose their parents because of western society. They accept the will of their father more or less gladly except for Nazir. He wants to live his own life without such a dominant father. But this entails a lot of problems for them. For example they have difficulties in making friends because they are not allowed to go out and play with them. Life for Asian children in western societies would surely be easier if also their parents, especially the father, gave them more personal freedom, like Mr. Sharma does at the end. Perhaps they will recognise that the western way of life is not too bad after all. And perhaps a mixture would be the key.












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