Blinded by the Light is a 2019 drama film co-written, produced, & directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Paris je t’aime, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, & Bride & Prejudice). It’s inspired by the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor & his love of the music of Bruce Springsteen. He co-wrote the script, it’s based on his book “Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll”. It premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The budget was $15 million & it grossed $17.6 million at the box office worldwide. In 1987, Javed Khan (played by: Viveik Kalra from Next of Kin & Beecham House) with his family which includes Malik (played by: Kulvinder Ghir from Still Open All Hours, Bob the Builder, & Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj), Noor (played by: Meera Ganatra from PREMature & Three Dots and a Dash), Yasmeen (played by: Tara Divina), & Shazia (played by: Nikita Mehta) live in England. Javed likes contemporary rock music which his father Malik disapproves of. Javed writes poetry & lyrics for his best friend Matt’s (played by: Dean-Charles Chapman from Game of Thrones, Into the Badlands, The Commuter, & The King) band but Matt critiques Javed’s work for being depressing. Javed feels out of place at his new school, where he is one of two South Asian students. Roops (played by: Aaron Phagura from Doctor Who, Him, & Informer) is the other one, he is a huge fan of “The Boss.” In Ms. Clay’s (played by: Hayley Atwell from Agent Carter, Captain America: The First Avenger, Avengers franchise, Ant-Man, & Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) writing class, Javed develops a crush on a student activist named Eliza (played by: Nell Williams from Game of Thrones, The Revolting World of Stanley Brown, Deep Water, & The Good Liar) & becomes interested in the writing assignments.
Javed talks to Ms. Clay after class about his poetry & diaries. During lunch Roops approaches him & gives him two Bruce Springsteen cassette tapes, calling Springsteen “the direct line to all that is true in this shitty world.” Javed is rejected as a writer by the school paper. Javed discards his poems on the night of the Great Storm of 1987. After listening to the Springsteen tapes, the lyrics immediately speak to him, & he recovers his poems after feeling inspired. His neighbor Mr. Evans (played by: David Hayman from Taboo, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Jackal, & Sid and Nancy) finds some of his work & tells Javed plus his family how brilliant it is. Javed is forced to get a job & help support his family after his father gets laid off. Javed starts to open up thanks to “The Boss”. He finally makes a move on his crush Eliza & pushes his writing into a whole new level. Javed wins a chance to go to America because of it but his father won’t allow it. He goes against his wishes after being told he could never come back to pursue his dreams. He starts to go on his own from everyone else. They all realize his sacrifice & hard work so they support it. This brings back everyone together again.
Blinded by the Light was much better than expected! It came out near the same time as Yesterday. Both movies were similar with the same main concept of a foreign man trying to find his place in life & getting inspired by music. I enjoyed Blinded by the Light way more than Yesterday. I felt it had more heart to it & the acting was at a higher level. I like both The Beatles & Bruce Springsteen, it was cool for them to get these type of nods in cinema for their music. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Gurinder Chadha’s work before this but I think this was her best effort so far. The script was moving & inspirational, it did help that the man who lived this wrote it. The material really boosted the overall performances of the production. I am not familiar with Viveik Kalra at all but I was very impressed with his brave portrayal here. He was great in this plus the supporting cast was solid. The true highlight for me was the music & the incredible soundtrack, it was one of the main characters for Binded by the Light. This one kinda flew under the radar & it didn’t get much attention from the public. It definitely deserves more of a shot on home video, I hope it finds it’s audience here. RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Warner Bros! This 1080p (2.39:1) transfer looks great. It covers both London & the United States for locations. It has both English: Dolby Atmos & English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 tracks for this release. Being a film with lots of music, Blinded by the Light did not disappoint when it came to the audio. The dialogue was very clean & the soundtrack sounds amazing here. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles. Both picture & sound are at a high quality here!
Let’s discuss the special features from Warner Bros! “Memoir to Movie” is a little over 6 minutes, It has interviews with director Gurinder Chadha, writer Sarfraz Manzoor, & lead actor Viveik Kalra. They chat about turning the book into a movie. They talk about Bruce Springsteen & his music. They bring up that both of them had similar situations that why the songs meant so much. They say Chadha was the only director that could have done this project. They bring Vuveik & his performance. They chat about revisiting the 80s & recreating stuff from the past. Manzoor talks about being blown away on the realism of the feature from what he really experienced in his life. “The Most Crazy Thing” is almost 7 minutes. It has interviews with director Gurinder Chadha & writer Sarfraz Manzoor. They chat about how the project started. They talk about all the work & time it took to get it right before the words turned into film. They bring up meeting Bruce Springsteen & getting his approval for this. They say it was crazy filming in the same spots where “The Boss” was at some time. They chat about it being a tribute to the people who made this journey possible. “Deleted and Extended Scenes” is almost 10 minutes. I can see why most of this was cut for the final version but it’s still a nice extra to have. It has “Trailers” for various Warner Bro films including the new feature from Bruce Springsteen called “Western Stars”. It also includes a slipcover & a digital code. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!