Movie Connections is an eight part series made by BBC Scotland and reveals the tales behind some of the world's best-loved British movies. The edition broadcast on Monday October 8th 2007 on BBC1 was devoted to ‘Bend It Like Beckham’.
New interviews conducted with Parminder, Director and co-writer Gurinder Chadha and football coach Simon Clifford were featured, together with contributions from other cast members and those involved in the production.
Below are some transcriptions from these interviews.
Parminder on the first day of filming:
“Here I am, this little Indian girl, trying to ‘bend’ a ball around this washing line.
First take – the ball goes straight in-between the line posts!”
Gurinder Chadha (Co-writer/ Director):
“For me, the movie succeeds or fails on the script and the casting, so I’m extremely ‘hands on’ with the casting.
I had seen Parminder in a small theater production at 'The Oval' in South London many years previously. I really liked her as an actress. I thought she was really good – really understated and that fantastic face. When we started writing ‘Beckham’, I had this young actress in mind.
Parminder on her initial reaction to the project:
“At this time (when first approached about the project) I was thinking – why the hell would you want to do a film about football –I just didn’t get it!
Gurinder said “have you ever played football before?”. I said (bluffing) “I kind of did, in a play that I did a couple of years back”. The truth was – no – I hadn’t – ever!
Nothing happened for quite a while and then almost a year later this script suddenly landed on the doorstep and it was Bend It Like Beckham.
Gurinder Chadha on seeing Parminder’s burn scar prior to final casting:
“She (Parminder) came in and took her jeans down and I saw this huge scar down her leg. I thought, that’s definitely going to show and make up is not going to cover it. She told me how it had happened and I said “well let’s make this work – I really want to cast you”.
We took the story of how she got the scar, put it in the script and it turned into a lovely little scene”.
Simon Clifford (Football Coach) on the intensive routine of training to physically and mentally prepare the actresses for their roles:
“One of my proudest things as a football coach was Keira and Mindi – to do what we did in that length of time. It was a collaborative effort. In the film, you don’t actually see all of the things that the girls could do. I was their biggest fan by the end – it was down to them and their hard work.
Parminder takes up the story of the training regime the two undertook:
“Keira was learning to ‘head butt’ the ball and I was learning how to ‘bend’ the ball. They were the two specific things that we had to do. Simon just made it a lot of fun”.
"We were working for eight hours a day – that’s why I’ll love them for life. They weren’t being paid for any of that but their work ethic was tremendous. I sometimes refer to that experience when working with professional footballers – who don’t do eight hours work in a week! Not only did they do that, I also gave them an email program to complete as ‘homework’ in the evenings".
Parminder on attending the film's UK premier:
We sat there and watched it and I remember when it finished I had the biggest grin on my face – I couldn’t stop smiling. I looked over to Keira and she had the same stupid grin on her face. We went to the toilet and I said “Oh my god – I think it’s really good – I hope everyone else thinks the same !…”