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The famous, well known writer and director Meera Syal has written a breathtaking movie ‘Anita and Me.’ Meera Syal is a best selling novelist and has sold thousands of her fantastic stories one of which is called, ‘Anita and Me’ all over the country. Syal puts a lot of herself in her work and also she is a British born woman; however she still has her Indian origin which revolves in her story’s and movies. Her movies have been compared to the following ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ and ‘East is East.’
These movies all have an Indian culture behind them as well as a fun and laughter side. It’s also has it’s own culture in the movie while being surrounded by the British society, and also one which a young girl wants very much to be a part of, although the dominant culture doesn’t mean it is going to be all peachy, if that is what you are thinking, that is what made it the most amusing and most incredible movie of the year.
The story of ‘Anita and Me’ basically revolves round Meena when she was living in a little village called Tollington. Meena is a young Indian girl who was born in Britain. She wants to be like all the other British people in her neighbourhood, eating fish finger instead of chapattis, having colourful flowers in her garden instead of crop and also have a normal life were you could go out whenever you wanted to with your mates, but instead Meena has to spend more time with her family. To be honest Meena wants to be English! See Meena is Punjabi and she cannot speak a word of Punjabi, however her midlands ascent is stronger than most of the families which have been living there for generations.
Her parents brought Meena to England to have a better quality of life for their daughter, but Meena is having a difficult time adjusting to her surroundings. However trouble rides up in town when a girl gang known as the ‘wenches’, who very much enjoy teasing young boys and thieve from their local sweets shop, unfortunately for Meena, the gang leader was her next door neighbour and soon became her future best friend.
Meena and Anita eventually formed an unlikely bond, and become like blood sisters, vowing to be there for each other through thick and thin. However, Meena was facing her secondary school entrance exam and during that time she had suffered domestic abuse by Anita’s mother and toured the two girls apart. Meena wants to be like Anita, a blond, light-headed British girl who is 14 years old. Meena admires Anita for her charm, good looks and her independence, and in so many different ways Meena wants to be like her.
The story took place in year 1972. Political correctness has not yet been invented. The called ‘dark skins’ in English villages are as rare as black footballers in the First Division. Life me be quite old fashioned, but it’s also racist. For example: Meena’s friend Anita’s mum comes home one day with a cuddly black poodle pup. “What’s it called?” Anita’s little sister asks. “Nigger,” she is told. And no-one blinks an eye.
In the movie some of the British characters refer to Meena and her family as wogs and darkies. A member of Meena’s family was beaten up and was killed for being Indian. Meena then finds out that Anita and her boyfriend Sam went ‘Paki bashing’ (go of to kill the Indians). This starts to ring a bells and Meena then realize that it was Sam who killed her uncle. The film finally ends with English music being played in the background. The whole family starts to dance to the music and then Meena’s Dad begins to sing in Punjabi along with the music. This shows that the two cultures are eventually beginning to mix and become friends.
From racism to the repairs to the local church this movie covers most of the areas of life. In the movie Meena becomes more independent and begins to make her own decision towards her life, whereas before her parents used to make them all. There has been some high and low points in Meena’s family life and eventually they get what they want in the end and the neighbourhood becomes more peaceful. Meena passed in her entrance exam for the Grammar School and so the family can move to a better neighbourhood. Meena found out that she couldn’t please the whole world even if that did mean her racist neighbourhood because she was meant to Indian. When Meena moved away to live closer to her new school, she had left behind a chapter of her life, and had matured enough to have realized that Anita was never a real friend.
I personal think that this movie a perfect example of what Indians where put through back in the days in England. The English had discriminated the Indians and the Asians just because of their skin colour, however this doesn’t only happen in England, it happens all over the world. This movie is also show a culture side of the story and a bit of history about Indian, such as the independents when India and Pakistan was split into to different countries. The movie ‘Anita and Me’ was amusing and enjoyable to watch and was fast moving. ‘Anita and Me’ is a unique vision of the British childhood in the early seventies, a childhood caught between two cultures, each on the edge of enormous change. For these points I would rate this movie 4 star.