Remember the 2002 hit Bend It Like Beckham (BILB)? As Akshay Kumar’s Speedy Singhs hit theatres on Friday, one couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Gurinder Chadha’s film and Speedy Singhs. After all, both the films are Punjabi family sport dramas.
Industry insiders are pointing out several resemblances between the two ventures. To start with, while BILB was based on football, Akshay’s venture has the international sport ice hockey as its theme.Secondly, Speedy Singhs is a story set in Toronto about Rajveer Singh (Vinay Virmani), who is an aspiring ice hockey player struggling between his Indo-Canadian traditions. BILB too revolved around 18-year-old Jess (Parminder Nagra), who wanted to pursue a career in professional football, but faces opposition from her family to play the sport.
Another similarity between the two films is that both the protagonists belong to a Punjabi Sikh family settled overseas. Moreover, Jess in BILB sticks to her determination to be part of her favourite football team while Rajveer in Speedy Singhs goes out to put together his own team consisting only of Indian Sikhs, who then compete against professional foreign ice hockey players. And eventually both the leads emerge as the stars of their respective sports.
Also, both the films share a resemblance in terms of the strong Punjabi connection. In fact, Anupam Kher who played the father to Jess in BILB will also be seen as Vinay’s father in Speedy Singhs. He even played the role of a sardar in both the films.
When contacted about a query on the similarities, producer Ajay Virmani puts it differently. “Speedy Singhs doesn’t concentrate only on the sport. Yes, the theme is ice hockey, but you can’t call it just a sports film as such, because it’s unique in its own special way.”