Bend It Like Beckham movie cast: Then and now | Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Archie Panjabi and more.

Bend It Like Beckham remains one of British cinema’s most enduring films of recent years, and boasts a cast to match including Keira Knightley, Parminder Nagra, Archie Panjabi and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

The film was a surprise critical and commercial success. With a gross of $104.6 million at the box office

Shockingly, this year marks the 20th anniversary of this timeless film about a girl trying to pursue her football dream, inspired by David Beckham, in the face of parental disapproval.

Director and writer Gurinder Chadha had experienced success with 2004’s Bhaji on the Beach, and would go on to direct Aishwarya Rai in Bride and Prejudice, Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson in Viceroy’s House, and launch lavish TV period drama Beecham House in 2019.

However, none of those have quite captured the zeitgeist, then and now (there was even a stage musical!), like Bend It Like Beckham.

Since Beckham, Knightley has turn out to be a Hollywood A-lister. She’s been nominated for 2 Oscars (for Pride and Prejudice and The Imitation Game) and has two children with husband James Righton.

In 2020, she starred in British comedy-drama movie Misbehaviour.

While the 2002 movie was an enormous success, Knightley recalled being “embarrassed” by the film’s title and was stunned at how effectively it did within the field workplace.

“I keep in mind after I did it I might say to individuals the identify of the movie is Bend It Like Beckham, and they’d say, ‘That sounds terrible’ and even when it was popping out you’d suppose ‘God, cannot you alter the identify?’ and so you already know, [the success of the film] was a complete shock,’ she stated in 2018.

What the cast of Bend It Like Beckham is up to now

Can you believe it’s been 20 years since Jess and Jules led the Hounslow Harriers to victory?!

Scroll through to see what the actors — and a certain soccer star — have been up to since Bend It Like Beckham’s release way back in 2002.

Keira Knightley as Jules: Then

At just 17, Keira Knightley landed her breakout role as the super-competitive soccer star Jule.
Since Beckham, Knightley has become a Hollywood A-lister. She’s been nominated for two Oscars (for Pride and Prejudice and The Imitation Game) and has two kids with husband James Righton.

While the 2002 film was a huge success, Knightley recalled being “embarrassed” by the movie’s title and was surprised at how well it did in the box office.

“I remember when I did it I would say to people the name of the film is Bend It Like Beckham, and they would say, ‘That sounds awful’ and even when it was coming out you’d think, ‘God, can’t you change the name?’ and so you know, [the success of the film] was a total surprise,” she said in 2018.

Since this film, the now 37-year-old actress’s career has gone stratospheric, helped by her subsequent casting in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, opposite Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom.

Love Actually, King Arthur, more Pirates movies, Atonement, The Duchess and Never Let Me Go followed, as well as Oscar nominations for her turns in Joe Wright’s 2005 Pride and Prejudice adaptation and 2014’s The Imitation Game.

She has also trod the boards in the West End and on Broadway with productions of The Misanthrope, The Children’s Hour and Thérèse Raquin.

Recent films include Misbehaviour and back comedy apocalyptic Christmas film Silent Night, and she is set to appear in drama The Boston Strangler.

Knightley married Klaxons musician James Righton in 2012, with whom she shares two daughters. She was made OBE in 2018.

Parminder Nagra won hearts everywhere as Jesminder (aka Jess), a soccer-loving teen from a strict Indian family. Nagra went on to star on ER from 2003 to 2009. Now 46, she has had recurring roles on The Blacklist and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

As central character Jesminder ‘Jess’ Bhamra, Nagra played the daughter of British Indian Sikhs living in Hounslow who are reluctant to let her pursue her passion for football, in part due to fear of racism.

Playing behind their backs, Jess gets the chance to make friends, enjoy the possibility of a relationship and look at pursuing football professionally.

After wowing in the film, Nagra, now 46, followed in the footsteps of her character and headed to the US, where she landed a starring role in hit TV show ER, staying for six years as Dr Neela Rasgotra until 2009.

The actress split from husband James Stenson in 2013 and the couple share one son, Kai.

In an interview with The Guardian in 2021, Nagra was asked if she finds it frustrating people still want to talk about Bend It Like Beckham with her.

“No,” she responded. “Because it’s such a huge part of my life. I’ve just gotten older. I keep thinking people are going to think I still look the same when I don’t. But I’m still proud of the film. It’s probably what I’m most recognised for.”

Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Joe: Then

Jonathan Rhys Meyers played stern soccer coach Joe. He fell for Jess and made Jules jealous, but in the end they were all cool with each other. And he even got Jess’ parents’ permission to date her.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers: Now

Rhys Meyers has since starred in series including Vikings, The Tudors and Dracula, as well as movies like Match Point and August Rush.

He entered rehab for alcohol addiction in 2007 and again in 2010. In 2016, he and his fiancée Mara Lane welcomed a son, named Wolf. The couple married that same year.

Shaznay Lewis

Lewis appeared as Jules and Jess’s teammate Marlena ‘Mel’ Goines in Bend It Like Beckham.

Her short-lived acting career began as she dipped her toe into other waters following the break-up of her hugely successful group All Saints in 2001.

Lewis and Melanie Blatt founded All Saints in 1993, before being joined by sisters Natalie and Nicole Appleton later on, and had a first taste of success with the Brit award-winning single Never Ever.

The group achieved five number one singles all in, including Pure Shores, many of which Lewis co-wrote. She won an Ivor Novello award for best songwriting in 2001.

Following Bend It Like Beckham, she embarked upon a solo career with her debut album Open, as well as featuring on the Band Aid 20 re-recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas. She also acted in Hideous Man.

Lewis has been busy with All Saints again in recent years, following a 2006 reunion that produced number three single Rock Steady, and a more permanent regrouping in 2014.

Alongside All Saints tours, she has undertaken more songwriting with the likes of Westlife, Stooshe’s earworm Black Heart and Idris Elba for his Netflix series Turn It Up Charlie.

Lewis has been married to Christian ‘Storm’ Horsfall since 2004, with whom she shares a son and daughter.

Anupam Kher
Appearing as Jess’s firm but ultimately fair cricket-loving dad, Mohaan Singh Bhamra, Kher is a prolific actor who has appeared in over 500 films, predominantly in Hindi.

Making his acting debut in Bollywood in 1984, Kher, 67, has now won 12 Filmfare Awards out of a whopping 20 nominations, at India’s equivalent to the Oscars.

He has also made other international films, including Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, Silver Linings Playbook with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, and The Big Sick.

Kher was nominated for a Bafta for his performance in the 2018 BBC TV sitcom The Boy With The Topknot.

The actor married his actress-turned-politician wife Kirron Kher in 1985.

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