BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM star Parminder Nagra is disturbed by Hollywood's sudden embracing of Indian culture.

Her movie, about a London-based Indian couple trying to raise their daughter in the traditional ways while she dreams of playing soccer professionally, became a surprise hit in America, following in the footsteps of 2002's Monsoon Wedding.

And while American cable networks have started airing Bollywood movies and actresses like Nicole Kidman have popularised ethnic-inspired dangling earrings, Nagra fears her culture will be trivialised to the point of becoming a fad.

She says, "The Indian movie industry is so prolific that its movies were bound to eventually become accessible to larger audiences. But this isn't about everything Indian suddenly being hot. The stories have to be clever and risky and not just Indian.

"For me, being Indian is just a label. It honestly makes me cringe if people think it's trendy to be Indian, and tomorrow it's all over."

05/06/2003 21:21