Bend it Like Beckham, the 2001 movie which launched the careers of Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra, has become the latest film to get the musical treatment, with a stage version to open in London next year.

Keira KnightleyBend it Like Beckham launched the career of Keira Knightley

The award winning film told the story of Jess Bharama (played by Parminder Nagra), an 18 year old Sikh girl who loves football and wants to play for the local women’s team, despite her parents objections.

Alongside Nagra, Jonathan Rhys Meyers also starred as Jess’ coach, while Keira Knightly had her breakout role as fellow footballer Jules.

Upon its release Bend it Like Beckham was a hit with audiences, taking over $75million at the worldwide box office. It also set the record in India for the most number of tickets sold during a single weekend for a foreign movie and became the highest-grossing Indian-themed film ever in the USA.

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Speaking to The Guardian, the film’s writer and director Gurinder Chadha who will also direct the musical said she had decided to allow the stage adaptation after watching a performance of Billy Elliot.

“I thought that I’d leave it and I went to see Billy Elliot, which I loved,” she said. “As time went on I realised how significant I thought [Bend It] had been in terms of race relations in this country, the presence of the Asian community and how very little came after it in the same way that celebrated who we are as a nation.”

Adding “I went to see Billy Elliot again and I was doubly moved because I loved how it had crystallised a particular moment in British history and thought, ‘Hold on, I might have been mistaken.”

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The director also added that her intention was not just to “regurgitate” the film on to the stage but to grapple with the themes it dealt with – “inclusiveness and the very human warmth about who we are as a nation”.

Working with Chadha to bring the hit film to the stage will be producer Sonia Friedman and Howard Goodall who has written the music with lyrics by Charles Hart.

parminder nagraParminder Nagra starred as Jess in the 2001 film

Bend it Like Beckham the musical will play at London’s Phoenix Theatre. Casting will be announced shortly, while tickets will go on sale on November 7th.