Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Meera takes stage role to screen

Meera Syal stars in All In Good Time

Meera Syal said she had one reaction when she heard that an award-winning play she'd starred in was to be adapted for the big screen.

"Don't find someone younger and more glamorous from Bollywood. Let me do it!" exclaimed Syal.

Of course, there was never any question that she wouldn't reprise the character of Lopa Dutt, the matriarch of a dysfunctional but loving family in All In Good Time.

But Meera, who's been working in the industry for almost three decades, remained cautiously realistic. "You know the world of television and theatre is very different and there are different criteria sometimes when people are casting films," she said.

"For women it's generally, 'You're too old', but luckily I was playing an older character anyway."

All In Good Time is centred on a son and his new wife as they begin married life living with his parents and find it increasingly difficult to consummate their marriage. The actress said: "This story is about family and the sacrifices and compromises we all make, and the fact that keeping a marriage going is really hard work."

Meera herself is married to her former Goodness Gracious Me co-star Sanjeev Bhaskar and has two children, aged 19 and six.

What really appealed to the actress is the dark secret her character Lopa has kept to herself for decades.

"You only find out towards the end of the film and it suddenly gives you a window into this woman and you think, 'Oh my God, there's this whole generation of women that had dreams, and lost loves and expectations they just had to chuck away for the sake of the family', and it gave her a real poignancy," she said.

:: All In Good Time is in cinemas now.

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