All in Good Time

I was invited by one of my favourite lady survivors and someone who I hope will be in my ‘Spotlight’ series, for the London press junket for an upcoming British film called All in good time, which releases on 11th May in the UK. Another time, I will blog some photos of the venue for this, as there were some amazing fixtures in a hotel in a very historical part of London. I had the pleasure of watching the film on one of my rare post surgery outings, a few months back and being a British Asian, a lot of points from it resonated with me. I had also spoken about the Bolton set film on my BBC West Midlands slot, last week.

Rafta, Rafta…, an adaptation of a 1960s Bill Naughton (Alfie playwright) play, with an ‘Asian’ twist, by Ayub Khan Din (East is East and West is West), was something I did a press feature on, years ago, when I worked with a British Asian newspaper as entertainment editor, and this is its big screen outing.

The film stars veteran British Asian actress, Meera Syal MBE (Goodness Gracious Me, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Anita and Me), the formidable Superstar Rajinikanth loving theatre legend, Harish Patel (Run fatboy run, Zubeidaa, Mela) and young British actors, Amara Karan (The Darjeeling Limited, St Trinian’s, the forthcoming films A fantastic fear of everything and Jadoo) and Reece Ritchie (The Lovely Bones, The Sands of Time). It also stars a well known British Tamil theatre actress, Rani Moorthy, a lady I love a lot, whose career I’ve followed and I’ve always relished seeing her live theatrical work, like Curry tales and most recently, Looking for Kool, which I missed during Alchemy 2012.

Amara Karan is a fellow British Tamil, who, like me, gave up a corporate career, to follow her dream. She’s Oxford educated, stunning, articulate and her very first role was for a Wes Anderson film, which is a very impressive start. She broke barriers by being super hot and very sexy sari clad waitress, in The Darjeeling Limited, as the love interest of Adrien Brody.

Here are my original post film reactions. The embargo is lifted, so I can share them!

All in good time, for me, is an important film to get made and distributed, as it takes the original play, Rafta Rafta, to another dimension and the story, which is quite universal to British Asians, will be seen by many more, on silver-screen and then TV and DVD. Nigel Cole, whose films, Made in Dagenham and Calendar girls are firm favourites of mine, shows his versatility with this film.

I was a little confused about the Datsun (then Nissan) Cherry car in the very end sequence, as it’s a very 70s car, but the film itself didn’t seem as dated – a timeline, as one of my peers pointed out, may have elucidated better. Then again, it is a universal subject and while it does reinforce the stereotype of Asians living with their Parents after marriage and explores those topics of arranged marriages e.t.c, the treatment was excellent.

The cast, in my opinion, made the film special. Amara proved her mantle as one of Britain’s brightest young actresses, and Reece Ritchie is not just good looking, but showcased the gamut of emotions his character was to reveal during the film. Meera Syal and Harish Patel pulled off stellar performances and the rest of the cast, particularly the likes of comedian Rani Moorthy, were impressive.

Overall, it’s a film that I feel will go down well with audiences, with a great mix of serious emotion and humour. The story will feel a little ‘old’ to the younger generation of viewers, but nevertheless, they will resonate with some part of it. From an Asian standpoint, I don’t think this is a ‘family’ film per say, but I feel that the different generations will enjoy watching it separately. There were some slow moments, but thankfully, there were comedic redemption points.

The cinematography was on point and I was particularly heartened by the music, from Chanda Re (Eklavya), to pertinent English language songs, evocative of an era gone by. The brilliant British composer Niraj Chag, whose work I’ve followed for a long time now, does due diligence to this soundtrack. It is well directed, well produced and I look forward to it getting a fabulous distribution. I feel that audiences beyond the UK will enjoy it and I feel it is particularly something that India will connect with, due to it’s subject matter, which is more current to life there now (in some parts).

We as British Asians have moved on from many of the film’s themes, but there is room for us to watch and feel the emotion beyond the stereotypes and learn a little bit about the history of our people in the UK, much like enjoying the period TV series, The Indian Doctor.

Ashanti Omkar

Ashanti Omkar is a London based film/music journalist and media consultant, who works across multimedia platforms. She is the Bollywood editor for BBC London, BBC West Midlands and a longstanding contributing editor for BBC Publishing, while also serving as London correspondent for India's Galatta Magazine, Canada's Anokhi Magazines and presents and produces the diverse show 'In the zone' for IndyBrown.TV/ et al.

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