This year has already seen a successful British Asian film, The Exotic Marigold Hotel. Now comes All in Good Time, from the writer of East is East, Ayub Khan-Din. The director, Nigel Cole’s last film, Made in Dagenham, about female workers striking at the Ford Car Plant for equal pay, was critically appreciated. The film is also produced by the same person who bought you Oscar winning film The Queen. With an impressive team behind the it and based on an Asian theme, read on to find out if you should make time to watch All in Good Time.
The story in a nutshell centres around a close knit Asian family, focussing on newly married couple Atul Dutt (Reece Ritchie – Prince of Persia) and Vina (Amara Karan – The Darjeeling Limited). When their honeymoon to Goa is cancelled the day after the wedding, the newlyweds have to return home to live with the family. From here on begins the chaotic challenge of noesy neighbours and meddling parents and how the couple struggle to keep their marriage ticking…
The film is based on an award winning play called Rafta Rafta (Slowly Slowly) which played at the National Theatre in London in 2007. Rafta Rafta was based on a stage play by Bill Naughton called All in Good Time back in 1963, which was also made into a film in 1966, called The Family Way. Both the original play and film were wry comedies that showed the plight of North-of-England newlyweds forced by economics to live with their parents which often involved the fear of being heard through thin wall affecting the groom’s ability to rise to his marital duties! Many of you from Asian communities will be able to appreciate to this!
That is what makes the film so real and contemporary. In his version of the play Ayub Khan-Din updated the original, making the characters Asian, adding to the inherent situation the comic and psychological complexities of Asian family life and the clash between the self-made immigrant generation and their Westernised children. What makes this film different from the raft of other British Asian films is that it is not another ‘arranged marriage’ culture-clash drama. The film starts with a wedding in Bolton, but this time round the couple not only chose each other, they are already in love. The crux of the story is what happens after they are happily married.
The director, Nigel Cole, has shot All in Good Time plainly, without the glamour that Bollywood audiences are used to. At at the same time he has brought out the claustrophobic setting that many extended families live in and this serves a dramatic purpose of the film.
From an acting perspective the two leads are a delight to watch. The film version also has Meera Syal and Harish Patel, fantastically reprising their stage roles as the bridegroom’s parents. The highlight of the film has to be Harish Patel as the patriarchal father. His roaring performance as the loud but vulnerable head of the family towers about the rest.
All in Good Time is a likeable comedy of life, with some great performances and a realistic setting, which makes the film much more relatable. You’d need a hard heart not to empathise with the young couple’s plight and although originally a British play from almost half a century ago, the sentiments closely match experiences of today’s Asian communities. At an hour and half running time, no interval or songs, this film is an absolute steal, so do go watch it if you can.