All in Good Time
All in Good Time is the film adaptation of the Olivier Award winning play Rafta Rafta, written by Ayub Khan-Din in 2007 and originally created by Bill Naughton in 1963.
As he did with the play East Is East, Ayub Khan-Din adapted the All in Good Time stage script for the big screen, this time to be directed by Nigel Cole of Calendar Girls (2003), and Made in Dagenham (2010). Indeed, this story needed an electrifying revival.
All in Good Time is brimming with proficient actors, with Harish Patel and Meera Syal returning to their roles from the original play Rafta Rafta. Reece Ritchie, of The Lovely Bones, and Amara Karan, of The Darjeeling Limited, play newly-weds Atul Dutt and his wife Vina as they get to grips with a very personal marital problem: their failure to consummate it.
Atul feels responsible for it and stroppily sets out to emotionally beat himself up until he finds a solution. Similar to Ayub Khan-Din’s popular East Is East, the problem these main characters face is compounded by their relationships with their families.
Atul and Vina’s post-marital bed is wall to wall with Atul’s parents. Cue some uncomfortable sexual noises and wall bashing frustration from the newly-weds. This rom-com drama is vibrant with heartfelt performances; Meera Syal and Harish Patel especially are note-perfect as Atul’s parents Lopa and Eeshwar – and without them this film could have been a lot less exciting.
Set in Bradford, the juxtaposition of Indian culture meets Northern England, promises to be as endearing and interesting as ever as the film opens with Atul and Vina on their wedding day.
However, despite All in Good Time starting with this high-paced joviality, the pace fails to take off. The possibilities of how this film could have further enriched the story and characters of Rafta Rafta, falls short of the mark. Cole fails to expand upon the cinematic potential such a wonderful play is capable of, leaving some scenes down to the strength of acting performances instead of complementing them.
Though All in Good Time deals primarily with Atul and Vina’s marital problems, the prospect for a rich and interesting story lies with Atul’s parents. But the film skims the surface of this, briefly touching on their past, their strife and their own relationship troubles. Atul and Vina’s behaviour is directly comparable to the marriage of both their parents and therefore, when the story reveals another dysfunction so close to home, it is a shame that the film cuts short before exploring the significance of it.
There are enough funny moments to compensate, with light-hearted entertaining and laugh-out-loud one-liners. Despite its lack of originality, this adaptation is engaging, endearing, sweet and sad and the dialogue displays the witty sharpness of Ayub Khan-Din’s previous screenplays.
All in Good Time is ultimately a bit disappointing. The potential depth of story offered does not blossom into anything meaningful and instead sits uncomfortably within the romantic comedy. It seems as though this could have easily been the difference between a piece of light entertainment and a film with the bite of East Is East. It is a shame that this is the case, because as a film it is enjoyable. Therefore All in Good Time feels like a softer (excuse the pun) version of its predecessor.
All in Good Time is out 11th May 2012.
Watch the trailer for All in Good Time here