Meera Syal CBE (Commander of the British Empire, one of the highest orders given in the UK) is one of the best known names in the South Asian scene, and not just in desi circles, but beyond. She has proven herself as a major talent in several areas – acting, comedy, writing, singing, journalism, production, and playwriting. On June 4, 2015 Syal released her third novel, “The House of Hidden Mothers,” (buy here if in US; here if in UK), which centers on the topic of surrogacy (review coming soon on Urban Asian). Meera and I caught up while I was in London a few weeks back to discuss the novel and the South Asian scene. Despite all her accolades, she was one of the most down to earth talents I have met, and we quickly connected. This interview is easily one of my favorite interviews, and I was lucky enough to receive wonderful positive feedback from Meera herself!
Meera solidified her place in UK television with her outstanding portrayal of Sanjeev’s grandmother, Ummi, in the “The Kumars at No. 42“. Her work as a screenplay writer for “Bhaji on the Beach” was lauded by all, and she also contributed as a writer to AR Rahman and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Bombay Dreams” production. The list can go on about all she has done! In fact, Meera was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1997 New Year Honours and in 2003 was listed in The Observer as one of the fifty funniest acts in British comedy. Also, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to drama and literature!