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How Top Female Comedian Meera Syal Is Giving Back To Women In India And South Asia

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Twenty years on from the release of the critically-acclaimed film 'Bhaji On The Beach', the film's themes around women's rights still resonate today.

This may explain why Meera Syal, who wrote the film, is still committed to making a difference. She currently supports work by Asian Circle and Oxfam to address violence against women and gender inequality in India and South Asia.

We caught up with her before the 20th anniversary screening of 'Bhaji on the Beach' at the Tongues On Fire Asian film festival, to discuss why the issues addressed in the 1993 film are still important today.

meera syal

Why did you become involved in the Asian Circle initiative - what does the cause mean to you?

I got involved in the initiative because fundamentally it is such a good cause. Oxfam are doing a wonderful job supporting women in India to build a life for themselves, so it becomes our duty to help out where we can.

I have always been a staunch supporter of women’s rights. I think in countries like India where it’s not so widely recognised or accepted, it’s so important to give as much as we can and help them.

Asian Circle have done a great job in organising the event and timed it perfectly for International Women’s Day.

Everything has tied in so nicely; the significant day and the fact that it’s the 20th anniversary of 'Bhaji On The Beach'.

How does it feel to be able to give back to others through such an initiative?

It feels great and I feel humbled. I feel privileged to be able to help people out who are really in need of it.

Asian Circle is a wonderful initiative which provides support to disenfranchised women. It is a network of UK based influential women with a untied passion to support women who are facing gender injustice, poverty and abuse in South Asia.

I am and have always been a great supporter of projects which empower women and really help them build a life for themselves. All the women who are part of the Asian Circle are wonderful and inspiring because you can tell they really care for the Oxfam projects and are so willing to give back to the community.

What do you hope to achieve through your involvement in the cause?

I hope to help raise as much awareness as possible as well as much funding as possible. I really want to be able to make a difference to underprivileged women’s lives which can only happen through raising vital funds.

It seems very apt that the screening is raising funds for projects that are actively working to prevent violence against women.

We made 'Bhaji on the Beach' to raise awareness of these issues, and although it makes me very sad to see that such terrible violence continues against women both here and across the world, it does give me hope that organisations like Oxfam and Asian Circle are actively working to put an end to the brutality and to help women create a better future.

We need as much support as possible and 20th anniversary screening event at SOAS on Monday 10 March, is hoping to raise as much money as possible.

The screening of 'Bhaji on the Beach' will take place in the Brunei Gallery at SOAS University, London at 5.30pm on Monday 10 March.

Tickets are £15 per person (or £7 for students), purchase them through Eventbrite

The event is hosted in conjunction with Oxfam and Asian Circle, a network of UK based influential Asian Women with a united passion to support women in India and South Asia. All ticket proceeds go to Oxfam in India to end violence against women.

 
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