Meera Syal is a comedian, writer, dramatist, singer, journalist, and actor from England. She achieved notoriety as a member of the production staff for Goodness Gracious Me and as Sanjeev’s grandma, Ummi, in The Kumars at No. 42. She rose to prominence as one of the UK’s most well-known Asian figures.
She was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1997 New Year Honours and was named one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy by The Observer in 2003. In the 2015 New Year Honours, she was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to play and writing.
Meera Syal Bio
Syal was born in Wolverhampton on June 27, 1961, and grew up in Essington, Staffordshire, a mining community a few miles to the north. Surinder Syal (father) and Surinder Kaur (mother), both Indian Punjabis, immigrated to the United Kingdom from New Delhi. Her family relocated to Bloxwich, north of Walsall, when she was a child.
This environment, as well as the family’s status as the sole Asian family in the small Midlands mining community of Essington, would eventually serve as the setting for Syal’s novel (later film) Anita and Me, which she characterized as semi-autobiographical in a 2003 BBC interview. She attended Queen Mary’s High School in neighbouring Walsall before going on to study English and Drama at the University of Manchester, where she graduated with a Double First.
Meera Syal Bio: Career
In 2023, she received the BAFTA Fellowship, the organization’s highest honour, for her work in film. Syal joined the Stephen Joseph Studio while studying in Manchester, playing and then creating theatre plays. She had gained a place to study for an MA in theatre and psychology at the University of Leeds, followed by a PGCE to teach. She had, however, co-written with Jackie Shapiro the one-woman play, One of Us, in which Syal played all fifteen roles.
In 1993, Syal wrote the script for the movie Beach directed by Bend. In the 1996 movie Beautiful Thing, she portrayed Miss Chauhan, a high school football coach. She was a member of the writing and performing crew for the BBC radio and television comic sketch programme Goodness Gracious Me (1996-2001). She wrote the script for A.R. Rahman and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Bombay Dreams. She also portrayed Sushila, the grandmother, in the seven-season of the International Emmy-winning drama The Kumars at No. 42.
As part of her illustrous career, she featured in the BBC Two series Beautiful People in October 2008. In 2009, she still played Aunty Hayley in this capacity. In the eleventh season of Holby City, Syal played consultant Tara Sodi.
She appeared as a guest on Minder in 2009 and also acted in the movie Mad, Sad, and Bad. In a one-woman performance in 2010 at the Menier Chocolate Factory, which eventually moved to Trafalgar Studios, she portrayed Shirley Valentine. She co-starred with Matt Smith as Nasreen Chaudhry in two episodes of Doctor Who that same year.
She plans of releasing a memoir about his life in 2025.
Meera Syal’s Other Notable Contributions and Writing Credits.
Syal is a sporadic singer who peaked at No. 42 with the Comic Relief single “Spirit in the Sky” featuring Gareth Gates and her co-stars from The Kumars. She previously contributed vocals to a bhangra rendition of “Then He Kissed Me” in 1998 as a member of the short-lived female group Saffron, which was created by Biddu and included Pakistani pop diva Nazia Hassan.
She occasionally contributes articles as a journalist to The Guardian.
She is also an author of four novels: Anita and Me (1996), Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee (1999), which was translated into German in 2003 and published as Sari, Jeans und Chilischoten, and The House of Hidden Mothers (2015).
Meera Syal Bio: Meera Syal’s Age
Meera Syal was born on June 27, 1961, and currently, she is 62 years old. Her zodiac sign is Gemini.
Meera Syal’s Height
Meera Syal stands about 1.70m tall and weighs about 65kg.
Where is Meera Syal from?
Although Meera Syal grew up in grew up in Essington, Staffordshire, she was born in Wolverhampton, in the United Kingdom.
What is Meera Syal famous for?
She is famously known through co-writing and appearing in the television series Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No 42. She has also appeared in the films Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987), and Beautiful Thing (1996) and her screenplays include Bhaji on the Beach (1993), for which she won several accolades.
Meera Syal’s Career Awards and Recognition
Syal has won several awards, including the National Student Drama Award for her performance in Jacqueline Shapiro’s play One of Us while still an undergraduate. She was honoured with the Media Personality of the Year award at the Commission for Racial Equality’s annual Race in the Media awards in 2000, as well as the Betty Trask Award for her debut book, Anita and Me. In 2003, she received the Nazia Hassan Foundation prize.
in 2011–12, Syal was named a visiting professor of modern theatre at St. Catherine’s College in Oxford. She holds honorary degrees from the University of Roehampton and SOAS in London. The Prince of Wales presented her with a CBE at Buckingham Palace on May 6, 2015. Syal was chosen as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2017. She was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship in May 2023, which is seen to be the British Academy Television Awards’ top honour.
Meera Syal Parents
Her parents are Surinder Syal (father) and Surinder Kaur (mother), Indian immigrants living in the United Kingdom.
Meera Syal Siblings
Syal’s brother, Rajeev Syal, is an investigative journalist who covers Whitehall for The Guardian.
Meera Syal Husband
Syal married journalist Shekhar Bhatia in 1989, and they gave birth to Milli Bhatia, who is the Royal Court Theatre’s assistant director. Syal and Shekhar Bhatia got separated in 2002. In January 2005, Syal married Sanjeev Bhaskar, and they gave birth to a son in 2005. Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar are still happily married.
Meera Syal Children
Milli Bhatia, Chameli Bhatia and Shaan Bhaskar are the three children of Meera Syal
Meera Syal’s Net Worth
Meera syal has an estimated net worth of about $5 Million which she accrued from her illustrous career.