In 2004, Bhatti's decision to set the play [Behzti] in a gurdwara became the main point of contention. The [Birmingham] Rep had taken the unusual step of inviting Sikh community leaders to a private preview to air their concerns, after which they agreed not to oppose the play if the setting was moved to a community centre. Bhatti refused. "I wanted to write a play about religious hypocrisy," she explains, "for which the setting in a gurdwara was non-negotiable. The attempt to establish a dialogue with the Sikh community was well intentioned, but ultimately misinterpreted as an invitation to rewrite my play."Behud is at the Belgrade in Coventry 27 March–10 April, then at the Soho Theatre in London 13 April–8 May.
In Behud, the writer pours scorn on what she terms "Enid Blyton Asian plays where everyone loves each other in the end". Is that how Bhatti feels? "I would say it is, yes. Part of me is glad that I had the chance to make [religious leaders] listen to what I had to say."
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
In The Guardian, Guild member Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti tells Alfred Hickling about her new play, Behud, which addresses some of the issues raised by the response to her previous work, Behzti.