East is East

History (continued)

The company was brought to wider attention in 1996 with East is East  -  a moving comedy about a mixed-race family growing up in 1970s Salford.  Ayub Khan Din’s play, based on his own childhood, was co-commissioned and developed by Tamasha and the Royal Court, and opened to audience and critical acclaim.  After two London runs and a national tour, the production transferred to the West End, receiving an Olivier nomination, while Ayub collected John Whiting and Writers' Guild awards.  The subsequent film became one of the UK’s most successful, making stars out of original cast members Jimi Mistry and Chris Bisson.

In 1997, Tamasha was invited to premiere A Tainted Dawn at the Edinburgh International Festival.  Marking 50 years since partition in India, this play featured an original score by Nitin Sawhney and the then unknown Parminder Nagra among its cast.  1998's Bollywood homage Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings a Funeral would prove to be another hit with audiences nationally.  For Tamasha, it led to two succesful remounts and a TMA Barclays Theatre Award for Best New Musical.  For Parminder, it led to a lead role in Bend it Like Beckham (and eventually ER) after having been spotted in the show by director Gurinder Chadha.

The focus moved closer to home in 1999 as the lives of Birmingham’s restaurateurs became the subject of Tamasha's next middle scale piece.  “The rising smoke of the kitchen in the unforgettable Balti Kings,” wrote columnist Yasmin Alibhai Brown, “disseminated the pain and strength of immigrants better than any over-funded government report.”

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