Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

© Asian Media Group - 2024


Tanika Gupta


AS A playwright, Tanika Gupta has the power very subtly to influence people’s perceptions on a wide range of issues. Take, for example, how she has been able to depict Queen Victoria as quite a progressive and liberal monarch in her play, The Empress. It clearly held the audience when it was staged at the Hammersmith Lyric in October last year. At one point, Victoria is visibly angry when her lady in waiting, Lady Sarah, refers disparagingly to Abdul Karim, whom the Queen has promoted to the position of her confidant, her “Munshi”. The Royal household is not pleased with Karim’s exalted position, reflected in Lady Sarah’s complaint: “They say you show undue favour to your Indian servant, Abdul Karim.” The Queen is enraged by Lady Sarah’s remark: “He is not a servant, please never refer to Abdul as such. He is our teacher.” Tanika’s CV says: “Over the past 25 years Tanika has written over 25 stage plays that have been produced in major theatres across the UK. She has written 30 radio plays for the BBC and several original television dramas, as well as scripts for EastEnders, Grange Hill and The Bill. She has taught drama and run workshops in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, India, USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Argentina, Chile and across the UK.” She was born on December 1, 1963, in Chiswick, west London, and grew up steeped in the arts. There was no question of her parents telling her to get a proper job. Her mother and her father, Gairika and Tapan Gupta – both have now passed away – set up the Tagoreans, a society aimed at spreading the best of Bengali culture after the couple arrived in London from Calcutta in 1961.

She remembered she was partly shaped by Oxford where

To continue reading, please register

Already register? Login