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High quality drama pulls no punches

Pink Sari Revolution, Belgrade B2, Coventry, to Saturday October 21.

A number of high profile cases about sexual violence against women have hit the western press in recent years. They make grim and sickening reading. And they are only the tip of the iceberg. This sort of male violence has gone unchallenged for years. The dutiful Indian wife is taught to accept that this is part of her lot in life. But now, the women of India are fighting back. Led by Sampat Pal, more than 400,000 women have formed a movement to battle for their rights. The pink saris of the title are the uniform of the band of women fighting to turn the tide of male violence.

The Gulabi Gang, as they are known, chose pink because, it is said, this is the colour of the sky before a storm breaks. And so, Pink Sari Revolution takes to the stage at the Belgrade’s B2. The play, a true story, based on a book by journalist Amana Fontanella–Khan, traces the fortune of a low caste girl raped by a high caste man. From the opening scenes when, as the mist clears to reveal a body hanging from a tree, it becomes apparent that this is a play not afraid to challenge difficult issues. Syreeta Kumar, in the role of Sampat Pal, gives a ferocious performance as the leader of the gang ready to challenge the corrupt Indian systems that keep women in their subservient places. The rest of the cast move seamlessly between their roles, as the play moves towards its inevitable conclusion.

We are left wondering about the impact of the male violence on future generations and the toll it takes on the lives and families of those who are involved. How much will really change for the low caste women of India? A powerful production, and an atmospheric set, this is high quality, thought provoking drama, suited to the intimacy of B2, where the audience becomes part of the play.

Highly recommended.

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