Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti is a a British Sikh writer whose works have premiered at the Soho Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre in England. Bhatti has also written extensively for radio and film.
I recently came across her work today when the headlines told me of a censorship dispute between Bhatti and the BBC (http://bit.ly/12aHZl5). Bhatti, whose works have been known to centre around women and female identity within religious institutions, had written a new radio show for BBC entitled Heart of Darkness. The show was centred around the story of the murder of a 16-year old Asian girl. In the play, the murder is alluded to have been an honour killing. The article cited above gives details as to which lines are being taken out and why they are, according to Bhatti, completely misunderstood. Her fight for understanding is the reason why I've made her today's playwright of the day.
I sat and enjoyed Bhatti's Behzti (Dishonour) this afternoon and I was struck by her ability to dramatize mundanity. Bhatti does such an incredible job constructing her characters and their relationships to one another from the start of the play. The stakes of the show grip the audience from the beginning despite the fact the little more is happening than a doubtful love interest and a trip to the temple. In the second half of the play, when rape and murder are intertwined into the narrative through subtleties as gorgeous as a slight costume change or offstage drama, I actually jumped, just reading the play, out of compassion for the characters.
The show is incredibly dramatic with only the slightest bit of theatricality. Despite her beautiful depiction of terror, the play was protested on opening night. Bhatti had offended the Sikh temple to the point of violence erupting resulting in a cancellation of the show.
Bhatti's bravery is under-spoken but it is fascinating. She holds her head high above censorship and protest and we hold our hands high in support of her incredible contribution to the contemporary dramatic canon.