Black Theatre Live


Punjabi Boy

A new play exploring relationships, masculinity and friendship

You’ve heard of the Essex Man and the Hackney Hipster it’s time to meet the Punjabi Boys of Hounslow.

Gary (Gurinder) and Bob are best friends growing up in Hounslow and while Bob (Balvinder) is your archetypal ‘Punjabi Boy’ who’s loud, enjoys eating Tandoori chicken and drinking whisky. Gary likes to spend his days reading Jean-Paul Sartre and speaking French.

 “You’d forget you was Punjabi if you didn’t look in the mirror every now and then. I bet you never told your posho mates that you never even spoke English. We couldn’t speak English. Only Punjabi.”

Gary wants to find his place in the world, so he escapes West London and his own Punjabi community to study in France. Here, he discovers for the first time in his life that being Indian is interesting!  However, when he falls for Aurelie, the first girl he meets, life starts to get complicated in ways he never imagined. Can Gary find love and a home in France or will he return to England and his own community?

Punjabi Boy tells the moving and funny story of Gary (Gurinder) and his struggle to find a place in the world. The play looks at if you can fully assimilate, belong or even be happy in another culture that is not your own.

Punjabi Boy is a recipient of the BBC Writersroom10 award for new writing. The play explores Asian masculinity, relationships and friendship. “I wanted to write a play about an Asian lad who speaks French. I’d never seen that before and it inspired me,” says writer, Amman Brar whose life is not too dissimilar to that of Gary’s. Brar grew up in Hounslow and later went to the University of Nantes, where he smoked Gauloises cigarettes, drank coffee and read Sartre, while studying for a degree in European economics. He argues that there are not enough plays about “sensitive Asian men” and set out to put that right.

Punjabi Boy was developed with the Royal Court Critical Mass writing group and Tamasha Theatre Company. It was developed at Rich Mix and is being supported by Tower Hamlets Council.

Featuring a talented cast of four actors (Amit Dhut, Avita Jay, Suzanne Kendall and Hassan Khan) Punjabi Boys is a new play exploring the complexities of the lives of young Asian men from West London.