Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Behind the Beautiful Forevers on screen Sunday

Published:Friday | April 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Some of the more tha 30 Asian actors in The Beautiful Forevers features a large Aisan cast of more than 30 actors.
A scene from Behind the Beautiful Forevers.

A triumph for David Hare and Meera Syal. The play leaves you deeply affected.


Katrina Lindsay's design is a masterpiece.


Richly detailed. An insight into the slums of Mumbai.

Evening Standard

This Sunday, Behind the Beautiful Forevers will be shown at the Palace Cineplex 12, at 11:30 a.m.

It is adapted from Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, a non-fiction book authored by Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo in 2012. It won the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among many others.

Boo spent three years in Annawadi recording the lives of its residents. Now Sir David Hare, the English playwright, screenwriter, theatre and film director and two-time Academy Award nominee, who is most notable for his stage work, has adapted Katherine Boo's compelling and uncompromising book.

Hare has fashioned for the National Theatre a tumultuous play on an epic scale. India is surging with global ambition, but beyond the luxury hotels surrounding Mumbai airport lies a makeshift slum, full of people with plans of their own.

Zehrunisa and her son Abdul aim to recycle enough rubbish to fund a proper house. Sunil, 12 years old and stunted, wants to eat until he's as tall as Kalu the thief. Asha seeks to steal government anti-poverty funds to turn herself into a 'first-class person', while her daughter Manju intends to become the slum's first female graduate.

However, their schemes are fragile - global recession threatens the garbage trade and another slum-dweller is about to make an accusation that will destroy herself and shatter the neighbourhood.

The play is produced in association with American film and theatrical producer Scott Rudin. In 2012, Rudin became one of the few people to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award, and the first producer to do so.

The staging of this play is being described as "a glimpse into the future of the National Theatre and a handshake with the past". Sir Nicholas Hytner, who has been running The National Theatre (NT) since 2003, and is the man who implemented the NT Live Theatre series now on global cinema screens, ends his 12-year tenure this month. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is one of two plays scheduled by him which cap his unparalleled tenure at that institution.

Incoming boss Rufus Norris directs the work adapted by Sir David Hare. This is said to be a leap for the National Theatre, as the setting is out of Great Britain with the cast in excess of 30 actors, some of whom deliver outstanding performances.

Shane Zaza is the determined Abdul; Meera Syal plays his free-swearing mother, Zehurnis; Anjana Vasan is the self-improving Manju; Stephanie Street plays the pragmatic Asha, and Pal Aron is the inspirational teacher.

The National Theatre Live, NT in London is one of the UK's most prominent publicly funded theatre companies. The theatre presents a varied programme, including Shakespeare and other international classic drama, and new plays by contemporary playwrights.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers contains strong language and some scenes of violence. It is suitable for persons age 14 years old and over.

The series continues as below:





date and time


n The Hard Problem Sunday, May 10, 2015 @ 11:30 a.m.

n Man and Superman Sunday, June 7, 2015 @ 11:30 a.m.

Tickets are on sale at the box office of the Palace Cineplex, Palace Multiplex and via the web at www.palaceamusement.com (with a Palace Card).