Reviews

Play review: No Dogs, No Indians | Colonialism and revolution in India

Hello everyone! I just quickly want to say that this review is a bit less personal and more ‘fancy’ than my usual posts. That is because I originally wrote it without knowing if I would put it on my blog or publish it somewhere else, so I went with a more safe and ‘professional’ (whatever) approach. Of course, it still consist of my own opinions and thoughts, so I hope you like it!

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Have you ever seen something so incredible, so flawlessly executed that you couldn’t stop thinking about it for days? There have been books that kept me reading until the early hours of the morning, movies that kept be on the edge of my seat. But it had never happened with a play—until I went to see No Dogs, No Indians.

The play by Siddhartha Bose follows three stories: in 1932, a revolutionary woman is preparing to attack a whites-only club in occupied Bengal; in the 70s, an intellectual in Kolkata is in love with all things British; and in 2017, a young man returns from London for his father’s funeral, finding that the modern city is still haunted by its past.

By weaving these stories together, the play explores the consequences of colonialism and the presence of the British in India. The characters become divided—some find pride in where they come from, while others choose to distance themselves from their country and prefer reciting Shakespeare over and over. But the play is so much more than that: the characters come to life on stage, each one leaving their mark as they laugh, cry, shout, and stand in silence. We see them struggle through everything from starting a revolution to raising a child; characters leave, return home, die. And all the things that happen, the conversations they have, seem to cycle back to oppression and colonialism, to India and the British.

The story of the revolutionary weaves itself into the lives of the others. Her shouts of freedom and independence resound in their conversations, colonialism still a part of them decades later. The play offers a moving and shaking look at terrorism and the desperate wish for change that more often than not lies behind it. It is terrifying and uncomfortable to watch, but that is the point: terrorism is uncomfortable, and the reasons behind it more so. The violence is so deeply rooted in oppression and occupation that it becomes impossible to untangle the mess, to see where a wish for change ends and revenge starts, to separate right from wrong. Siddhartha Bose showcased this complexity beautifully, the actors shining in their roles through tears, smiles, and flawlessly delivered lines, the story holding nothing back.

No Dogs, No Indians is without a doubt one of the most amazing performances out there, trumping most movies in dialogue, character and plot. I cannot recommend it enough.

 

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Have you guys heard of No Dogs, No Indians? I found out after seeing it that it exists as a book, and also that the author has written some poetry, so I will be checking all of that out soon. I absolutely urge you to go see the play if you can, it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in a long time!

‘Till next time and happy reading!

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Featured image: Freepik & Freepik
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