Bombay Black
by Anosh Irani

"...lovely theatre, well-designed, nicely staged, intriguingly acted and promisingly written... a masterful blend of eroticism and mystery."
Toronto Star

- 2007 Governor General's Award nomination

- Indian premiere in Mumbai, September 2007
For information on the Indian production,
click here.

- Published by Playwrights Canada Press, 2007

- 4 Dora Awards including Outstanding New Play,
Outstanding Set Design, Costume Design, and
Sound Design/ nominations for Outstanding Production and Lighting Design

Set in present-day India, Bombay Black is a powerful story of vengeance, betrayal, and seduction.

Anosh has a wonderful theatrical sensibility and a gift for bringing together magical fables and the gritty reality of Indian street life. The play is the story of Apsara, who lives in Bombay with her mother, making a living by selling erotic dances to wealthy men. When a blind man named Kamal arrives for an appointment, the complex and brutal past of the three characters slowly rises to the surface.

Featuring a remarkable poetic text, bold theatrical imagery and a combination of contemporary Bombay bar dancing and Indian classical dance, Bombay Black is challenging work by one of Canada's leading new playwriting voices.


Production History

Cahoots Theatre Projects, Toronto
Premiere: January 4 to 22, 2006

Directed by Brian Quirt
Cast: Deena Aziz, Anita Majumdar, Sanjay Talwar
Design by Camellia Koo
Lighting Design by Rebecca Pitcherack
Original Music & Sound Design by
Suba Sankaran
Choreographer: Nova Bhattacharya
Assistant Director: Andrea Romaldi

Stage Managed by Isaac Thomas

2008 Tour: Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre (February 8-10, 2008); Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre as part of their subscription season (February 21 - March 15, 2008)

Production photos...

For a copy of the script, please contact Nightswimming Producer Naomi Campbell.

Bombay Black received a public reading as part of the National Arts Centre (Ottawa) On the Verge New Play Reading Festival 2005.

Thank you to Imali Perera, Alison Sealy-Smith, and Anand Rajaram for their work in early workshops of the play.




Deena Azia as Padma &
Anita Majumdar as Apsara
(photo by John Lauener)

"Bombay Black has taken the gender war to where it should belong. It no longer considers femininity to be the obliging lump of flesh for male chauvinism to knead, pound and mould into carnal subjugation. In contrast, femininity here is a hissing snake with unadulterated anger, writhing and waiting to pounce upon the sinning male for revenge. Bombay Black is a searing play.”

**** (4 stars) "Bombay Black focuses on the complex and conflicting relationship between an angry old woman (the versatile Deena Aziz) and her daughter Apsara (Anita Majumdar), a beautiful exotic dancer. When Apsara's client Kamal (Sanjay Talwar) unearths secrets from the family's past, the two characters take on an unexpected depth and darkness. This sudden and seamless tonal shift establishes one of Bombay Black's many graceful contrasts. Playwright Anosh Irani carefully navigates between convincing casual conversation and rich lyricism...a precarious balance between beautiful mythology and ugly realism, between hope and despair. " – Eye Weekly

NNNN – "Anosh Irani's sultry, spooky and surreal tale of thwarted love and bittersweet revenge. Anita Majumdar plays Apsara with emotional and physical force. Opposite Sanjay Talwar's gentle, dreamy Kamal, their relationship beautifully captures the optimism of love against all odds. Director Brian Quirt tackles the story with a strong sense of scene composition, anchoring Irani's text with strong, often disturbing images. "
– Now Magazine