Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Radio: Bindi Business

Radio reviews. Photo: Shutterstock Photo: Shutterstock

Playwright Tanika Gupta doesn’t want to be defined by her British Bengali background, nor be restricted by issues of ethnicity. But her new work for radio falls disappointingly flat, neither taking the chance to expand beyond its British Asian setting, nor picking up and running with the Asian themes she chucks into the mix and then drops.

The story is that of a 51-year-old Asian woman, Bindi, who launches a beauty business on the proceeds of a redundancy pay-off. Business start-ups by women are increasing but this is no professional primer. Bindi’s response to a grilling by a bank employee about her lack of a business plan is to massage his neck. In the role, Meera Syal is likeable as Bindi, but forced by the script into a faux-sitcom attitude at such points, ramping up her Indian accent, adding a comical edge, as if this somehow erases the need for professional credentials.

Bindi’s daughter Anu (Krupa Pattani) is a well-drawn character, a young woman of great intelligence, little self-confidence and few prospects in the jobs market. Bindi cruelly gibes at Anu’s facial hair and the subject of Asian hirsutism is alluded to, but the issues raised not explored, likewise the subject of women who lighten their skin.

Gupta’s series is well-structured to the 15-minute drama series slot, each episode rising to an entertaining crescendo, but frustratingly fails to scratch the glossy surface. The ludicrous finale, in which Bindi sells the far from beautiful company, will have business women crying into their spreadsheets.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Tanika Gupta’s reputation for fearlessness takes a knock with thin drama series about a far from professional Asian business woman