December 1999 — June 2000

Balti Kings

by Sudha Bhuchar & Shaheen Khan, directed by Kristine Landon-Smith

“Balti Kings is excellent theatre and gives a faithful representation of characters that Birmingham’s Asian population know only too well…the result is a cutting-edge examination of a rapidly changing culture.”


In Birmingham’s Balti Land, where Indian restaurants ruthlessly compete for custom, curry wars rage with price slashing and chef poaching.

Restaurateur Yahsin Anwar is on the verge of being swallowed up by the mighty Karachi Karahi. To ward off this threat, his family plan a grand re-opening where you can pile your plate for under a fiver and ‘curryoke’ into the night. But the temperature in the kitchen soon rises, as the chef is faced with the challenge of producing 35 dishes in five hours, hampered by staff whose personal affairs are also hotting up…

BALTI KINGS is a comical slice of contemporary British Asian life centred around the businessmen of the Midlands who have built their fortunes on the back of Britain’s most popular food. Sue Mayes’ set for the show even featured a real working kitchen, ensuring that the actors not only had to remember their lines but cook as well. The play was also the inspiration for Tamasha’s first short film MIDNIGHT FEAST.

“The writing is excellent, sharply observant about the lives of the luckless wage-slaves in the kitchen. The acting has a superb understated naturalism…the smells of the Indian cooking as winningly authentic as the humanity of the characterisation.”

Daily Telegraph

Original Cast

Shammi Aulakh

Ameet Chana

Kriss Dosanjh

Nabil Elouahabi

Indira Joshi

Nizwar Karanj

Mirko Sekulic

Zelda Tinska

Anthony Zaki


Writers Sudha Bhuchar & Shaheen Khan

Director Kristine Landon-Smith

Designer Sue Mayes

Lighting Designer Chris Davey

Composer Barrie Bignold

Sound Engineer Mike Furness