River on Fire – Script

Series nameProduction: River on Fire

The following pages belong to the first scene of Rukhsana Ahmad’s script, ‘River on Fire’. The play explores the topics of death rites and religious conflicts and is set against the backdrop of the Mumbai riots between Hindus and Muslims which took place in December 1992. The production toured with Kali Theatre Company in 2001.

Date of Creation / Publication2001
CreatorAhmad, Rukhsana
Associated Person/ OrganisationWolf, Rita; Kali Theatre Company
Collection and Reference NumberKali Theatre Company (GB 2661 KT)
Catalogue NumberKT/PRO/RO/3
Access to originalsThe originals are located at Kali Theatre Company.
Series notesIn Spring 2001, Kali Theatre Company presented Rukhsana Ahmad’s play, ‘River on Fire’, which explores the subjects of religious beliefs and intolerance through the story of Kiran, a young Asian woman who arrives in Bombay from London to act in a Bollywood version of the play Antigone. After her mother, who is an atheist, dies unexpectedly, Kiran finds herself in a battle over death rites with her family as they decide whether to cremate or bury the body. The play is set against a backdrop of communal violence between Hindus and Muslims which enveloped the streets of Mumbai in the early 1990s during the Babri Masjid riots.

The cast of River on Fire include: Shiv Grewal as Bobby Siddiqui, Shelley King as Seema Siddiqui, Parminder Sekhon as Zara Mehta, Lyndam Gregory as Raj Dada, Parminder K. Nagra as Kiran Siddiqui, Ravi Aujla as Waheed, and Lyndam Gregory in the roles of Ashok, Raj Dada and Akbar.

The production team for River on Fire includes: Director, Helena Uren, Designer, Sophia Lovell Smith, Lighting Designer, Flick Ansell, Kathak Dance Choreographer, Gauri Sharma Tripathi and Sound Designer, Ansuman Biswas. The production toured in Spring 2001 to the following venues: the Lyric Studio in Hammersmith, London, the Leicester Haymarket, The Hawth in Crawley and The Gantry in Southampton.
Collection notesThe Kali Theatre Company collection consists of digitised material which fall into two categories: items which relate to Kali Theatre’s productions, such as programmes, flyers and photographs and material which provides information about workshops and outreach programmes.