Shakespeare's Globe

Lions and Tigers [2017]

Written by: Tanika Gupta
Directed by: Pooja Ghai

The ideals and the paths of the young and old are always different’ – Dinesh Gupta


Based on the true story of her great uncle and freedom fighter Dinesh Gupta, Lions and Tigers is the world premiere of a new play by leading playwright Tanika Gupta. This dramatically relevant and authentic story is set against the backdrop of negotiations between the leaders of the Indian National Congress; the future Prime Minister Nehru wavers between his respect for Gandhi’s non-violence and his admiration for the youthful fervour of the militant Bengali nationalist, Subhas Chandra Bose. 

Lions and Tigers charts Dinesh Gupta’s emotional and political awakening as this extraordinary 19 year old pits himself against the British Raj. Culminating in actions that shook the foundations of the British Empire, Lions and Tigers challenges our assumptions about Indian independence and offers new insights into the battles between the British lions and the Bengal tigers.

The play gives an insight into the lives of the ordinary men and women struggling to achieve freedom. Among scenes of brutality, aggression and strong language there are touching moments of love and humour.


Tanika Gupta has written over 20 stage plays for major British theatres but this is her most personal play yet. Based on family stories that Tanika heard from early childhood, the play teems with details drawn from her grandfather’s 500 page handwritten journal about his younger brother – and from the 92 letters written by her great-uncle from his prison cell. 

The letters by Nehru, Gandhi and Bose mentioned throughout the play are also taken verbatim from their original correspondence.

Please note: this production contains scenes of a violent nature, gunshots, a suicide attempt, and graphic imagery. 


  • Designer Rosa Maggiora
  • Composer Arun Ghosh
  • Movement Director Wayne Parsons
  • Fight Director Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of Rc-Annie Ltd
  • Musical Director Arun Ghosh
  • Assistant Director Milli Bhatia

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