‘An impressive piece – warm, humorous, stirring, and deeply sad’

Flashes of humour punctuate a script that doesn’t shy away from the ugly business of torture and grooming
Evening Standard

‘Guptas play is constantly revealing both our capacity for cruelty and humanity’

‘[an] ambitious, driving play’
The Guardian

‘[Dinesh] is played with tremendous energy by Shubham Saraf, as warm and lively as the candles flickering on this wonderful stage’
The Times

‘The storytelling is clear, bright, compelling and often witty’
Financial Times

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Lions and Tigers

The forgotten martyrs of Indian independence

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Wednesday 23 August – Saturday 16 September 2017

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Tickets Running Time
Fixed Position Standing: £10 | Seated: £20 – £48 | Premium Tickets: £62 Approx 2hr 30 including an interval

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Tanika Gupta

Pooja Ghai

Rosa Maggiora

Arun Ghosh

Movement Director
Wayne Parsons 

Fight Directors
Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of Rc-Annie Ltd 

Musical Director
Arun Ghosh

Assistant Director
Milli Bhatia 


Esh Alladi 
Mahatma Gandhi

Raj Bajaj
Badal Gupta / Ram

Adam Best
Swann / Mills / Colonel Davis / Lord Birkenhead

Sudha Bhuchar

Jaz Deol
Jawaharlal Nehru / Binoy Bose

Tony Jayawardena
Subhash Bose / Jyotish Gupta / Watchman

Jonathan Keeble
Charles Tegart / Lord Irwin / Executioner

Shalini Peiris

Shubham Saraf
Dinesh Gupta

Arun Ghosh and Sarathy Korwar

View the cast headshots on the blog → 

Please note: this production has now closed.

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. 


Death is my friend, my greatest benefactor. My liberty is in death, my life eternal is in death’ – Dinesh Gupta

An introduction


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