Surrogacy drama on British stage looks at the baby-producing industry in India

London: “Let’s crack on with my Easter Eggs hunt,” Eva (Gina Isaac) tells Dr Gupta (Syreeta Kumar).
London-based Eva is desperate to have a baby. Alas! Her husband Tom died a few years back. She chooses to have a baby through surrogacy at Dr Gupta’s clinic in India.
‘Made in India’– a creation of UK’s Tamasha and The Belgrade Theatre in association with Pilot Theatre – is a thrilling new play about birth and motherhood.
Written by UK-based British Asian playwright Satinder Chohan, the play which is currently touring England, explores the politics and commercialisation behind the surrogacy industry. Through the play, she tactfully unravels what really goes inside this ‘baby producing factory’.
In this woman-centric play, Satinder skilfully handles the shifting power dynamics between the three protagonists without any visual or narrative digressions.
Set in a surrogacy clinic in Gujarat, the three women – Eva, who’s in a good position in an advertising industry in the UK; Dr Gupta runs a clinic which is quite popular among foreign clients, and Aditi (Ulrika Krishnamurti) a dairy worker and a single mother of two daughters – meet over the business of having a baby.
After failed IVF treatments, Dr Gupta is the only hope for the affluent Eva to enjoy motherhood, and for Aditi (the intended surrogate), surrogacy is a lifeline out of poverty – an opportunity to give her daughters a better education and life.
A sudden twist in the story comes up when the political scenario changes and the three women are left in a limbo. The state election and the introduction of ban especially on foreigners paying for surrogacy, creates an upheaval thus disrupting their personal interests. The situation poses questions surrounding surrogacy and the related economic issues.
Ulrika as Aditi is unbeatable. Her outstanding performance gives a wider picture of those rural women in India for whom renting their wombs is an escape route to poverty.
Satinder’s dextrous tackling of the topic gives a broader picture of global issues, of which, surrogacy is one, and how moral values are sacrificed for financial gains.
Lydia Denno ‘s use of red sarees which represents cascading blood; the light which filters through multiple screens made of yarn, and Arun Ghosh’s sound design, creates a perfect scene to represent child birth and the pain a woman goes through during that period.
The joint effects of Prema Mehta’s lighting, Shanaz Gulzar’s video images and Katie Posner’s fine direction makes the play extremely emotional thus leaving the audience completely gobsmacked.
However, Satinder hopes that one day the play would travel to India. She said, “I would love the play to travel to India but sadly, there are no plans for that as yet. My work is deeply rooted in my Indian identity, culture and community, so I always hope that any and all of my work will be staged there.”

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