A Fine Balance

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What to expect

A compelling dramatisation of Rohinton Mistry’s Booker Prize-nominated novel about India’s underclass

India, 1975. Desperate to preserve her independence from her abusive brother, Parsi widow Dina Dilal turns her cramped city apartment into a sweatshop. But when her eyesight begins to fail, she hires two tailors – uncle and nephew Ishvar and Om, who have fled from caste violence in their native village. She also takes in a lodger – Maneck, a reluctant student from the mountains.

Initially wary of each other, the four strangers soon form a close bond of friendship, loyalty and love. But their lives are about to be turned upside down, for India in the mid-1970s is in a state of crisis, riven by political turmoil and corruption. As Indira Gandhi’s ‘Emergency’ measures come into force, civil liberties are suspended and human rights suppressed. In this climate of chaos, violence and injustice, Dina and her makeshift family find themselves struggling to survive and facing an uncertain future…

Tragic, comic, poignant and redemptive, this heart-rending drama is a celebration of the human spirit under inhuman conditions. Adapted by Ayeesha Menon and Kewel Karim, it stars Shernaz Patel as Dina, Kenneth Desai as Ishvar, Anand Tiwari as Om and Neil Bhoopalam as Maneck.

Production credits
Written by Rohinton Mistry
Dramatised by Ayeesha Menon and Kewel Karim
Produced by Nadir Khan
Directed by John Dryden
Music: Sacha Putnam
Sound Design: Steve Bond
Production Manager: Niloufer Sagar
A Goldhawk Production for BBC Radio 4

Cast
Dina – Shernaz Patel
Ishvar – Kenneth Desai
Om – Anand Tiwari
Maneck – Neil Bhoopalam
Rustom – Zafar Karachiwala
Ibrahim – Rajit Kapur
The Thakur – Jayant Kripalaini
Ashraf – Darshan Jariwala
Nusswan – Farid Currim
Ruby – Anahita Uberoi
Narayan – Vivek Madan
Young Dina – Tirtha Kotrial
Young Ishvar – Eshan Savla
Young Narayan – Samar Uraizee
Ensemble – Jim Sarbh, Abhishek Saha, Meherangiz Acharya-Dar, Faezeh Jalali, Shivani Tanksale, Nadir Khan
Beggarmaster – Ankur Vikal
Worm – Namit Das
Rajaram – Jaimini Pathak

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 22 March-5 April 2015

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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