When British film-maker Richard Attenborough began research for his film, Gandhi (1982), he asked India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru how he should depict the revered freedom fighter.

Nehru cautioned against turning him into a saint, saying that he was "a great man, but he had his weaknesses, his moods and his failings".

Singapore theatre group HuM seems to have taken this advice to heart in Being Mrs Gandhi, which sheds light on Gandhi's human foibles through the lens of his wife Kasturba (Daisy Irani) and their sons (Yogesh Tadwalkar and Krish Natarajan).

The English play is directed and written by Subin Subaiah.

A work of hagiography it is not. While it acknowledges Gandhi's belief in non-violence and his readiness for self-sacrifice – Gandhi, after all, embraced poverty and took a vow of celibacy – it also underscores his harshness towards his wife and children.

Being Mrs Gandhi is told from the perspective of Kasturba, who was engaged to Gandhi at the age of seven, married him at 14 and spent much time helping out in ashrams and taking part in civil protests, which often landed her in jail.

It all feels a bit like a dramatised history lesson, with a broad chronological sweep that includes Gandhi's time as a law student in England, a civil rights activist in South Africa and his role in the Indian independence movement.

  • REVIEW / THEATRE[hhmc]


    HuM Theatre

    KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT/Last Friday

Even though Gandhi never appears on stage, his presence can be felt everywhere and he is the main focus of the story.

Audiences expecting a bold, radical take on Kasturba herself will be disappointed.

Irani, the star of the show, is nonetheless a delight to watch. She does a good job of channelling her character's grace and strength, and makes numerous attempts to leaven the play with humour (although some jokes go down better than others).

  • BOOK IT / BEING MRS[hhmc]


    WHERE: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT, 20 Merbau Road

    WHEN: Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $55 to $85

    INFO: str.sg/JoH7

But this is not enough to distract theatregoers from the flaws oRead More – Source