Entertainment & Arts

Tributes paid to 'hero' playwright Parv Bancil

Parv Bancil
Image caption Bancil's plays included Crazyhorse, Made in England and Papa was a Bus Conductor

Tributes have been paid to playwright Parv Bancil, whose tackling of issues affecting young British Asians brought him both acclaim and controversy.

The BBC understands he died in London at the weekend, aged 50.

DJ Bobby Friction said Bancil had been his "hero and role model", while actor Nitin Ganatra remembered him as "one of the original BritAsian storytellers".

Broadcaster Anita Anand, actress Nina Wadia and director Gurinder Chadha also posted tribute messages on Twitter.

Bancil was formerly married to actress Shivani Ghai, who played Ayesha Rana in EastEnders.

Born in Tanzania in 1967, he lived in west London from the age of two and began writing plays in 1986.

In 1991 he won a Radio 4 Young Playwright award for Nadir, about a young second generation Asian man fresh out of prison.

He went on to write Papa was a Bus Conductor, a comedy satire about a dysfunctional family that was an early flowering of the British Asian comedy boom that spawned Goodness Gracious Me.

'So so sad'

In 1997 he wrote Crazyhorse for the Paines Plough theatre company, about a young man who becomes estranged from his father and embroiled in petty crime.

Its director Vicky Featherstone, now artistic director at the Royal Court in London, said she was "so so sad" to hear of his death.

After taking a year out to study film-making, Bancil began writing screenplays. He also became known as a cultural commentator.

In 2008 he asked "what have multicultural arts policies done for us?" in a piece for The Guardian.

In a biography on his official website, Bancil is described as being "a dynamic, uncompromising and controversial writer, long before it was fashionable".

Writing on Facebook, Bobby Friction said he was an "amazing and talented intellect" who had been "a mentor and icon to many many many people."

Comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar said Pancil's passing was "shocking", describing him as "part of the original Hounslow posse".

Bhaskar's wife, actress and writer Meera Syal, agreed his death was "sad and shocking".

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