In December 2004, Bhatti's Behzti hit the headlines when it was sensationally cancelled after protests in Birmingham. Behud is her playful response (not sequel) to the events surrounding Behzti, and the story of an artist struggling to be heard.
Given the original play’s controversy, the regional opening of Behud was greeted with a flurry of critical interest. Bhatti was praised for “stimulatingly confronting the issues head-on” and for the play’s “Pirandellian games about art and reality”. However, several critics felt that overall the play-within-a-play structure was too “tricksy” and stifled the drama to the extent that the “raw meat of theatre becomes a little lost among the root vegetables of reasoning”. All agreed on the importance of the work and its demonstration of the playwright’s “palpable capacity for survival”, suggesting that perhaps the play’s contribution to the importance of free speech makes it impervious to “irrelevant” criticism.
- Jude Offord