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Seven Indian actors and characters on American TV you should know

American TV is embracing actors and characters from the subcontinent like never before

brunch Updated: Sep 18, 2016 00:34 IST
Indira Varma plays Ellaria Sand in
Indira Varma plays Ellaria Sand in

Nimrat Kaur as Tasneem Qureshi, the nefarious ISI agent in Homeland and now, an architect in M Night Shyamalan’s Wayward Pines. Priyanka Chopra as FBI agent Alex Parrish in Quantico... Indian actors today are being recognised abroad for their talent and are not confined to playing characters hailing from the subcontinent. Also, foreign actors are comfortably fitting into the shoes and accents of Indian characters. Here is a curated list:

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon |The Simpsons

Voiced by: Hank Azaria

His first name is a homage to Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy. He’s the workaholic owner of a convenience store in Springfield who, though genial, has no qualms in ripping off his customers. His trademark “Thank you… Come again” in a thick stereotypical Indian accent is often slammed as racist. Yet he is one of the most prominent South Asian characters on prime time TV in the US. Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, gets the Indian accent spot on – it has got him three Emmy awards! The show airs on Star World.

Ellaria Sand | Game of Thrones

Played by: Indira Varma

Kama Sutra girl Indira Varma plays Ellaria Sand – a recurring character in the last three seasons of Game of Thrones. The bisexual bastard daughter of a noble man and the paramour of Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne, she’s a vengeful and conniving character who might show allegiance to Daenerys in the next season. The show is supposed to be back on Star World Premiere late next year.

CeCe Parekh | New Girl

Played by: Hannah Simone

CeCe Parekh is a model-turned-bartender who is best friend to protagonist Jessica Day. And apparently she had lost her virginity to Mick Jagger! She’s loving and protective, and always ready with good dating advice. Her parents are of Indian descent, she was born in Portland, Oregon, and she’s pretty close to her LA-based dadi and her big, fat Indian family. Renewed for a fifth season, New Girl will soon air on Star World.

Kala Dandekar | Sense8

Played by: Tina Desai

Kala Dandekar is one of the eight sensates in this Netflix sci-fi drama series. A brilliant pharmacist and a devout Hindu, she’s betrothed to a man she doesn’t want to marry (Rajan Rasal played by Purab Kohli). She eventually falls in love with another guy. The show has a full-blown Indian track. It is speculated that she’ll be the focus of the second season, which is scheduled to return to Netflix later this year or early 2017.

Safar Khan | The Night of

Played by: Poorna Jagannathan

This HBO show follows a lawyer’s journey to save a Pakistani-American student, Naz, who’s accused of murder. It’s one of the most popular shows currently on air. (Even Shah Rukh Khan admits to being hooked!) Delhi Belly actress Poorna Jagannathan, earlier seen in shows like House of Cards and Law & Order, plays Safar Khan, Naz’s mother. You can watch the show on Star World Premiere HD.

Vikram Singh | Castle

Played by: Sunkrish Bala

Sunkrish Bala, who has earlier played Dr Caleb Subramanian on The Walking Dead, is already winning hearts for his deft portrayal of a computer analyst for the NYPD. Since his is one of the most anticipated characters to be introduced this season, we will not reveal much. It starts airing on Star World this month.

Dr Ravi Chakrabarti | iZombie

Played by: Rahul Kohli

He is one of the main characters in this loose adaptation of DC Comics series by the same name. The show is about Liv, an over-achieving medical resident whose life changes drastically when she’s turned into a zombie. Ravi is Liv’s friend and confidante. It’s currently playing on Colors Infinity.

From HT Brunch, September 11, 2016

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