The predictable thing about ‘The Good Wife’ is how unpredictable ‘The Good Wife’ is.
I like to do new things, so I always take on roles that I feel will keep me on my toes. I never want to pigeon myself, so I always like to surprise myself. I believe in versatility and so I would play anything as long as it was a challenge.
Coming to New York is like a big hug, everyone is so welcoming. There’s something about here, everyone makes you feel so at home. I miss my family of course, but I don’t miss London that much. I was worried, but I feel really at home. Everyone says that who comes here from London, but I didn’t believe them.
I’ve always been quite psychic and believe there’s a reason why things happen and that we need to learn from them.
My mother wanted to be a teacher when she was young, and my father didn’t approve of it, so she fought very hard to become one. And she did it. So when I said I wanted to become an actress, my mother was very supportive. She always said to me, ‘There’s no such thing as ‘can’t.’
Sometimes my ethnicity is relevant, other times not. I definitely get the best of both worlds.
I’d love to say I made the smart decision of picking projects that became hits, but with ‘The Good Wife,’ I read the script and something inside me said, ‘I love this, I want to do this.’
When I was younger I was fat. I was never conscious of it and was content with who I was because I was so loved. My mother never told me to lose weight and my father doted on me, but my agent told me. I tried, but I loved Indian food too much.
I went out for a film where they wanted seven brothers and one sister, so I was there for half a day while they were waiting for ‘Archie’ to read for a boy… I’ve had drivers come to pick me up in England looking for a blond, blue-eyed Scottish boy.
I am still married, yes – no children. I have Benzo, though; he’s my dog, a Lhasa apso.
I’d love to do a romantic comedy. And perhaps, if the character was right and I had a good gut instinct, a Bollywood movie. And I’d love to direct. One day. I’m learning a lot on the set of ‘The Good Wife.’
I have always let the lack of Indian actors in the industry drive me, not hold me back. I remember an agent in L.A. telling me a few years ago that an Indian actor wouldn’t ever make it in Hollywood, but my ethnicity has helped me.
I like to cook Indian food when I can. I find the process of creating a home-cooked meal to be unwinding.
I had a dialect coach to get an American accent, and then another dialect coach to come off it a bit. There is something deep and mysterious in the voice when it isn’t too high-pitched American.
Luckily my parents were not against my ambition, they’ve always been very supportive. But they were adamant that I went to university first.
I went to Brunel University and very much wanted to go on to do a PhD in management, but then my acting career started to take off. In those days when you switched on the box there were hardly any brown or black faces.
I am one of the new characters in the brand new series of ‘Postman Pat.’ It has been a joy to do.
At the end of the week, it’s nice to just hang out in a pair of jeans and let my hair down. I need a break from all that fashion!
I loved eating and I did put on weight. I never actually felt fat until I started going for castings, for auditions.
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be an actor. I never even thought about other careers. The acting field is certainly not the path many Indian parents encourage their children to take, but mine were very supportive. They wanted me to have an education, but understood that this is what I wanted to do.
It was the success of ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ which got my name out there. ‘A Mighty Heart’ also helped.
I don’t ever want to be hugely famous because I had a little taste of it after ‘East Is East’ and ‘Bend It.’
I think it is vital to fight to do something you want to do despite not gaining your community’s or your friends’ approval.
You have this impression from England that New Yorkers can be quite aggressive, but certainly the people that I’ve bumped into and the friends I’ve made here don’t seem that way. Just walking down the street and asking for directions, people seem to be very helpful and happy to help.
I remember sitting in school and thinking, ‘I don’t know why I’m here, because I know I’m going to act and I know I’m going to America.’
Since I was a baby my goal was to be on TV because film was just impossible – you never got any Asian women in Western cinema. I grew up wanting to be in ‘East-Enders’ because film wasn’t even a dream. The community were very much like, ‘How can you want to act? It’s such a low-class profession.’
My mother told me not to listen to anyone. She had been told that she wouldn’t be able to teach and she did.
There is a big misconception about arranged marriage. Yes, it can mean that you meet someone and then have to marry them, but this was my mother saying, ‘I’m going to introduce you to so-and-so – If you don’t like them, fair enough.’
The generation that migrated to the West in the 1970s or 1960s has now lived more in the West than India, and India has changed so much. My parents fall into that category.
You can have all the agents and publicists in the world but no one’s ever going to give you 110 per cent like someone who loves you.
I love roles where I have to transform myself.
I knew what I wanted to do for my entire life, from nursery to university. I’ve always been geared towards wanting to act. I’ve stuck with it, dedicated time to it.
I feel like I have one foot in New York, one foot in London and one foot in India. But it’s important to me to invest time with family.