Indian talent sweeps global TV

Actress Priyanka Chopra
Actress Priyanka Chopra

By Sugandha Rawal 

The overseas small screen is calling for Bollywood talent. From Priyanka Chopra, Nimrat Kaur and Tina Desai to veterans like Anupam Kher and Shabana Azmi – Indian actors are landing plum roles in international TV shows. And they’re truly loving it.

After creating waves globally with her singing talent, former Miss World and B-Town’s ‘desi girl’ Priyanka has crossed borders for American TV drama “Quantico” and plays the lead role; Shabana has come on board for British TV drama “Capital”; and Tina will be working in American drama series “Sense8”.

Actress Lillete Dubey, who has even worked in foreign films like “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and its sequel, has also jumped on the bandwagon by joining British drama series “Indian Summers”. This, after Nimrat Kaur found prominence as a Pakistan ISI Agent in “Homeland”.

“The scope for Indian actors is widening everywhere in the world. The world is becoming a smaller place. Actors are nowadays preferring to work in different places,” Nimrat, who first found global acclaim with the “The Lunchbox”, told IANS.

Talking of Bollywood’s male gang, there’s the evergreen Anil Kapoor, who has dubbed for a guest appearance for adult animation show “Family Guy”; while his close friend Anupam will feature in Netflix’s series “Sense8”. Even “Life Of Pi” star Suraj Sharma was part of “Homeland”; and Rahul Khanna essayed a Russian spy in US TV show “The Americans”.

Lillete says “actors look for work outside as they get to work with different people and grow as actors”.

“Actors want to see how they will work with people outside their country. With globalisation, I think people are more aware of actors’ body of work,” she said, adding that changing demographics are leading to a surge in the number of Indian actors in foreign shows.

“There are stories set in Britain and the US or any other country and Indians are a major part of demographics of many countries. So people feel that they should represent them as well. They can’t take non-Indian actors for such roles.

“Either the story and subject is set in India or they are based abroad but represent Indian population of that country,” Lillete, whose “Indian Summers” is a drama on British colonial era, told IANS.

But what’s interesting is that the story lines of these shows are not restricted to those about India, and instead, range from terrorism to suspense.

Priyanka, who plays the role of a FBI trainee in ABC’s TV series “Quantico”, mentioned that international projects help an artist grow creatively.

“As an entertainer and actor, I’m constantly looking for new challenges that push the boundaries of my creativity and talent. This is a whole new experience for me and something that I am looking forward to diving into,” said Priyanka.

Anil, who has done a voiceover in the show that revolves around the Griffin family, has also been excited about his foreign TV stint, which comes after he featured in the international show “24”.

“Stepping into the world of Family Guy #SuperExcited to be a part of the lovably crazy Griffin family @FamilyGuyonFOX. Honoured to be a guest on #FamilyGuy Thank you Linda and Steve. @FOXTV @FamilyGuyonFOX,” Anil had tweeted.

Likewise, Anupam has expressed how “terrific” is “Sense8”, a 12-episode suspense thriller series, around the connection between eight people from eight different parts of the world.

Tina, who has also worked in Hollywood film “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, is thrilled to be part of “Sense8” too.

“I’m just thrilled to be a part of such a fantastic show and look forward to audience reactions,” Tina told IANS.

Other than these, a string of Indian origin actors like Kunal Nayyar, Dev Patel, Parminder Kaur Nagra and Kal Penn have carved a niche for themselves on international TV shows.