Indian Talent Goes Global
We are everywhere. Literally. We, Indians, are one of the most dominant groups in the world. Despite such huge numbers, until a few years back, we weren’t represented adequately on the world stage in terms of art and cinema. But today, thankfully, we have so many Indians in show business all over the globe, that it is overwhelming. Here are a few Indian and Indian-origin people, among many, from world cinema, whom we as a country, are proud to be associated with.
Born Kalpen Modi to immigrant parents of Gujrati descent, Kal Penn has had an envious Hollywood career. His breakthrough role in the Harold & Kumar movies, where he plays Kumar, made him a comedy staple. His performance in The Namesake earned him rave reviews. Owing to his political inclination, he has also worked for the Obama government as an Associate Director.
Indira Varma is already a familiar face, as the spiteful Ellaria Sand, for Game of Thrones aficionados. Born to a Swiss mother and an Indian father, she took early to acting. Varma appeared in the first season of HBO’s highly acclaimed and award-winning historical series, Rome. Her character, Niobe, was much appreciated. Her other notable performances include Kamastura: A Tale of Love, Luther and Bride and Prejudice.
Brother of the legendary tennis player Vijay Amritraj, Ashok Amritraj is the Chairman and CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment, CEO of National Geographic Films and has been a professional tennis player himself. He has produced over 100 movies which made over 2 billion dollars worldwide! His most notable productions include Ghost Rider, Bringing Down The House and Inferno.
Jai Khanna is a manager with the Beverly Hills-based Brillstein Entertainment Partners, who boast of a client list that includes Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler and Bill Maher. Of late, he’s been pioneering to get Indian actors on board major Hollywood projects. His Indian client list includes Irrfan Khan, who is already a veteran of many Hollywood films now, and Hrithik Roshan too. If he has his way, we will see a lot of Indian actors in major Hollywood productions.
Born, Krishna Bhanji, Ben Kingsley is an Indian origin actor whose versatility shines in a career that spans over 40-year years across English and American cinema. Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, in which Kingsley played the titular character, earned him world acclaim and an Academy Award for Best Actor. Since then, he has appeared in many mainstream movies including Shutter Island, Iron Man 3, Schindler’s List and Hugo. He received a Padma Shri by the Indian government in 1984, and was knighted by the Queen of England in 2002.
Kunal Nayar has become a household name owing to his character Raj Koothrappali in The Big Bang Theory. In his recently released book, “Yes, My Accent Is Real,” which he insists is neither a biography nor a memoir, he recounts his childhood in India, and college in the States with hilarious detail. He also talks about rejection which followed him like a plague when he first tried to pursue acting. He is married to former Miss India Neha Kapur, and often comes to New Delhi to visit his family.
All of 10-years-old, Indian origin New Yorker, Neel Sethi, is all set to play Mowgli in Disney’s live-action version of Jungle Book. Interestingly, 75 years ago, Hollywood came down to Mysore, India, to handpick the teenage son of a mahaut (elephant trainer), to play the part of Mowgli in the Jungle Book. Since globalisation has really picked up in this century, Hollywood didn’t have to make that kind of an effort. Sethi will be the only real human character in the film, while everybody else will provide voices for animated animals!
Mumbai-born Freida Pinto is a St. Xavier’s graduate. After her breakthrough role in Slumdog Millionaire, she has been a part of numerous movies, which include You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and Trishna. She also has a lot of philanthropic work to her credit. She is a part of Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi’s Agassi Foundation, and was instrumental in raising $75,000 for their annual fundraiser. In 2011, she was the only Indian to be included in the “50 Most Beautiful Women in Film”, a list compiled by the Los Angeles Time Magazine.
Suraj Sharma was selected from over a thousand others in New Delhi to be part of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. The movie was an immense success, catapulting him to international fame. He appeared in Season 4 of the popular crime-espionage drama, Homeland. He also was a part of Disney’s Million Dollar Arm alongside Jon Hamm. He is now all set to appear in Anushka Sharma’s production house, Clean Slate Films’ next venture, Phillauri. The film is touted to be an unconventional romance, set in Punjab. He will share the screen with Diljit Dosanjh and Anushka Sharma.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this POV/BLOG are the personal opinions of the author. PANDOLIN is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing on the POV/BLOG do not reflect the views of PANDOLIN and PANDOLIN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.