They are not just the distinctive ABCD’s (American Born Confused Desi’s) of Hollywood. They have surpassed and outnumbered many in the international circuit with their artistry. And that’s not just it. With sharp features and a skin tone that the Westerner’s always envied, these folks have truly stunned Hollywood with their performances and achievements. Read on, to know more.
An acclaimed British Tamil musician, born to Tamil parents from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India, Susheela grew up singing South Indian classical music at an early age. Her parents moved to UK in the mid-sixties and further to Australia, when she was about four.
In her teens, she started her own band, describing its music as ‘Funk’ & ‘Rock n Roll’. Her trip to India in 1995 led her to realize and rediscover her roots. She then explored Carnatic music. She was inspired by guitarist Sam Mills and in 1997, she worked with him to try out diverse forms like blues and jazz-based music to bridge the gap between both forms of music for a whole new audience.
Raman co-wrote songs for the album ‘One and One is One’ and worked with West-African musician groups that opened up musical contact points with the Parisian music. After collaborating with Mills for three years, she released her debut album ‘Salt Rain’ in 2001 which was nominated for the Mercury Prize Awards. She then released her second album ‘Love Trap’ in 2003 and subsequently her third album ‘Music for Crocodiles’ in 2005 which was partly recorded in Chennai, India. ‘The Same Song’ from her third album was used in Mira Nair’s film ‘The Namesake’ for end credits. In 2006, Susheela was nominated for a BBC World Music Award.
Born to half bengali-Indian father and English mother, she is best known for her debut role in the feature film Mississipi Masala. She further won accolades for her roles in The Perez Family and Kama Sutra: A tale of Love.
After her hit debut, during the late 90s, she added a repertoire of roles to her achievements. She was casted in ‘A Perfect Murder’, ‘She Hates Me’ and ‘Gloria’ among others. Sarita Choudhury also starred in a 2002 film ‘Just a Kiss’ and appears in the TV series ‘Homeland. She has also played a variety of characters, the likes of a Pakistani singer in Wild West, a Chilean maid in Bille August’s adaptation of The House of the Spirits, and a lesbian mother in Fresh Kill. She also has appeared as Dr.Kalyani, a medical examiner for five episodes of ‘Homicide: Life on the Streets’. Earlier in 2011, she made an appearance in the joint British/French series ‘Death in Paradise’.
Born in an Iyengar Brahmin family in Chennai, India, she grew up shuttling between her grandparents in Chennai and her mother in New York. She is a Cookbook Author, Actress, Model and a TV Host. Padma Lakshmi’s modeling career began at 18, when she was spotted at a café by an agent during a study trip to Madrid. She went to be the first Indian model to have a career in Milan, New York and Paris. She modeled and campaigned for the industry biggies like Roberto Cavalli, Ralph Lauren, Alberta Ferreti and Versus.
Her first role was in an Italian murder mystery that got her hooked to acting in 1999. Subsequently she starred in Boom, Mistress of Spices, Star Trek and a music video. Her list of achievements include shows like Top Chef which won her two nominations at the Primetime Emmy Award and appearances on the cover page of leading magazines like Redbook, FHM, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Marie Claire and many more. Her cookbook Easy Exotic, also won her acclaims and the best first book in 1999. She married novelist Salman Rushdie in 2004. The couple filed for divorce three years later in 2007. She was in the limelight for posing nude for the May 2009 issue of Allure Magazine.
He is a British born American actor, well known for his performance in The English Patient and the American TV series Lost.
Naveen Andrews was born in London to a Malyali Nasrani family from Kerela, India. He has had a “very restrictive’ upbringing, in a Methodist denomination. He is one of those lucky few who fell in love with his teacher while at Emanuel School at the age of sixteen and seven years later had a son with her. His studies at the London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama paid off when he bagged a role in ‘London Kills Me’. Naveen Andrews has also starred in ‘Kama Sutra: A tale of Love’, ‘Mighty Joe Young’ and ‘Bride and Prejudice’.
Ha has also been voted the “World’s Most Beautiful People” by People magazine in 2006.
His birth in Yorkshire, England to an Indian father and an Irish mother led him to attend St. James’ Catholic High in Cheadle Hulme and Radyr Comprehensive School in Cardiff. As a British actor, trained at the School of Speech and Drama, Birmingham, his first was a no-dialogue role of a sailor in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet in 1996. However, he soon landed up playing a rebellious son Tariq in the stage drama ‘East is East’ that earned him a fair amount of attention.
Jimi Mistry initially gained exposure, playing Dr.Fred Fonseca on ‘EastEnders’ – a TV series by BBC. He was asked to repeat the role he played in the stage production, when ‘East is East’ was made into a feature film. Later he was offered roles in ‘The Mystic Masseur’, ‘The Guru’, ‘Heather Graham’, ‘Blood Diamond’ and ‘RocknRolla’. He has also starred in 2012, a film by Warner Bros.
Born to a Gujarati Indian family in New Jersey, Kal Penn, is not just an American television and film actor, producer but also an American civil servant. Penn attended The Fine Performing Arts Academy for junior and Freehold Township High School for senior year.
With active participation in the school theater productions, his debut feature film Express: Aisle to Glory, released in 1998. Ever since he has appeared in films like American Desi, Malibu’s Most Wanted, A Lot Like Love, Superman Returns, Epic Movie and an attributable appearance in Deck the Halls including many others. He received critical acclaims for his role as Kumar Patel in the series Harold and Kumar as well as his performance in The Namesake and playing Dr.Lawrence Kutner for the TV series House. Kal Penn was also featured in The Lonely Island’s comedy plot, Awesometown.
The only child of an Indian father and a Swiss mother is a television and film actress, best known for her appearances in “Kama Sutra: a Tale of Love“. As a young woman, Indira Varma acted in Bath’s local Musical Youth Theatre Company. She has also appeared in the television series Rome, Luther and Human Target.
In 1995, after her graduation from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, her career in films began. In 1996 she quickly rose to fame with a starring role in the film “Kama Sutra: a Tale of Love“. However, Indira continued to appear in a number of dramatic roles in smaller films and television shows like Attachments, Psychos, Love Soup, Broken News, 3 lbs and Rome. “Bride and Prejudice“ introduced her to the world of celebrities in India. She also made an appearance in the high profile film “Basic Instinct 2“.
Currently, in a critically acclaimed historical drama, ‘Rome’, she has been seen playing the role of Niobe in which she has appeared in nearly fifteen episodes.
Born to a Punjabi Sikh family, who immigrated to England in the late 1960s, she is a British actor of Indian descent. She is best known for her role in ‘Bend it like Beckham’ which brought her laurels and into the international prominence in 2002.
Forswearing university studies to pursue a career in theater and her ambition of becoming an actor, she went to London. Parminder Nagra portrayed a notable role of a traditional white character in spite of being a woman of color in The Sleeping Beauty which was not much appreciated by the critics. However she moved on to working with small Indian theater companies which as a matter of fact led her to radio and television appearances. She also starred in the “The 6th wonder of the World: The Kali Tutti Story“, in 1994.
Parminder then signed agent Joan Brown who got her, her first TV role. She was cast in many TV series before making it big in the ‘Bend it like Beckham’. She has also starred in the award winning American Drama series ‘ER’ and Fox television series ‘Alcatraz’. Nagra, being a good singer and actress, had an inborn quality that raised her above other actresses and led her to the lead role in Nimai. She portrayed Areida, the best friend of the title character portrayed by Anne Hathaway in Ella Enchanted.
Born to Punjabi parents from India, she is a British actor well known for one of her highest profile roles in the 2002 film, Bend it Like Beckham. Archie Panjabi has acted in both films and television, from early appearances in the 1999 comedy film East is East to the recent BBC television series, Life on Mars.
Her career started by playing a British Diplomat in the Oscar winning movie, The Constant Gardner. She also starred with Angelina Jolie in the film adaptation of the book, A Mighty Heart. She portrayed an MI5 agent in Espoin(s) and is also presently starring in the CBS television series – The Good Wife. She has recently been casted in the British Comedy, The Infidel.
At 15, she developed a taste for acting that led her to Los Angeles where she studied in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her diverse heritage of English, Scottish, Indian, Burmese, Iranian and Malaysian descent makes for an extremely versatile actress. Zuleikha Robinson is best known for her role of Ilana in the American TV series ‘Lost’.
Her debut role in director Mike Figgis’ drama Timecode, brought her the much required attention in the circle. She featured in the series, The Lone Gunmen. Her first lead role was in Hidalgo, opposite Viggo Mortensen and Omar Sharif. She has also portrayed a Bengali character in Mira Nair’s film ‘The Namesake’, a supporting role in HBO’s series ‘Rome’ and a NYPD detective in Fox Television’s drama series ‘New Amsterdam’. Her roles in TV series ‘The X-Files’ and films like The Merchant of Venice have also contributed majorly to her achievements.