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Desis take international TV by storm

Last updated on: February 23, 2010 10:22 IST

Desis take international TV by storm

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From sidekick to mainstream, the change is finally showing.

Though only a small percentage, it's significant, nevertheless, to witness American and British actors of Indian origin signed on for key roles in high-profile TV series.

Here's a look at the ones who've made the most of this opportunity:

Kal Penn

Best known for his antics in the unapologetically ribald, Harold and Kumar franchise as well as a sensitive portrayal in Mira Nair's The Namesake, Kal Penn aka Kalpen Modi has quite a few important television appearances to his credit, namely 24 and House.

His stint in Hugh Laurie-led House, however, came to a crashing end after he resolved to pursue his political leanings, joining the White House Office as associate director of Public Liaison.


Image: Kal Penn

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Naveen Andrews

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He played Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's tormenting husband in Provoked and Namrata Shirodkar's charming yet gutless version of Mr Bingley in Gurinder Chadha's lackustre adaption of Jane Austen's beloved book, Pride and Prejudice.

But it's his role in the ABC show, Lost as the rough 'n' tough Sayid Jarrah, an Iraqi communication officer that put Andrews on the popularity chart in the truest sense.


Image: Naveen Andrews

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Dev Patel

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Before hitting international celebritydom, courtesy a title role in Danny Boyle's multiple Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, London-bred Dev Patel played a slightly homophobic and errant Pakistani Muslim character in British TV-series, Skins.

The actor's currently busy dating his Slumdog co-star Freida Pinto as well as gearing up for the July 2010 release of M Night Shyamalan's fantasy-adventure, The Last Airbender featuring him as Prince Zuko.


Image: Dev Patel

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Padma Lakshmi

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For the longest time, the leggy super model was only addressed as celebrated author Salman Rushdie's stunning half. The duo eventually separated in 2007.

Irrelevant roles in bloopers like Boom and The Mistress of Spices later, the 39-year old beauty also dabbled on small screen with guest spots in Star Trek: Enterprise as well as a role in the miniseries, The Ten Commandments.

Having authoured two cookbooks, Paddy, as she is fondly addressed, finally found her calling as the sassy host of cooking-based reality show, Top Chef.


Image: Padma Lakshmi

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Sendhil Ramamurthy

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Following acting jobs in various TV series like Ultimate Force, Grey's Anatomy and Numbers, Chicago-born Sendhil Ramamurthy got his big break as Mohinder Suresh, a genetics professor with Spidermanesque powers in NBC's supernatural drama, Heroes.

The show's overwhelming success earned him much recognition including a role in Gurinder Chadha's upcoming It's a Wonderful Afterlife co-starring Shabana Azmi.


Image: Sendhil Ramamurthy

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Parminder Nagra

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Remember the tomboyish, football-loving Jess Bhamra of Bend it Like Beckham?

While her best friend in the movie, Keira Knightley is now a world famous celebrity, the English actress signed up to essay Dr Neela Rasgotra, a shy, compassionate medico in the long-running drama series, ER.

Her work on the show earned Nagra an Asian Excellence award for Outstanding performance (Female) in TV.


Image: Parminder Nagra

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Mindy Kaling

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Listed as one of Hollywood's Funniest Actresses by Entertainment Weekly in 2009, 30-year-old Kaling plays a perky, celebrity gossip-prone customer service person, Kelly Kapoor in the critically acclaimed sitcom, The Office.

Kaling is also credited as the screenwriter and producers of the Emmy-award winning show.

You might also remember spotting her in films like 40-Year-Old-Virgin and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.


Image: Mindy Kaling

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Maulik Pancholy

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Playing the I-love-my-boss assistant, Jonathan to Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy with obsessive glee in the award-winning comedy, 30 Rock sure seems to have earned Gujarat boy Maulik Pancholy the tag of a 'scene stealer'.

And that's no mean feat considering it features like likes of Tina Fey and Baldwin.

The response for his work as Sanjay Patel, a homosexual drug dealer in Weeds turned out to be equally heartening.

Other than the above-mentioned TV assignments, New York-based Pancholy also starred in a bit role as James Marsden's buddy in the hit rom-com, 27 Dresses.


 


Image: Maulik Pancholy

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