South Asian actors make a mark on the world stage

South Asian actors make a mark on the world stage

When Riz Ahmed won the Emmy for Acting in the limited series for HBO drama The Night of on Monday, he created history for being the first Muslim and South Asian actor to be recognized by Hollywood. But this breakthrough wasn't overnight. Many South Asian actors have done cliched role to reach to this point.

Earlier, South Asian characters essayed mostly guest roles, while now lead characters are written for Asian actors. From our latest export Priyanka Chopra to the little-known Nimrat Kaur in Homeland, these South Asian actors are paving the way for many others with their screen presence.
South Asian actors go global

Kunal Nayyar
Our Delhi boy is known for his work in the popular CBS Sitcom, Big Bang Theory. He plays Indian scientist Rajesh Koothrappalli in the show, which is now in its 11 season. He was also named one of the highest-paid actors in TV by Forbes magazine.

Acting years:13 years
Upcoming work: The Big Bang Theory
Known for: The Big Bang Theory, Trolls

Mindy Kaling
Born to Tamil- Bengali parents, her real name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam. Mindy is a comedian, writer and actress. She is mostly known for her stint in The Office, The Mindy Project and lending her voice for the movie Inside out.  She has also starred in several films.

Acting years:14 years
Upcoming work: A Wrinkle in Time, Ocean's Eight, Champions
Known for: The Office, The Mindy project, Inside out

Riz Ahmad
The British-Pakistani actor recently won the Emmy for acting in the limited series for HBO drama The Night Of. Other than acting, he is also a rapper and activist.

Acting years:11 years
Upcoming work: The Sisters Brothers, Venom
Known for: The Night Of, Rogue One, The Nightcrawler

Priyanka Chopra
Desi Girl Priyanka Chopra is the latest addition to the list of Asian actors heading to western shores. She is the lead actress in Quantico, and has appeared in the remake of the popular American pop culture movie Baywatch. She is also a producer, singer and activist.

Acting years:  3 years in Hollywood
Upcoming work: A Kid like Jake and Isn't it Romantic
Known for: Quantico, Baywatch

Irrfan Khan
Like his movies, his presence in Hollywood is not loud but it carries weight. He is one of the few Indian actors who has been successful in striking a balance between Hollywood and Bollywood. His list of notable movies include The Namesake, Life of Pi, Da Vinci Code, The Amazing Spiderman, Jurassic World and Inferno.

Acting years: 14 years
Upcoming work: The Wicked Path, Puzzle
Known for: The Namesake and Life of Pi

Dev Patel
British-Indian actor Dev Patel became a household name after the release of Slumdog Millionaire but before that, he also starred in the British TV show Skins. His latest accomplishment is being nominated for Oscar 2017 for his movie Lion which is based on a true story.

Acting years: 11 years
Upcoming work:  Hotel Mumbai
Known for: Slumdog Millionaire, Lion

Kumail Nanjiani
Pakistani-American actor shot to fame after his role as Dinesh in TV series Silicon Valley. His latest film, The Big Sick, has been critically acclaimed, which is based on his life.

Acting years: 9 years
Upcoming work: Killing Gunther and  Funny: The Documentary
Known for: The Big Sick, Silicon Valley

Aziz Ansari
The stand-up comedian turned actor Aziz Ansari is best known for his show Master of None.  His Netflix show is widely appreciated for the diverse crew and its approach towards minority issues.

Acting years: 13 years
Upcoming work: Master of None
Known for: Stand-up comedy, Master of None

Hasan Minhaj
Senior correspondent for The Daily Show became a household name in America after he hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner. His standout joke at the event? He said that as no one else wanted to host the legendary dinner for Trumps' White House, a minority guy had to do it.

Acting years: 3 years
Upcoming work: The Daily Show
Known for: The Daily Show, White House Correspondents' Dinner, Homecoming show

Archie Panjabi
Also known as Archana, Archie:Panjabi is British Indian, who is famous for her portrayal in The CBS show The Good Wife. She also won an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in the drama series for her role in The Good Wife. Other than working in many TV shows, she has also starred in movies like East is East, the Mighty Heart, The Constant Gardener and Bend it like Beckham.

Acting years: 22  years
Upcoming work: Unknown
Known for:  East is East, The Good wife, the Mighty Heart, and Bend it like Beckham

Nimrat Kaur
Many Indians have seen her in music videos and advertisements before she made her debut with Peddles in Bollywood. Her international career took off with The Lunchbox and landed her a role in Homeland ( Season 4).

Acting years: 1  year in Hollywood
Upcoming work: Unknown
Known for:  Homeland

Freida Pinto
This model turned actress from India moved her base to Los Angeles after the release of Danny Boyle's superhit movie, Slumdog Millionaire.  She is also known for her philanthropic work. Her most commercially successful film is Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Acting years: 12 years
Upcoming work: Guerrilla
Known for:  Slumdog Millionaire

Tina Desai
After starring in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with many Hollywood A:listers, Tina is now on  Netflix show Sense8.  She also voiced for the film Thomas & Friends: The Great Race.

Acting years:  5 years
Upcoming work: Sense8
Known for:  Sense8, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Ali Fazal
His first movie was an English movie called The Other End of the Line in which he had a small role. His latest movie Victoria & Abdul, in which he stars opposite Dame Judi Dench, is all set to open soon.

Acting years: 9 years
Upcoming work: Victoria & Abdul
Known for: Victoria & Abdul

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