My Celebrity Life

Bend It Like Beckham star Parminder Nagra turned down for TV show because it ‘already had an Indian person on the cast’

Parminder Nagra opened up about the shocking moment (Picture: Getty Images for UNICEF)

Bend It Like Beckham star Parminder Nagra has said she was turned down for a part on a American TV show over her Indian heritage.

The actress, now 45, is best known for her role as Jess Bhamra in the 2002 football movie.

She recently opened up about how discussions over diversity can feel like a ‘box being ticked’.

‘I remember asking to go up for a job because an actress basically left,’ she explained. ‘It was a well-known TV show here [in the US]. An actress had left the job because basically she’d fallen out with the other actor.

‘I remember phoning my agent and I went, “Do you think maybe you could just suggest me? The character’s very non-specific in terms of family and between 35 and 40.”‘

She added to the Celebrity Catch Up: Life After That Thing I Did podcast: ‘Word that came back was that they have already got an Indian person on the cast.

‘I went, “Yeah but I’m completely different to that person”.

‘Is that going to happen when you say we have already got a white person on the show? I don’t think that conversation’s happening.’

Parminder starred in the 2002 movie (Picture: Helkon SK)

‘I’ve been in rooms where people have gone, “Oh that’s not going to sell because there’s just too many brown people in it”, and you go, “Oh. OK,”‘ she continued.

‘Do you keep pounding? There’s moments where you get tired and then there’s people that do keep doing that and then they break another glass ceiling.

She went on to say that she hopes things are changing, especially with the recognition of actors like Riz Ahmed and Priyanka Chopra.

Parminder starred alongside Keira Knightley in the well-loved movie, which, almost 20 years on, is still the highest-grossing film about football in the world.

Keira, 36, previously revealed how she was never sure about how well the film would do.

‘I remember when I did it I would say to people the name of the film is Bend It Like Beckham, and they would say “that sounds awful” and even when it was coming out you’d think “god, can’t you change the name?” and so you know, [the success of the film] was a total surprise,’ she said at a BFI Screen Talk in 2018.

Credit: Original article published here.

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