Parminder Nagra says she was turned down for TV show as it had 'already got an Indian person on the cast'

Amy Johnson
·2 min read
Parminder Nagra attends an evening with
Parminder Nagra (Getty Images)

Parminder Nagra has said she was once turned down for a role on a TV programme because it had “already got an Indian person on the cast”.

The 45-year-old actor told the Celebrity Catch Up: Life After That Thing I Did? podcast the same thing would not be said about a white person.

The Bend It Like Beckham star said conversations about diversity can sometimes become about getting a “box ticked”.

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 “I remember asking to go up for a job because an actress basically left. It was a well-known TV show here.

Parminder Nagra arrives at the Lupus LA's Orange Ball: A Night Of Superheroes at Fox Studio Lot on June 6, 2015 in Century City, California.  (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
Parminder Nagra starred in Bend It Like Beckham. (WireImage)

“An actress had left the job because basically she’d fallen out with the other actor," Nagra explained. “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 the “word that came back was that they have already got an Indian person on the cast”.

Parminder Nagra cited Riz Ahmed's success as a sign things have “moved on” in terms of diversity in the television industry. (Photo by Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)
Parminder Nagra cited Riz Ahmed's success as a sign things have “moved on” in terms of diversity in the television industry. (A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

“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.”

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Nagra said things have “moved on” in terms of diversity in the television industry, citing the success of Riz Ahmed and Priyanka Chopra.

“I have been in rooms where people have gone, ‘That’s not going to sell because there’s too many brown people in it’,” she went on. 

With reporting by PA.

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