Parminder Nagra says she was turned down for a part over her Indian heritage

Tom Horton, PA
·1-min read

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 actress 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”.

First Light Film awards – Nagra
(Andy Butterton/PA)

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

“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.”

Nagra 7th Natwest EMMA Awards
(Myung Jung Kim/PA)

She added the “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.”

Nagra said things have “moved on” in terms of diversity in the television industry, sighting 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’.”