Indian Actors on American TV

Page 1 of 1
The most popular Indian character, until the current crop showed up on screens, was the cartoon character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in The Simpsons
The Indian actress Priyanka Chopra recently made her debut on American TV, playing the lead in ABC Studios’ latest drama. In the show, Quantico, Chopra plays an FBI recruit named Alex Parrish who is suspected of involvement in a terror attack.

Chopra is not the first Indian to have bagged a role in an international television production. In the past few years, many Indian or Indian-origin actors have made their way on to TV screens in the US. These include actors like Archie Punjabi (The Good Wife), Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes), Kal Penn in House MD, and last year, the Bollywood actress Nimrat Kaur in Homeland. All of them play central and important characters on their shows. Not too long ago, actors of Indian descent on American TV were few and far between. Indians, if they were ever on air, were portrayed either as bumbling idiots or fresh-off-the-boat immigrants who spoke an unintelligible form of English. The most popular Indian character in the US, until the current crop appeared on TV screens, was the cartoon character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in The Simpsons. Apu, as the stereotype went, owned a corner store and spoke with a heavy accent.

What makes Chopra’s new role noteworthy is that the show is an ABC Studios production. The TV production network is also behind Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, two acclaimed shows with a Black female as its lead. Although Quantico received mixed reviews, Chopra has won praise.