Films | Artist Interviews | Poorna Jagannathan- The Spunky “Dilliwali” In Delhi Belly

Poorna Jagannathan- The Spunky “Dilliwali” In Delhi Belly

Posted by barkha on November 29, 2011 | No Comments

Two of the finest performances in DELHI BELLY, were by  Poorna Jagannathan and Vir Das. In a film dominated by males and some fine performances, Poorna, left a lasting impression. Matching  spunkiness for spunkiness, was this fine American Indian actor, who has earlier been seen in shows such as Law and Order and Rescue Me, along with a whole lot others, on mainstream American TV and Film.

What got you into the acting profession to start with?

I get asked that a lot, especially since I’m not from a film family and grew up without a TV. I think I instinctively knew acting would be the most powerful way I could express myself. I also met an actress called Suhasini Maniratnam when I was about 6 and I fell in love with her – I wanted to be exactly like her when I grew up!

A comparison on working in NY vs working in the Mumbai film industry?

Drastically different! There’s an appalling lack of meaty female roles, there’s very little co-relation to a film’s success and how good it actually is and there’s a lot more emphasis on looks here in Bollywood. I think NYC is so entrenched in its theater culture that it embraces different types a little more.

Excellent performance in Delhi Belly, how did that project come your way?

I was in India for a wedding that week that they were casting. I bumped into someone connected with Delhi Belly and they set up an audition for me. I went in, the material felt like it was written for me but then it took at least 6 more months to finalize me in the role. Longest wait of my life!

Talk a little about your upcoming work both in TV and films, both in the West and East?

I just finished a movie called “Thanks for Sharing” directed by Oscar nominee Stuart Blumberg (The Kids Are All Right). It stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo and Tim Robbins. I’m also developing some theater here in Mumbai.

On being a South Asian American actor in mainstream US entertainment?

It sucks, it’s hard but despite the stereotyping you get to do some good work. And South Asians are becoming more and more central to scripts.  A casting director even told me that Brown was the new Black. That statement is wrong on so many levels, but South Asian characters are definitely included in the ensemble.

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