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#BadAssPriyanka: Priyanka Chopra’s big US TV debut – Not-Quite-Homeland ‘QUANTICO’

Lenny Henry will be mighty peeved.

American TV network ABC have released the full-length trailer of ‘Quantico’ a new action drama which features an Indian in the lead role.

Former Miss World and Bollywood starlet Priyanka Chopra stars as FBI agent Alex Parrish – pout-perfect and hair exceedingly well-coiffed.  Agent Parrish is among a group of young FBI recruits, all with specific reasons for joining the Bureau, who battle their way through training at the FBI’s Quantico base in Virginia.

One of those recruits goes on to launch a devastating terror attack – “the worst on American soil since 9/11” – and Agent Parrish is framed for the attack.

Parrish, of course, has nothing to do with it and embarks on a mission to clear her name and protect the country she loves.

The premise itself is promising.  Producers have described ‘Quantico’ as ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ meets ‘Homeland’: two of the finest shows to come out of America in recent years.

However, the trailer itself doesn’t suggest that ‘Quantico’ will have any of the darkness – or even the subtlety - that made Homeland and Grey’s Anatomy so entertaining. 

There’s plenty of ‘Bollywood’ on show as well – tiresome one-liners, lots of melancholic stares, stating the blooming obvious and a surprising lack of the kind of authenticity that has made American TV so wildly popular around the world. 

For goodness sake, she’s just been at the epicentre of a terror attack.  Her hair SHOULD NOT look like that!  Comparing notes on a smartphone at the Quantico shooting range??!!  Seriously? 

“We know you have done it Agent Parrish”!  Well of course you do.  Haven’t these guys learnt ANYTHING from ‘Homeland’?

In addition, there’s a strange ‘Box-Ticking’ vibe to it all as well. 

Kudos to the producers and ABC for taking a risk on a show with a non-White female lead but the diversity thing seems to extend to the rest of the cast as well.  Buff gay recruit?  Check.  Hijab-clad recruit?  Check.  Taylor Swift-lookalike recruit?  Check. 

The Diversity manager at the FBI must be going ‘Whoop!’, ‘Whoop!’

On the positive side, it is fantastic that American TV is moving away from the stereotypical Indian characters. 

For once an Indian’s fighting the bad guys rather than masquerading as one.

Have a look at the trailer:

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#NotHappy: Officials complain about Homeland’s portrayal of Pakistan as ‘Grimy Hellhole’

The makers of the Emmy Award-winning TV show ‘Homeland’ have been unapologetic in their portrayal of Pakistan during the show’s fourth season; particularly the long-suspected links between the country’s military and intelligence establishments and Islamist extremists. In one storyline, the show’s writers even depicted a carefully coordinated attack on the …

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#InTheAir: Nimrat Kaur talks new ‘Homeland’ series, script challenges and trodding the Middle Path


Actress Nimrat Kaur has revealed that she will play a (rather stunning) baddie in the upcoming fourth series of the hit US TV show 'Homeland'.

'The Lunchbox' star has been cast as Pakistani intelligence agent Tasneem Kureshi who will square up against Claire Danes' troubled CIA agent Carrie Mathison in the hit show which returns to British TV screens this October.

“I play a mysterious person who is her nemesis on the show", Kaur, 32, told the Press Trust of India.

"Of course, it would be lovely to share screen space with her (Danes) but every time I ask the writers they have this sweet smile on their faces, so I am not sure."

Irrespective of screen times, it's a pairing that's sure to whet the appetite of fans around the world.

Danes has already bagged three Emmy and four Golden Globe awards for her role as Mathison, the brilliant CIA agent battling a slew of personal and professional demons while Kaur received widespread acclaim last year for her turn as the lonely housewife Ila in Ritesh Batra's critical and commercial hit 'The Lunchbox'.

Kaur will already be known to audiences in America where 'The Lunchbox' was the highest-grossing foreign film of 2014.

However, the actress says 'Homeland' will be her real introduction to audiences in the west.

“‘Lunchbox’ was an incredible gift for all of us, mostly for Ritesh and me but I feel ‘Homeland’ would be my real introduction to the western audience because it already has a great viewership and fan following. I feel I have a big responsibility to be as true to the story as possible,” Nimrat said.

Filming a hit TV show for a US network has brought with it a whole set of unique challenges for the actress.  Given the CIA levels of secrecy surrounding plot details, actors are only given scripts at the last possible moment before filming begins.

“Everything was up in the air", Kaur tells PTI.

"Normally, I am used to working after doing a lot of rehearsal but we were given the script just before shooting.  It felt like I was doing a workshop.  A lot also depended on the energy of the day and your equation with your co-star.  It was very challenging but I feel it was a good thing to chew on as an actor. They really placed a lot of trust in our ability as performers,” she added.

Whatever the challenges, the actress hasn't been feeling homesick on set in South Africa which is doubling as Pakistan where the fourth series is set.

Apart from Kaur, the new series features a host of South Asian-origin talent, including 'Life of Pi' star and Kaur's fellow Delhi-ite Suraj Sharma, British-Pakistani actor Art Malik, British-Indian 'Spooks' star Raza Jaffrey as well as Sarita Choudhury, the veteran London-born actress who has appeared in a string of Mira Nair films and who has been part of the 'Homeland' cast from the outset.

Kaur reportedly auditioned for her role in Homeland during a flying visit to London and with little preparation.  Initially cast in five episodes, she was later written into four more.

It's a triumph for the former model whose dedication to her craft has meant that she hasn't she hasn't blindly latched on to the fame and fortune that 'The Lunchbox' promised.

She told DNA that she turned down more than two dozen film offers after 'The Lunchbox' but not necessarily because she's a slave to indie cinema.

"It does not work if your movie is seen by only a handful of friends, and travels to a few film festivals.  It is difficult for all the people involved then, especially the actors".

"A movie that releases in 5,000 screens as opposed to the 600 screens that 'The Lunchbox' opened in will invariably give you more exposure, so I'm open to all work, but I'd rather take the middle road: not too experimental or too commercial."

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#ISI: ‘The Lunchbox’ star Nimrat Kaur lands role in hit US series ‘Homeland’

'The Lunchbox' star Nimrat Kaur has landed a role in the hit US TV series 'Homeland'.

The stunning 32-year-old Rajasthani actress will play a Pakistani intelligence agent in the fourth season of the show about the brilliant young CIA operative Carrie Matheson, played by Claire Danes.

The new season of the show is reportedly set in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Pretty fun for someone who watched the pilot after the screen test!  Season 4 HOMELAND it is," Nimrat tweeted on Friday.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Kaur's role will be a recurring one.

The new season will also feature veteran British-Pakistani actor Art Malik, most recently seen in Farhan Akhtar's sports biopic 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag'.

Among the other new additions to 'Homeland' is 'Mad Men' actor Mark Moses.

The fourth season of "Homeland" is currently being shot in South Africa where Cape Town is standing in for Islamabad.

The series returns October 5.

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