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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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