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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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#ArjunArtist: Lankan-born ‘Tum Hi Ho’ crooner signs with Indian giant T-Series

He's racked up more than 30 million views on YouTube with his soulful, RnB-infused remixes of Bollywood classics such as 'Tum Hi Ho', 'Teri Meri' and 'Chammak Challo' and one of India's biggest record labels has taken note.

British-Sri Lankan singer Arjun has signed to Indian music giant T-Series, the owners - ironically enough - of some of the crooner's most popular Bollywood remixes.

The singer, born Arjuna Coomaraswamy, first came to prominence in 2011 with his unique take on the then-ubiquitous 'Why This Kolaveri Di', which went viral on YouTube, notching up more than 8 million views and getting the female population all agog.

Since then he's been a darling at the BBC Asian Network and collaborated with a host of other digital media savvy British Asian artists including Priti Menon, Shivali and Natasha and the curiously-named "Raxstar", whilst also garnering the "Best Newcomer" award at 2012 UK Asian Music Awards. 

He's displayed exceptional mastery of the digital music space, using YouTube and Social Media to build his profile as well as a devoted following, a fact that didn't escape the powers that be at T-Series.

“T-Series has always believed in developing and nurturing new talent", said Neeraj Kalyan, President of T-Series.

"The paradigm shift in the way the music is consumed or promoted nowadays with major focus being the digital medium, Arjun’s style of music will certainly appeal to the young audiences globally who are the biggest music consumers online", Kalyan added.

According to reports, T-Series plans to release two records by Arjun in 2014, a compilation of his popular Hindi remixes and an RnB/Pop album.

It's a unique achievement for the Sri Lankan-born singer, whose parents are of mixed Sinhala and Tamil origin, and who first enjoyed success with the British Tamil community before finding his feet in the notoriously inward-looking British Indian music scene. 

He is also arguably the first musician of Sri Lankan origin to be signed to a major Indian record label. 

In a statement, Arjun said: "I'm very grateful for this opportunity to take my music to the next level. T-Series is a formidable company and their vision aligns very well with mine. I'm excited for everyone to hear all the music I've been working on behind the scenes.

Big thank you to my fans who have enabled this to happen through their hard work and support. It's been a team effort."

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#BULLETRAJA: Comic fan Saif launches Bullet Raja-inspired series

Bollywood’s been marginally slow with the uptake in exploring the multifarious different ways of expanding a film’s revenue generating stream; merchandizing and comic books are a relatively new thing in the business. However, after the tremendous success of a new comics franchise arising out of Hrithik Roshan’s ‘KRRISH 3’, ‘Bullett …

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