Will this be her only legacy? After seeing Bend It Like Beckham I took an interest in Parminder. I really like that movie. Coming of age stories and movies are my favorite and this is one of the best. And Parminder’s performance makes it.
So I looked around. I wanted more Parminder. The network dramas don’t particularly interest me, neither do the all-Indian fares.
Online I found her Twitter page, which is awfully fun. She seems real. And she acts human. She also seems a little obsessive or tied to her iPod. Oh well. I will miss it when it isn’t there.
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Parminder Nagra was born and raised in central England (the “East Midlands”), in the Belgrave district of Leicester. She is the eldest of four siblings and, although it was unusual for Sikh marriages, her parents divorced when she was young. Her parents were married in arranged fashion in their native India (Punjab) and both worked at a local factory. According to Ms. Nagra, hers was a happy childhood, with “aunties and uncles always in and out of our house” and two loving, albeit separate, parents.
She attended the Northfield House Primary School and the Soar Valley College in Leicester. (At the time education was compulsory in England until age sixteen; now it is 17, and beginning in 2015 it will be eighteen.) It was at the latter school that she became part of the youth orchestra and also appeared in her first stageplays. In 1991, at age sixteen, Ms. Nagra became an usher at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre, where she studied and learned from the performers; apparently she was also still in school, in a university-preparation mode, as she did take her A-levels.
Her first acting break came in 1994 when she became a part of Hathi Productions, a Leicester-based British-Asian theatre company. Initially she was cast as a chorus member in the musical Nimai (1994) presented at the Leicester Haymarket. However, she soon replaced the lead actress of the musical.
“When I was 18, my mother gave me a photo of a man and said I’d marry him. I told her then I was never going to have an arranged marriage. No one has ever forced me to do anything against my will.”
“They might have joked about that nice Indian boy down the street but it wasn’t serious.”
At the age of eighteen Nagra moved to London…
Her big break came of course in Bend It Like Beckham, but it wasn’t smooth or easy. The film’s director, Gurinder Chadha, first met Ms. Nagra in 1998 after a stageplay and suggested the role; the film wasn’t made until some three years later. By this time Ms. Nagra was twenty-six years old, some ten years older than her co-star Keira Knightly. The project had a tough time with financing and getting off the ground. Further it wasn’t released until 2002 in the U.K. and 2003 in the U.S. All the while Ms. Nagra stuck with the project.
The film was a big hit in India and Ms. Nagra made her first trip there to participate in the publicity efforts. Similarly, she traveled to the United States in 2003 to promote the film. It was there, in Los Angeles, that she interviewed for, and was offered a role on, E.R.
(Replaces “A Quality and in the U.S.)