5 Indian diaspora actors that ruled 2020

Most talked about Indian origin actors of the year


December 31, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

5 Indian diaspora actors that ruled 2020

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan plays the lead role of Devi Vishwakumar, in Mindy Kaling's teen series Never Have I Ever (Photo Credit: Netflix)

Despite a dull year for most across the globe, including the entertainment industry that came to a screening halt, a few Indian diaspora actors have made their way to stardom.

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This year, two Indian actors starred in shows that were trending on Twitter within hours of their release on Netflix. Tamil-Canadian newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who plays the lead in Mindy Kaling’s new show Never Have I Ever and London-born actor Rahul Kohli, with his horror series The Haunting of Bly Manor.

These two are not the only actors of Indian origin who rose to fame amid a raging pandemic worldwide. Here are five most talked-about actors from across the world who ruled the small screen with their acting skills.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

Born to Tamil-Canadian parents in Ontario in 2001, actor Maitreyi Ramakrishnan was selected from among 15,000 aspiring actors to play the lead role of Devi Vishwakumar, in Mindy Kaling’s teen series Never Have I Ever. The 19-year-old has received rave reviews for her portrayal of an Indian-American teenager trying to navigate first love, grief and family expectations.

The Netflix series premiered in April 2020 and has already been greenlit for season two. Speaking about Kaling in an interview, Ramakrishnan says, “She really is the best mentor I could ask for. And I’m super, super lucky and fortunate that this is my way of getting into Hollywood.”

Rahul Kohli

Rahul Kohli starred in one of the most talked-about shows of 2020, The Haunting of Bly Manor (Photo Credit: Netflix)

After stints on shows like British soap EastEnders (2013) and CW supernatural drama iZombie (2015), this year British-Indian actor starred in one of the most talked-about shows of 2020, The Haunting of Bly Manor.

Born in London to Punjabi parents in 1985, Kohli reached the turning point in his career after years of turning down stereotypical roles most brown actors are well acquainted with.

“I reject a lot of scripts,” he says, “It is easy for me to shoot down working in a 7-Eleven or being the Indian guy getting an arranged marriage even though he does not want one. I want to create a safer space that’s more inclusive and progressive.”

Sunita Mani

Sunita Mani in Glow (Photo Credit: Netflix)

Born to Indian parents in the USA, in 1986, Sunita Mani got her start in theatre form improv and went on to act in successful comedies like Broad City (2014) and The Good Place (2016). But it was Netflix series Glow, about a troupe of female wrestlers in 1980s Los Angeles, that served as her breakout project. The delightfully refreshing show ran for three seasons but was cancelled this year due to coronavirus-related budget constraints.

Despite that, 2020 turned out to be a big year for the 34-year-old actor who had three film projects released this year, including Evil Eye, a horror film about reincarnation,  co-starring veteran actor Sarita Chaudhury, another critically acclaimed British actor of Indian origin.

Ashley Ganger

Ashley Ganger landed her first-ever role on Grand Army(Photo Credit: Netflix)

It’s not often that an aspiring actor’s very first project turns out to be a hit but that is exactly what happened with Ashley Ganger.

Born to Punjabi parents in Canada, the 23-year-old Indian-Canadian actress landed her first-ever role on Grand Army (2020), a Netflix drama that has garnered critical acclaim since its premiere this October. The show follows a group of teens at a public high school in Brooklyn, and Ganger plays Meera Pakam, a feminist artist/playwright.

Ganger has been praised by several critics for her role in the show and is reportedly set to be nominated for People’s Choice Award in 2021. A second season is yet to be confirmed, but based on early buzz, Ganger is the one to watch out for.

Avan Jogia

Avan Jogia has co- starred with Samuel L Jackson and Regina Hall (Photo Credit: Netflix)

With roles in films like Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) alongside Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, and Shaft (2019), co-starring Samuel L Jackson and Regina Hall, Avan Jogia gained global attention early this year.

Born in Vancouver, in 1992, in a Gujarati family, the Indian origin actor who has over three million followers on Instagram has been in films since 2006. Last year he also published a book, Mixed Feelings, about his multiracial identity.

His latest project is Resident Evil, a reboot of the cult horror film series, which is set to be released in 2021.



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