Parminder Nagra: who is DI Ray cast member, and what else has she been in including Bend It Like Beckham

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Parminder Nagra is the star of Birmingham based detective drama DI Ray

British Actress Parminder Nagra was born in Leicester in 1975 to Sikh parents who migrated from the Punjab region of India.

She first started performing in productions at high school and after completing her A levels she joined her former drama instructor’s theatre company, Haithizi Productions.

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In 1994 she replaced the lead actress in the musical Nimai, beginning a short stage career.

Over the following decades Nagra would go on to star in several stage performances before adding film and television roles to her CV.

Parminder Nagra at the celebration of the 300th episode of ER in 2007Parminder Nagra at the celebration of the 300th episode of ER in 2007
Parminder Nagra at the celebration of the 300th episode of ER in 2007 | Getty Images

What theatrical productions was Parminder Nagra cast in?

Nagra’s first role in a London theatre production was as the princess in Sleeping Beauty in 1994, which was significant as Nagra is of Indian heritage and played a causasion role.

Nagra also had a role in the 1996 performance of the Peter Oswald play, Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards.

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What films and TV shows has Nagra starred in?

Nagra made a string of appearances in TV shows in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s including Turning World, Casualty, and Holby City, but it was in 2002 that she had a breakthrough role in the sports comedy Bend it Like Beckham.

Nagra played Jess, the daughter of British Indian Sikhs who forbade her to play football because she is a girl.

In defiance of her parents, Jess joins a local women’s team which eventually moves to the top of the league.

In 2010 Bend it Like Beckham was aired on North Korean television - it was reportedly the first ever western film to receive this treatment.

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Off the back of her performance in Bend it Like Beckham which went on to become a surprise box office success, Nagra was offered higher profile film and TV work.

She played Areida in the fantasy film Ella Enchanted alongside Anne Hathaway, and played Dr. Neela Rasgotra in six seasons of the medical drama ER from 2003-2009.

Nagra also played Meera Malik in the acclaimed NBC crime drama The Blacklist, Priya Singh in Netflix sensation 13 Reasons Why, and Senator Ellen Nadeer in season four of Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Parminder Nagra with Keira Knightley at The Hollywood Awards Gala Parminder Nagra with Keira Knightley at The Hollywood Awards Gala
Parminder Nagra with Keira Knightley at The Hollywood Awards Gala | Getty Images

Her other film roles include lending her voice to the character of Nisha Bains in the children’s animation Postman Pat, playing Dr. Lapham in the Netflix horror flick Bird Box, and Dr. Hamid in the romantic drama Five Feet Apart.

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This year Nagra took on the lead role as the eponymous detective in the crime drama DI Ray which is airing now on ITV.

Nagra is also top billed in the upcoming film The Kiss List which is adapted from the young adult novel of the same name by author Sara Jo Cluff.

The novel is focused on a highschool girl who makes a list of the best looking guys in school for her to kiss, with the hope of proving that she is a good kisser.

The movie adaptation is expected to transform the plot into an LGBTQ+ story.

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Does Parminder Nagra have children?

Nagra has one son, Kai, with her ex-husband, photographer James Stenson.

Nagra married Stenson in 2009 after being in a relationship for seven years, and she gave birth to Kai later that year.

In 2013, Nagra and Stenson divorced, and she has not remarried since.

What awards has Parminder Nagra won?

Nagra has been nominated for 16 awards of which she won eight.

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She and Keira Knightley jointly won the Golden Wave Best Actress award for Bend it Like Beckham at the Bordeaux International Festival of Women in Cinema, and Nagra also won the FIFA Presidential Award for the film.

She also won a Movieline Young Hollywood Awards in the category of Breakthrough Performance by a Female for Bend it Like Beckham,

Nagra won a Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards for Best Actress for her role in Second Generation, as well as a South Asian Students' Alliance award and an Asian Excellence Awards, both of which were for her role in ER.

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