First things, first:
Yep — that’s yours truly tweeting about how about how a certain U.S. pay cable network with amazing programming (but a noticeably troubling lack of diversity in said programming) should build a scripted series about one of Bollywood’s leading queens of independent cinema — Konkona Sen Sharma.
It seems like a random, unexpected comment — until you recall that ABC has a talent-holding deal in place with Priyanka Chopra — but that a star of Chopra’s caliber wouldn’t exactly make sense with HBO’s hipster street cred the way Sen Sharma would.
At The Huffington Post, Maureen Ryan posited an interesting rhetorical question: “Who creates drama at HBO? Very few women or people of color.” I mean, we even learned this when Game of Thrones grossly underused the talents of Indira Varma in its previous season.
With newer shows like Togetherness and Looking, as well as Girls, the network continues stumbling through its lack of diversity.
Sen Sharma’s Bollywood legacy is all about the way in which she delivers punchlines with a subtle sneer or a side-eye; in how she brings delight into playing the sidekick, the auntie, the girl who always gets friendzoned, the fixer-upper who’s always charged with the My Fair Lady-ification of man-children.
From 2009’s Wake Up Sid:
Sen Sharma is the kind of actress who, if given the right vehicles by the right producers and directors, could be a shoo-in for Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, and any number of other gold statues that people use to measure the success of such things.
Netflix, for some reason, does not have Wake Up Sid, Life in a Metro, or 15 Park Avenue — all three films in which she shines. But they do have Mirch and Luck By Chance — but be advised that Sen Sharma is like Parker Posey in many of these roles: She steals the scenes she’s in as a supporting player — and otherwise plays second fiddle to Bollywood’s A-listers, many of whom she tends to show up just by standing next to them.
Which is all to say, HBO, if you’re out there, and you are going to make a vainglorious stab at diversity, consider Konkona Sen Sharma. For the children.
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Rohin Guha is an editor at The Aerogram. Follow him on Twitter, if you’d like.