From Homeland to ancestral home

Nimrat Kaur is excited to play Tasneem Kureshi who, like her ancestors, hails from Pakistan’s province of Punjab.

Ians August 16, 2014


The Lunchbox may have been her break into the entertainment industry but with a role in TV show Homeland, Nimrat Kaur has officially become part of the bigger picture.

Being part of such a popular show was a big deal for Kaur but what was even more awe inspiring was the fact that she had to play a Punjabi girl from Pakistan. She will be seen as Tasneem Kureshi, a high-level operative within Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and will now be featured in nine episodes of Homeland’s fourth season.

Kaur’s ancestors hailed from the cities of Rawalpindi and Lahore, which is why Homeland would be a case of going back to her ancestral ‘home’. Currently in Cape Town for a shooting schedule of the Emmy Award-winning political thriller series, Kaur shares her excitement about playing Tasneem Kureshi.

“I’m dying to go to Pakistan,” she squeaked with excitement, before adding: “My maternal and paternal ancestors come from Rawalpindi and Lahore. It’s a strange affinity we have towards people there, and I would love to get a chance of going there.”

Nimrat said she accepted the role without giving a second thought, although what is ironic is the fact that she had never seen Homeland before she saw the pilot  episode of the fourth season.

“It is very interesting (to play a Pakistani character in a US show). India and Pakistan are culturally so similar...I belong to Punjab and there’s so much similarity between us. They are food-loving and fun-loving people ...I’d just say it’s a country which is a victim of circumstances,” she said in a telephonic interaction from Cape Town.

The fact that her character belonged to another nation didn’t pose a hurdle for Nimrat.

“It was more important to feel the part than to feel where the character came from. It’s an interesting character in the overall story of the show’s new season,” she said.

Kaur will also be joined by Indian actor Suraj Sharma of Life of Pi fame, Mad Men star Mark Moses and Art Malik, known for True Lies, in the show.

“I wish I had seen Homeland before! After I saw the pilot episode, I asked for CDs of all the three seasons and saw all of it! I watched it whenever I found time between work,” said the actress, who has been going in and out of Cape Town since early July.

Nevertheless, she is yet to soak in its beauty in its entirety.

Back home in India, questions await as to when she’s starring in her next Indian project.

To that, she said: “I am finalising something very soon.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2014.

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