Anjli Mohindra almost turned down Bodyguard role
24 September 2018 - 4:00 PM

Anjli Mohindra almost turned down Bodyguard role

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Anjli Mohindra almost turned down the chance to audition for "Bodyguard" because she didn't want to "perpetuate the seemingly Islamophobic narrative".

The 28-year-old actress did eventually get the part of terrorist Nadia in the BBC One drama - which came to a thrilling conclusion on Sunday night (23.09.18) when her alter-ego revealed she built the bomb which killed home secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes) - after she decided to audition because the character "felt real".

She wrote: "When I was first invited to audition for Nadia in Bodyguard, my response was simple: "I can't do it". I know I shouldn't judge - I'm an actor and that involves breathing life into and humanising a character on the page - but I didn't want to perpetuate the seemingly Islamophobic narrative (something which, when the first episode aired, viewers accused the show of doing).

"However, as my agent pointed out to me, you never know what's coming with a Jed Mecurio show. Once I clocked the end game, I thought to myself "this feels closer to the truth".

"These terror groups are funded, organised, even - however inadvertently - radicalised by people of power in the West. Being constantly excluded, alienated and persecuted can push people to extremes. Anyone (Muslim or otherwise) can be driven to inhumane actions if they're constantly vilified and dehumanised.

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"And THAT's what made me sign for the part. This character felt real - she wasn't a plot device. I was able to give her a personal backstory which I then felt compelled to bring to life. The role wasn't black or white (or even brown) - it was multi-layered and complex. Just like life. (sic)"

Despite her initial concerns, the former "The Sarah Jane Adventures" actress is pleased she signed up for the programme, which starred Richard Madden as personal protection officer David Budd, because she has received plenty of positive feedback.

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In a piece for Stylist magazine, she wrote: "The response to the show has been overwhelming - it's wonderful getting positive feedback from friends and overhearing strangers talk about it on the bus.

"Jed writes stories that grip you, play with your emotions and deliver the unexpected - the stuff of great TV drama - which has also opened up some much-needed debate."

Bodyguard's finale concluded with an average of 10.4 million viewers and a peak of 11 million, making it the biggest drama across all channels since 2011 and the biggest BBC drama since 2008.

Creator Jed Mercurio said: "I'm completely stunned by the exceptional response to Bodyguard which reflects the star quality of our brilliant cast led by Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes and our outstanding crew led by producers Priscilla Parish and Eric Coulter and directors Thomas Vincent and John Strickland."

The show has also broken BBC iPlayer records with episode one the biggest of any programme ever on the catch-up service with 7.3 million requests to date.

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