Adil Ray was "very close" to being denied an Indian visa to film "Beecham House".
The "Citizen Khan" star - who was born in Birmingham to a Pakistani father and a Kenyan mother - admits the new ITV period drama's creator and writer Gurinder Chadha had "a lot of sway" when it came to him being approved for a visa, because Birmingham-based officials had never heard of him before.
Speaking to BANG Showbiz and other media, Adil - who plays Delhi resident Murad Beg in the forthcoming series, which is set in India in 1795 - said: "I've never been to India, and I've actually had a job offer with the BBC to go to India.
"Anybody who knows, for a British-Pakistani it is incredibly difficult to get a visa.
"They ask you your great grandfather's name, and you need your great grandfather's birth certificate.
"Most people just give up and don't go. We were very close to not getting it.
"I remember being in the visa office in Birmingham and saying, "I've got a comedy, "Citizen Khan"." "No, never heard of it."
"Then I said I'm doing a Gurinder Chadha show. "Oh, Gurinder!"
"Gurinder had a lot of sway actually. I was very grateful."
Adil admits the country felt like home, particularly filming scenes in the northern city of Delhi.
He said: "To go to India with the political situation as it is, to be Muslim and Pakistani and go, it was quite an emotional time for me.
"It felt very quickly like home, particularly Delhi, which is very similar to Lahore. It kind of mimics the city.
"So it felt like home to me and I use a little bit of that in Murad my character.
"He's a very confident person and a people's person."
The "Ackley Bridge" star also admitted he was delighted to be offered the role after "Bend it Like Beckham" director Gurinder "slipped into [his] DMs".
He added: "Gurinder slipped into my DMs one afternoon - it was great.
"It was great to be offered the part."
The series also stars Tom Bateman, Marc Warren, Lesley Nicol, Dakota Blue Richards and Pallavi Sharda, and is due to air on ITV later this summer.