Drama Queen

Is Rakhee Thakrar the new Parminder Nagra?

Posted: 09.04.13

Cloud 9 hit UK screens last year and is the first ever British Asian soap. Set in London the story revolves around a character called Ajay Shah played by Valmike Rampersad and his immediate friends and community. Rakhee Thakrar plays Simran, his love interest and she’s no stranger to taking on major roles. The Leicester born actress was spotted while she was still at school and has gone on to carve out a dream career as an actress.
Omar Mehtab caught up with Rakhee to find out more about the role, her impressions of Cloud 9 and a bit more about Simran herself.

Hi Rakhee! How are you?
I’m very happy thanks!

So you’ve been acting since 2006 and have appeared shows like Holby City and Doctors. How did your acting career begin?
I did Drama GCSE at school, and my teacher had a theatre company. Before I went to university, he asked me if I could at least give it a go with his company. I was apprehensive at first, because I didn’t think a little girl from Leicester could make it but then I landed a part on the BBC radio drama Silver Street and from there have never looked back.

I’m glad to hear things have worked out so well for you. What has the local reaction been like?
It’s been really good. We’ve had actresses like Parminder Nagra, who comes from Leicester make it big so she has been an inspiration for me, as well as paved the way for younger Asian actresses to make it. There’s certainly lot of talent here.

You play Simran on Cloud 9. Do you find it is easy to identify with her?
There was a time where I didn’t know how to lead a personal life as well as a work life because I always thought it would interfere. I’m still trying to find that balance but I sometimes I feel like I am Simran!

Well I certainly hope you aren’t as cold as her!
Haha no no! You’ll see a warmer side to Simran in the show soon. We find out why Simran is as cold as she is, and how that begins to change.

What’s all this about you being an artist too?
I draw from time to time, and did a few pieces for a charity auction. It’s my favourite thing to do outside of acting. But I also love to watch films, especially with my friends and family. My list of what to watch is huge at the moment, but La Vie en Rose is one of my favourites. The French actress Marion Cotillard was astonishing in that film, and is my major inspiration.

How is it working with the Cloud 9 cast?
It’s absolutely fantastic. We work a lot of hours, and we see a lot of each other - it almost feels like a family. Everyone is so brilliant, especially Nikki and Valmike. They are spontaneous and experienced, so easy to get along and work with. There is a collective effort to do our best, so the chemistry is great. We all strive to make our characters relatable, and being in English, I think this combination works really well.

Is there anything else you would like to get into? Like perhaps the music industry, or maybe further your artistry?
I’d love to write! It takes an incredible amount of commitment and dedication, and with all the work we are doing at the moment on Cloud 9, as well as other things, I have no time. I’d love to write about character relationships and developments; looking into what makes and drives people. So Cloud 9 inspires me a bit in that way too!

Who’s been your favourite person to work with during your career, and who would you love to work alongside with?
Ahh that is such a tough question! I think in terms of popularity, it would be Bill Nighy. To work with such a big name and someone so talented, yet so humble, was an absolute honour. But in terms of talent, it would have to be actors like Vikesh Bhai and Valmike. They’re just so dedicated, it’s really admirable. And the person I would love to work with... it would definitely have to be Marion Cotillard. I would be on cloud nine if that ever happened! 

Watch Cloud 9 on Zing, weekdays 6.30pm

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