Parminder Nagra, who scored with audiences and critics alike this year as a soccer-playing English teenager in the surprise hit film “Bend It Like Beckham,” joined the cast of “ER” as third-year medical student Neela Rasgotra in a decidedly less athletic role.
“She’s somebody who seems astute, very hardworking and keen to learn,“ says Nagra. “I’d also say that I am somebody who is hardworking and keen to learn -- although I do have my lazy days!”
Nagra was born and raised in Leicester, England but her family is originally from the state of Punjab in India. She admits that she had no formal acting training but that it was something she fell in to.
“I didn’t even know if I wanted to become so involved with the business,” says Nagra. “Because it was more of a gradual thing, my parents got used to it.”
“Bend It Like Beckham” was Nagra’s feature-film debut and breakthrough role as a teenage English girl whose unexpected talents on the soccer field – inspired by her idol, international soccer star David Beckham – do not endear her with her traditional Indian family.
Nagra’s other credits include the upcoming film “Ella Enchanted.” She recently completed “Twelfth Night” for UK Channel 4 and also stars in the leading role for the channel’s two-part drama, “Second Generation.” In the United Kingdom, she also appeared in “A&E,” “Donovan Quick” and “Turning World.”
Nagra can speak fluent Punjabi, a bit of Hindi and “various swear words in different languages,” she confesses. She also recently traveled to Calcutta, marking her first trip to India. Among her acting role modes are Holly Hunter, Jodie Foster and Edward Norton. Her birthday is October 5.