"Slumdog" helps usher in Hollywood's Indian era

Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:37pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Maybe it's the success of "Slumdog Millionaire." Perhaps it's because corporate outsourcing is now a very real -- and frustrating -- part of Westerners lives. Or perhaps it's because India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and its influences have finally spread to Hollywood.

Whatever the reason, Indian actors have officially taken Hollywood by storm, both on and off screen.

Currently, U.S. television boasts more than a dozen Indian actors who are regular cast members on popular shows like "The Office," "30 Rock," "Community," "Chuck," "Royal Pains", "The Big Bang Theory," and "Covert Affairs".

Aziz Ansari, a stand-up comedian who plays a wise-cracking office worker in "Parks and Recreation", was given the coveted job of hosting the MTV Movie Awards in June.

And British-born, Mumbai-raised Archie Panjabi, who plays an investigator in the hit drama "The Good Wife," is nominated for a best supporting actress Emmy Award this weekend.

Capping it all is the upcoming new TV comedy "Outsourced", about an American novelty goods maker whose customer service center is moved to Mumbai. The cast is comprised almost exclusively of Indian actors.

Vik Sahay, a first generation Indian actor on "Chuck," said the rise of Indian actors in Hollywood has been a "gradual growth that crystallized in the a-ha moment of the success of 'Slumdog Millionaire.'"

The 2008 film, which won eight Academy Awards including best picture, has certainly done its part.   Continued...