twitterfacebookgooglevimeoyoutubemail
CULTURE CENTRE
Film - Theatre - Music/Dance - Books - TV - Gallery - Art - Fashion/Lifestyle - Video

Burning bright: Indira Varma in ‘Tiger Country’ and on her career choices…

Burning bright: Indira Varma in ‘Tiger Country’ and on her career choices…

December 4 2014

Star Indira Varma talks to www.asianculturevulture.com about her latest play and gives some sage advice, based on her wide-ranging roles across theatre, film and television…

HOSPITALS are dangerous places – and not just because people can perish inside them.

ACV
Five essential acv questions
1.Who or what most inspired in your line of work, career or just life in general(from near or far)?
Indira Varma (IV): It’s hard to limit myself to one thing, I find that so difficult. I would say working with Harold
Pinter, that was really exciting. There was the privilege of watching someone like that working and working with him
several times and his plays are very inspiring.
2. What would count as an ambition still to be fulfilled?
IV: I’d like to do some leads in independent films, and also I’d like to make a film in French because I am a French speaker (I picked it up pretty much from my mother who spoke French and German; I asked my Dad to speak to me in Hindi but it didn’t quite work). I’d really like to do one of those French indie films and a Bollywood film...why not?
3. What’s the best advice someone has ever given you? And the worst?
IV:The phrase ‘Be nice to everyone on the way up, because you’ll meet them on the way down’.
The worst is doing something that others think is good – like always putting your foot in the door, taking jobs just for the sake of putting your foot in a door - forget it, don’t waste your time, do things which you want to do and you’re excited to do...follow your instincts.
4. What’s your favourite place (other than home) and why?
IV:My uncle and aunt’s house in Switzerland in the night...(home from home)
5.What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
IV: Be true to yourself and you know what, believe in yourself and be yourself!

They’re also seething cauldrons of ambition, envy and shameful politicking.

Peel back the professionalism and dispense with reverence with which we normally hold this noble vocation (of medicine) and see it raw, up close and personal.

Playwright and director Nina Raine invites us to do just that in “Tiger Country” from Monday, December 8, at the Hampstead Theatre with Indira Varma playing one of the lead roles in the return of the theatre’s own 2011 smash.

Fresh from her TV success in “Rome” and the most recent series of “Game of Thrones”, Varma is back on the stage and you get the impression it’s where she loves to be.

Her passion and fondness for the work of the late great Harold Pinter, bear this out (see her answers to five essential acv questions).

In “Tiger Country”, which refers to that unpredictable and dangerous area surgeons go when they operate, Varma plays Vashti, a consultant urologist: smart, beautiful, seemingly tough, but more vulnerable than meets the eye, and very much caught in a man’s world.

“It’s an ensemble piece,” stressed Varma to www.asianculturevulture.com last week: “One of themes of this play is being part of a team and yet nonetheless, there is a hierarchy as there is in a lot of organisations and it is a terrible, difficult balancing act.”

Based on a real life doctor – Jyoti Shah, who works for Burton Hospitals and is a consultant surgeon urologist, Raine and Varma’s portrayal of her is based on a life lived and the dramas and tensions that from time to time befall us all – but become perhaps more heightened and intense in the setting of a busy hospital in the run-up to Christmas.

Both Raine and Varma spent time with Shah in and out of hospital – Varma staying with her and shadowing the doctor as she went about her work.

Varma revealed: “What I really enjoyed observing in that hospital environment was the medical professionals, they have an important job – and for us lay people it’s really difficult (to understand), it’s taken them many years and they’re brilliant (at it) and it can be quite technical – but it’s also about maintaining that personal touch.

“Listening to what this person is burbling on about – which might not actually be relevant but could provide an important clue and it all being up against the clock.”

Vashti is trying to get on, do the right thing and be a friend, colleague and caring professional, but there are often competing and indeed, conflicting pressures as Varma and Raine both intelligently allude.

Race and gender feature but don’t expect a play packed with ‘issues’ or political statements, it appears far too subtle and acutely observed to be anything that is proselytising or table-thumping.

Varma understands that while some 60 per cent of current medical students in the UK are female, only six per cent of them elect to go into surgery. The figures may not be exact she cautioned, but the point is obvious and well made.

“Something is going askew,” posed Varma. “Who’s the one stopping her (Vashti, from achieving what she wants as a surgeon)?”

Varma suggests that Raine is asking us to open the lid, look right inside and think about what we find.

Indeed, it’s not difficult to be drawn into the world Varma describes – Vashti appears complex, compelling, and yes, conflicted.

Her being a woman in a man-dominated field is deftly exposed and so are the tribulations that don’t affect men half as much, or at all really.

ACV
Indira Varma as Vashti in 'Tiger Country'

“She has a moment,” explained Varma. “And she talks about someone fancying her. But she says we’re not going there – it’s complicated.

“We (Vashti and her prospective amour) didn’t go there and she tells us we didn’t because she didn’t want to be accused of sleeping her way to the job.

“She doesn’t want to be seen playing that game – what happens to you and your personal life and identity?” asked Varma.

If that wasn’t toxic enough, (if you’ll excuse the expression) her ethnicity too isn’t – and can’t be just – glossed over.

“She’s definitely an Asian woman, she’s had to confront certain issues along the way – I don’t want to give too much away.

“There is also a black nurse and another character that was not written as anything specific (ethnically) but there’s a black actor playing him.

“It’s about what does that mean to certain people – what prejudices do people bring and how much of them do we know about.

“You know, you can walk into a room and think, ‘you’re going to hate me because I am brown’, but actually nobody’s thinking twice about it.”

Too often the world of our TV and drama is monochrome white – and it’s good to see a play that looks and feels like the reality we live and breathe, especially in and around London.

Varma delved deeper and further into more fundamental questions which the play throws up.

“What has she done to herself (to get on), what’s brought her to that place, what she’s trying to achieve, what does she think she should be achieving?

“Should she be behaving like a man to get on in a man’s world, she asks – ‘Should I be more English – what happens to my identity when I am trying to make it’ – you’ve got to fight like a man in there – because it’s very competitive. ‘I can’t walk around in pretty shoes, can I’?”

There is also the immense stress and the bump and grind of daily life – and they can rub together quite innocuously.

“How does that surgeon or whoever carry that level of responsibility and I am sure it veers from: ‘I can do anything’ to ‘I can’t cope with this’. I think that’s fascinating.”

And later Varma added: “It’s all in a day’s work, it’s routine for them, they are in surgery doing operations on a daily basis. It’s like ‘here we go, here’s another one’, so they therefore have an opportunity to chat… ‘what were you up to last night?’

She actually befriended Raine when she appeared in “Celebration” in 2000 at The Almeida, with Pinter directing and Raine watching on as an aspiring writer-director.

“I’ve been following her career and doing readings ever since,” Varma said of the connection with Raine. “She’s an amazing writer and this is my first time working with her as a director and she’s pretty darn good at that too.”

There’s little question that Varma is one of our leading and most versatile lights – next year she will feature at the National Theatre alongside Ralph Fiennes in George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman”.

ACV
Indira Varma in 'Game of Thrones' as Ellaria Sand

It will be her third time at the National and comes off the back of a previous stage appearance in Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” at the Globe on the SouthBank in the summer – as well as those big HBO television roles and an ABC 2010 series, “Human Target“.

There was also a spot in the first series of BBC’s “Luther” as Idris Elba’s rather tormented on screen wife, Zoe. She also features in Ridley Scott’s shortly forthcoming Biblical epic, “Exodus”.

Despite this huge variety, many outside the world of theatre, television and film, still connect her with her very first film, “Kama Sutra” by Mira Nair in 1997.

Controversially, it was banned in India and there was quite a brouhaha about its contents – though by western standards it wasn’t all that daring or provocative.

Varma looked back on it as a learning experience and one she has no regrets about when asked the question.

“I did when I was young,” she confessed. “But actually, no – I learnt loads, I learnt a hell of a lot. I worked with a hot director of photography (award-winning Declan Quinn, a frequent Nair collaborator) and that was the real deal. It was a massive thing to play a leading role straight out of drama school.”

ACV
Indira Varma with Idris Elba in 'Luther'

Indeed, she was one of the few non-white faces (perhaps the only) at RADA and the portents seemed uncertain.

“I had a couple of teachers who said, ‘change your name’ and others who said don’t – both sets were white.

“Part of me thought I don’t understand – I am who I am. This is my identity and quite honestly before leaving drama school, I didn’t even think of myself as an ‘Asian’.

“I thought of me as me with an Asian/Indian father and a Swiss mother. The Swiss bit always gets forgotten, because it’s not overtly obvious,” said Varma, who has a young, school-age daughter and whose partner is actor Colin Tierney.

It’s clear she takes great pride in her mixed heritage. Her facility in French is one aspect of that – she learnt the language from her mother and regrets her late father not speaking to her in Hindi.

Growing up in the West Country, and neither of her parents – both artist/illustrators – speaking English as their first language, drew them and her to mime theatre and first sparked her own interest in the medium.

But there was still some slight dissonance when she did go off to drama school.

“I think my Dad was a little shocked – they thought I should do something where I could afford to pay the bills because it wasn’t straightforward for them.”

But look how well it’s turned out, Varma seemed to suggest, when you follow your heart and your passions.

Main picture: Alastair Mackenzie, Luke Thompson, Ruth Everett, Nick Hendrix and Indira Varma and portrait also by Shaun Webb
Top inset portrait by Wolf Marloh

*’Tiger Country‘ by Nina Raine from December 8-January 17, at Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage,
London, NW3 3EU From £15-£32 Box Office: 020 7722 9301
For ticket information: http://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2014/tiger-country/

Share Button
Written by Asian Culture Vulture

40 Comments

  1. In vitro DMPK · November 20, 2017

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Informations here|There you can find 27607 more Informations|Infos to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  2. go · November 27, 2017

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Infos here|There you will find 90362 additional Infos|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  3. satta matka · December 1, 2017

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Infos here|There you can find 83667 additional Infos|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  4. iraq coehumancoehuman · December 3, 2017

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Find More Infos here|Here you can find 75379 additional Infos|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  5. Aws alkhazraji · December 9, 2017

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Infos here|There you will find 97651 more Infos|Informations on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  6. iraq Colarts2 · December 11, 2017

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Read More Infos here|There you will find 85809 additional Infos|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  7. stuff · December 28, 2017

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Infos here|There you can find 56445 more Infos|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  8. cpns bumn · December 29, 2017

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Read More Informations here|Here you will find 10939 additional Informations|Informations to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  9. house for sale · January 9, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Find More Infos here|There you can find 63932 more Infos|Informations on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  10. twitter ads · February 2, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Find More Informations here|Here you will find 25205 additional Informations|Informations to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  11. warehouses for rent · February 5, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Infos here|Here you can find 86254 additional Infos|Informations on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  12. Mr. Checkout Distributors · February 14, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Find More Informations here|Here you can find 95228 additional Informations|Informations on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  13. Search Engine Optimization · February 24, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Informations here|Here you can find 38891 additional Informations|Infos to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  14. ORM Strategy · March 30, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Informations here|There you will find 51984 additional Informations|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  15. C++ Tutorial · April 30, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Infos here|Here you will find 71200 more Infos|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  16. forex signals · May 7, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Infos here|Here you can find 18883 additional Infos|Informations to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  17. In vitro DMPK · May 17, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Read More Infos here|There you will find 86652 additional Infos|Informations on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  18. Caco-2 Permeability studies · May 18, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Read More Informations here|Here you can find 65097 additional Informations|Informations on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  19. Pedja · May 28, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Infos here|Here you will find 18401 more Infos|Infos to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  20. Online Casino Reviews · June 3, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Informations here|There you will find 80484 additional Informations|Informations on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  21. telefoonhoesjes · June 10, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Informations here|There you will find 49196 additional Informations|Infos to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  22. Tuzilac · June 11, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Read More Informations here|Here you will find 43377 additional Informations|Infos to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  23. Predrag Timotić · June 15, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Find More Infos here|There you can find 77494 additional Infos|Informations on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  24. online steroid shop · July 7, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Find More Infos here|There you can find 76999 more Infos|Informations on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  25. have a peek at these guys · July 9, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Infos here|Here you will find 57504 more Infos|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  26. hard fuck on bed · July 13, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Find More Informations here|Here you will find 70230 more Informations|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  27. http://bitcoinsportsbooks.info · July 14, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Infos here|There you will find 21526 more Infos|Informations to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  28. online pokies real money · July 23, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Informations here|Here you can find 74179 additional Informations|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  29. silne krwawienia · August 6, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Infos here|There you will find 43567 additional Infos|Informations to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  30. Free UK Chat · August 8, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Infos here|There you will find 10010 more Infos|Infos to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  31. intranet · August 10, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Infos here|There you will find 38251 additional Infos|Informations to that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  32. fotballdrakter barn · September 1, 2018

    fotballdrakter barn

    I love this site – its so usefull and helpfull.

  33. Bayern Munche tröja 2018 · September 3, 2018

    Bayern Munche tröja 2018

    I treasure the content on your web sites. Kudos!

  34. cytochrome P450 metabolism · September 4, 2018

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Informations here|Here you will find 80816 more Informations|Infos on that Topic: asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/burning-bright-indira-varma-tiger-country-career-choices/ […]

  35. billiga fotbollströjor · September 24, 2018

    billiga fotbollströjor

    Simply just had to stress I’m just happy I came onto your web page.|

  36. Magliette Bayern Bambino · September 26, 2018

    Magliette Bayern Bambino

    Keep up the excellent work and generating the crowd!

  37. maglia Napoli · September 27, 2018

    maglia Napoli

    Thank you so much for sharing your amazing web site.

  38. maglia Atletico Madrid poco prezzo · September 27, 2018

    maglia Atletico Madrid poco prezzo

    Appreciate it for sharing this terrific internet site.

  39. Milan Tröja · September 27, 2018

    Milan Tröja

    I like reading your websites. With thanks!

  40. Fodboldtrøjer · October 9, 2018

    Fodboldtrøjer

    Keep up the helpful work and delivering in the crowd! sites:ggglese.com