Aysha Kala is priming for her TV reign
Watch out for the budding actor on season 2 of Indian Summers
Despite its large ensemble, you can’t miss Aysha Kala on Indian Summers, Downton Abbey’s successor as TV’s ruling period drama. The 24-year-old’s tempered portrayal of Sooni Dalal, a fierce Parsi woman rallying for home rule, won her the BAFTA Breakthrough Brit award last December. Mapping the dramatic end of the British Raj from 1930s Shimla, the series premiered its second season last month, and is ripe with suspense and scandal. Its three-year flash forward, though, has been a bit of a surprise for Kala. “Sooni’s lightened up and learned to pick her battles,” she says. “It’s nice to be able to do a bit of comedy and romance — she’s in the middle of a love triangle this season.”
For London-based Kala, whose trips to India are mostly centred around her father’s native town in Gujarat, the show brought lesser-known histories to light. “It was interesting to find out how instrumental the Parsi community was [in the freedom struggle]. Especially the women; they could open a dialogue with the British because they were all well-educated.”
The theatre grad spends most of her downtime stage-hopping. “[Plays] are a big passion for me. I’m lucky to live in London where there’s so much happening,” says Kala, who won gushy reviews (and a spot on Indian Summers) for her performance as a 15-year-old Kashmiri girl battling post-traumatic stress disorder in Abhishek Majumdar’s play The Djinns Of Eidgah (2013). Right now, she’s hoping her next project brings some relief from sari draping. “I’d like to do something contemporary. Maybe something that’s not directly linked to being Asian,” she says.