Monday, December 13, 2010
Male on Monday :: Sendhil Ramamurthy
Anne McAllister wishes everyone at the Pink Heart Society a happy holiday season filled with joy and dreams come true!
I never watched Heroes. So I missed Sendhil Ramamurthy when he entered the public consciousness a few years back. Someday, provided my library cooperates and I have time, I may make up for that by renting the videos. Sendhil will, I feel sure, make it worthwhile.
He was one of the reasons I found watching USA network's Covert Affairs worthwhile this past summer and early autumn.
On Covert Affairs, if you haven't seen it, Piper Perabo plays Annie Walker, a girl-next-door sort of gal who just happens to speak seven languages and is a rookie CIA operative while everyone who doesn't know better thinks she works for the Smithsonian. And Sendhil plays Jai Wilcox, a CIA operative himself, but one who has a definite albatross hanging around his neck: his father is the former head of the CIA.
He's also drafted by the current head to get close to Annie in order to try to get access to her former love, Ben Mercer, who is considered a rogue agent.
The story is, as you might imagine, a bit complicated. And there are other complications besides the above, which I won't go into now. Suffice to say, you can enjoy the twists and turns of the story as it develops over the weeks -- or you can ogle Sendhil and Christopher Gorham who plays Auggie Anderson, the special ops agent who was blinded in the field on a mission in Iraq.
Both work for me.
Sendhil (who said in an interview that as a child raised in San Antonio, Texas, kids thought his name was "Sandal.") was born in Chicago to Indian parents who emigrated from Bangalore.
They are both physicians. His sister is, too, and he was pre-med himself until he took an acting class at Tufts University for a general ed requirement and decided that he preferred acting to medicine.
After breaking the news to his parents who were initially taken aback, but then very supportive, he attended drama school in London and acted in several West End productions.
It happened that as he continued in his career, he was frequently offered roles he considered stereotypical Indian parts.
And he says, “I’ve made a very conscious decision that I’m not going to go in on stereotypical stuff—I’m just not into it. I’ve turned down auditions for lots of roles like that. I won’t do it, and my agents won’t ask me to do it.
"I don’t fault other actors for doing that. Sometimes you just need to work. But for me personally, I would rather just go and do something else.”
The role he played in Heroes, while containing an Indian backstory, was one of a layered multi-dimensional character. The one he plays in Covert Affairs is also one that defies stereotypes.
Besides the roles he has taken in television and films, he has been active in USA network's Characters Unite effort to combat intolerance, prejudice, discrimination and hate.
His own marriage to British-Polish actress Olga Sosnovska bridges cultures and religions. They have two children who are, he says, exposed to a variety of cultures, something he thinks is very important.
Besides his roles in American television, he's recently done a film in England with Gurinder Chadha called It's a Wonderful Afterlife, and earlier this year he did his first Bollywood movie, Shor (Noise) opposite Preeti Desai.
So if you're looking out for a thoughtful, talented, compelling hero, check out these films, watch for Covert Affairs when it returns to USA next year, or do like I'm going to do and stock up on Heroes videos from your local library.
Anne's next book, Hired by her Husband,tells the story of George Savas, who proves that physicists can be sexy -- and they can be great fathers, too. At least that's what Sophy, his not-quite-ex-wife, begin to realize, much to her dismay, when he reappears in her life.
Watch for it as a February Harlequin Presents.