Hollywood star Mindy Kaling recently spoke with NextShark about her Indian parents, the stereotypical roles for women of color, and having to learn Hindi for the first time for her upcoming movie.
Kaling, who joins an all-star cast in “Ocean’s 8,” expressed her love for the male-driven franchise led by George Clooney and Brad Pitt before describing her character in the all-female version of the comedy heist film.
“I loved the Oceans movies,” Kaling told Nextshark. “My character, Amita, is a jeweler from a family of jewelers, so I had to go to the diamond district in New York and apprentice with an actual jeweler.”
She then added that she had to hire a language coach and spend months learning Hindi to prepare for one of her scenes.
“I also had to learn to speak Hindi for a scene with my mother. It was more preparation than I’ve ever had to do for a role!”
Kaling had earlier explained to Parade Magazine that while both of her parents are Indian, her family never spoken any Hindi at home when she was growing up.
“My parents are from different parts of India. My mom spoke Bengali and English. My dad spoke Tamil and English,” Kaling pointed out. “When they met each other in Africa, the only language they had in common was English. English was the only language I heard growing up.”
According to Kaling, her parents were supportive of her career choice early on.
“My parents weren’t familiar with Hollywood but they were always supportive of and confident in me,” she told NextShark. “I always steered towards acting and writing from a young age, so I think I prepared them for the inevitability that I would want to do it for a living.”
“My parents were pretty strict and looking back on that, I think I liked that. I have a great relationship with them, so I think I’ll probably emulate what they did,” she noted.
Aside from her iconic television roles, Kaling has also been recognized as among the few Asian American creators who have been busy behind the scenes writing and creating shows that tell authentic, non-whitewashed Asian stories.
“I always heard about roles of the sassy best friend, which typically are roles slotted for minority women. Since I didn’t see that changing, I wrote parts for myself. Now I see so many great leading roles for Asians and African American women, it’s so exciting.”
“Ocean’s 8,” which also stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna and Awkwafina
, among others, premiered at Alice Tully Hall in New York on Tuesday and debuted in the United States on Thursday night.