Interview: Anjli Mohindra on ‘Dark Heart’ & ‘Bodyguard’

ANJLI MOHINDRA has recently starred in the BBC smash-hit thriller ‘Bodyguard’, with a pivotal role at the center of the series which gripped British audiences to the edge of their seats. The show (written by the creator of ‘Line Of Duty’) has since become the most-watched UK drama in a decade, positioning Anjli as a rising star.

After landing her first major TV role a decade ago in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ (CBBC), Anjli has had supporting roles in several television dramas including ‘Cucumber’ (Channel 4), ‘Paranoid’ (Netflix), ‘The Boy with The Topknot’ (BBC Two) and ‘Bancroft’ (ITV).

Anjli is about to star alongside Tom Riley in ITV crime drama ‘Dark Heart’. Alongside this, she will lead the cast with award-winning actor Simon Callow, of BBC Four’s forthcoming ghost story ‘The Dead Room’ – written and directed by Mark Gatiss.

We caught up with Anjli Mohindra to talk about her recent roles as an actress.

AC: Let’s talk about ‘Bodyguard’ – what a twist! Going into it, how much did you know about your character?

ANJLI MOHINDRA: I knew there was a twist – and was told there was more ‘more to her than meets the eye’. I guessed she might be complicit in some way but what I did know from the scripts I had was that some internal police parties were at the heart of it all too.

What do you look for in a script?

A challenge! A layered character who feels three-dimensional and whose intentions aren’t immediately obvious. Or really beautiful and intricate characters who go on an adventure. If I feel a little bit intimidated by the research and preparation involved in bringing the character to life then I know it’s going to stretch me in some way!


You’re also starring in ITV’s ‘Dark Heart’ – what can you tell us about the show?

‘Dark Heart’ follows the journey of Detective Will Wagstaffe as he gets to the bottom of a series of grueling murders happening in London. He’s incredible at his job but he’s really consumed by the mysterious deaths of his own parents when he was a child, and so the three strong women in his life; his partner in (fighting!) crime, his on/off girlfriend and his sister, prop him up in ways he can’t even see, and enable him to fight not only the demons of London, but the ones in his own heart too.

How does your character fit into the story?

I’m his second in command – Detective Josie Chancellor!


Can you tell us about your role in ‘The Dead Room’?

I play Tara Lohia, an ambitious and no-nonsense radio director who wants to crack on with the recording an audiobook to meet a very tight deadline, but much to her annoyance the main actor of the radio drama – Aubrey Judd (played by Simon Callow) is playing up and revelling in his own world and causing havoc. But all is not quite as it seems…

What was it like being directed by Mark Gatiss?

Oh an absolute dream! He’s a wonderful human being and so brilliant at what he does. And I’m a big fan of ‘Sherlock’, so yes it was a real pinch-me moment.

Next year, you have a guest role in DC Comics’ ‘Legends Of Tomorrow’ – is this your first role for American television?

Yes. And I loved every single minute! I don’t want to give too much away but I play a trouble-making true-punk from the sixties and had a Mo Hawk, serious Doc Martens and fishnets.

What kind of stories do you find yourself attracted to?

I’ve never really thought about that! I guess I’m most attracted to stories that bring the unexpected. I also love stories where a character goes on a voyage of discovery and learns things about themselves they never knew existed, because I think it reflects a bit of all of us, in life, as we continue to grow and evolve.

Catch Anjli Mohindra in ‘Dark Heart’, starting October 31 on ITV

PHOTOGRAPHY: MONTANA LOWERY

INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

STYLING: HOLLY OUNSTEAD

MAKEUP: ADELE SANDERSON (FRANK AGENCY)

HAIR: STEFAN BERTIN (FRANK AGENCY)

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AC: This is now the second time you’ve worked with writer Mike Bartlett on a production. What made you want to collaborate with him again?

PRIYANGA: Mike creates stories which are pacey but don’t feel shallow. He writes for men and women with equal depth and complexity. I think any writer worth their salt realises that the days of getting a decent actress to play the bolt-on appendix to the male lead are over. He’s not afraid of contradiction in his characters- people do weird, out of character things sometimes: that’s just humans! That’s a joy for an actor.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about newsrooms?
They’re so quiet!

Do you have an opinion on the rise of fake news? Is it a theme on the show

We’ve got such a massive choice about where we get our news from now. I think it’s just up to the individual to resist the click bait, try and get a variety of perspectives and then make up their own minds. Ideally you don’t want journalists telling you what to think it robs us of our freedom. Realistically though, I don’t know if people feel they’ve got time to think deeply about stuff.

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Amina is the editor of a broadsheet called The Herald. She’s highly principled, passionate and deeply flawed. Her paper’s struggling financially; she’s lonely; she’s fiercely loyal to her staff and she likes opera but hates the elitism of it.
She makes some bad decisions for the good reasons.

You’ve also recently been appearing in ‘A Winter’s Tale’ at The Globe Theatre – does the iconic nature of that stage ever feel overwhelming?

That stage is fast becoming one of my favourites to play. It’s really exposing so yeah- you could be overwhelmed, but it’s thrilling to have such an immediate connection with your audiences. The energy of that place is wild. I love it!

As a writer yourself, have you been working on any scripts between acting?

Yes, I’ve written a drama pilot and I’ve got something else I’m trying to produce.

Do you have a writing process?

Either write or don’t. Don’t sit thinking about writing.

Is there one particular thing that you’re excited about for the future?

I’m just really happy to be able to do the variety of work I’ve been given over the past couple of years. I don’t know what’s coming next…that’s half the fun!

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