Goldy started her career with Kali theatre group specialising in South Asian Theatre and for her role appearing with Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City 2.
We caught up with her recently to talk about her career so far and her new movie Amar, Akbar & Tony.
FTN: When did you first become interested in an acting career?
GN: With a name like Goldy, what else could I have done? My Mother named me after an actor in India so perhaps unwittingly planted the seed. When I was a teen I saw a production of Oliver and a girl named Shannon Burnett had me wide-eyed and gormless in my seat. I remember thinking “I want to do that”.
After doing some local theatre, I auditioned at a drama school in Toronto (the RADA equivalent) against 700 hopefuls for a class of 20. It was a long shot but in the post arrived a letter of acceptance and I spent the next three years in the transformative throes of Greek tragedies, iambic pentameter and breathing with my diaphragm (didn’t even know I had one).
FTN: You have had an interesting and varied career to date, appearing in both film and television. One of your earliest appearances in television was on the Disney’s Channel’s In a Heartbeat; a brilliantly written show about teenagers volunteering as Emergency Medical Technicians in their schools. What was it like to work on this show as it portrayed youth culture in positive light when compared to other teen shows of the time?
GN: Gosh, so impressed that you know about it. I played an “outside the box” student music teacher and was really excited to have the kudos of Disney on my CV. The kids I worked with were really brainy and would talk in length about their copious castings, travelling to the US for a shoot, etc. And they were only 12! They were like miniature adults. I suppose that’s what made the series popular as it was a departure from the norm at the time. All the other shows seemed to focus on teen angst whereas as In A Heartbeat celebrated the onset of teen life and the quirkiness of its characters.
“All the other shows seemed to focus on teen angst whereas as In A Heartbeat celebrated the onset of teen life and the quirkiness of its characters.”
FTN: You also starred in the British television mini-series The Town, which was well received by both critics and the audience. How did you come by the part of Shireen and were you and the other cast members surprised by the positive reaction to this show?
GN: The Town was truly a gift from the gods… and my agent!
On day one I had a major scene opposite Martin Clunes and everyone was fussing and prancing around him. I hadn’t seen any of his previous work, apart from the advert with the dog, so I wasn’t in awe of him in the same way and I think it worked in my favour as I wasn’t utterly nerve-ridden. When Martin found out I hadn’t seen any of his work he bellowed across the set “where have you been for the last 15 years”. It was good fun.
The Town was written by award-winning writer Mike Bartlett, so I think it was likely to do well, but it surpassed all our expectations as it had the highest viewer rating that week. And… it was the first series that I finally watched Martin Clunes in (she smiles widely at this).
FTN: I mentioned earlier that you had also worked in film, notably the comedy It’s a wonderful Afterlife which starred Mark Addy and Sanjeev Bhaskar. What was it like to work alongside these two well known and much admired talents?
GN: I didn’t realise that Mark Addy was the amazing, wonderful actor in The Full Monty and I wish someone had whispered that in my ear!
I shared a car with him one day and talked in circles about something meaningless and he tried his best to engage and seem interested. Poor guy. He was always quiet on set but exploded with gusto on camera. I had seen Sanjeev in the stage play Art and, of course, the uber famous Good Gracious Me, so understandably I was a bit star struck. Most comedians are either reclusive or sardonic in real life, and Sanjeev was surprisingly funny and delightful even off camera. He also gave me valuable advice about camera acting as I was less experienced than the others.
FTN: You have done a variety of work in comedy, was this something that you have always been interested in and have you performed in comedy clubs as a Stand Up?
GN: I tend to gravitate towards comedy. It gets me through the tribulations of life.
Stand up? I can’t imagine anything more painfully nerve-wrecking than making direct contact with a censorious audience and being yourself. Actors tell stories and stand up comedians tell stories. But actors have a set, props, costumes, other actors and a character to aid them. Comedians don’t. It puts total fright in me just thinking about it. Complete respect for those who do it.
“I didn’t realise that Mark Addy was the amazing, wonderful actor in The Full Monty and I wish someone had whispered that in my ear”
FTN: You have just finished filming the comedy movie Amar, Akbar & Tony. Can you tell us a little bit about this?
GN: It’s about three childhood friends from different religious sects who have a cultural commonality of growing up in West London. They love girls, partying and general badness and then a curve ball of life is thrown their way which tests the foundation of their friendship.
It’s a comedy but with some pointed dark moments. I play Sonia; Amar’s sister who is flirty and feisty. Someone who gives the impression that she’s been around the block. The story lies in a space between post-teens and pre-adult. And the life shifts we experience when the party stops abruptly and we are suddenly catapulted into adulthood.
FTN: You play the character Sonia who, as you said already, is Amar’s sister. Did you have to attend many auditions to get this part?
GN: Fortunately I didn’t have to as I had a meeting with the Director Atul Malhotra who had seen some of my previous work and entrusted me with Sonia without a formal casting. I’m not certain I would have gotten the part if I’d been auditioned. I truly found Sonia on set whilst trying on a few costumes. There was a too too tight short short dress that I tried on (the kind that you couldn’t sit down in) and I remember thinking “Yup, here she is. This is Sonia”.
FTN: Amar, Akbar & Tony is based on the Bollywood comedy Amar, Akbar & Anthony; did you have any input into the writing of your character or was there any improvisation on the set transforming this comedy for a European audience?
GN: Atul had asked for my help with the initial few drafts with regards to fortifying my character and general feedback. Obviously what is firm on paper can change whilst filming and Atul was open to improvising as long as the essence of what he’d written was still intact. Our film is actually a homage to the original and not a re-make. Atul has a 70s style to his film-making; elongated Scorsese shots with a bit of Peter Sellers’ humour, topped with Starksy & Hutch coolness.
“Atul has a 70’s style to his filmmaking. Elongated Scorsese shots with a bit of Peter Sellers’ humour, topped with Starksy & Hutch coolness.”
FTN: Aside form Amar, Akbar & Tony, do you have any other projects that you are currently working on that you can tell us about?
GN: I’m currently filming Red River, directed by Emma Lindley who is on the UK directors to watch list. The film is about a British child bride who is being groomed by her Mother who was also once a child bride. A diversion from the comedy roles but I immediately took a liking to the story and the Director. We often think that such topics are “other country issues” and I was dejected to learn that these things happen on home soil.
FTN: Thanks Goldy, for taking the time to chat with us and we wish you all the best with you new projects.
GN: Thanks Phil…