Welcome to the latest in our series of Spotlight on... features, where each week we give focus to one of our hugely talented clients, to give you some insights into their impressive careers to-date.
This week, we're delighted to have caught up with Doctor Who's Sonya Khan herself, the great Bhavnisha Parmar, for an in-depth natter about her start in drama, through her many intriguing and impressive stage & screen ventures, culminating in her being cast in a key recurring role in the iconic, globally-popular & longest-running sci-fi series of all time.
In keeping with The Timelord's life experience belying the years of her appearance, the length & breadth of Bhavnisha's acting career so far is as diverse as it gets; from improv, to drama, to comedy & eventually to the prime time spot on television screens around the globe.
It's crucial for a young actor to demonstrate a range of abilities, so it's always fascinating to consider the ultimate paths that might have been taken should an established talent have elected to focus on one genre rather than another, on stage rather than screen, or on radio, rather than film or television.
One of the many avenues Bhavnisha explored prior to her encounters with the T.A.R.D.I.S. was the live improvisation group Improv Noir, with her fellow rising star contemporaries in Camden, North London. In this bold, but exceedingly loose format, Bhav (as she prefers to go by) was able to conquer many actors' worst nightmare of heading on stage in front of a live audience without a script, relying purely on a gift for spontaneity.
This experience might have provided a step out of their comfort zone for the hardiest of characters; but for the future screen Miss Khan this was just the jumping-off point. For Bhav then embarked on a 180 degree switch from free-form theatre, to an early screen role in the acclaimed short film Aami & Frank (opposite Rise of the Foot Solider film series star Ricci Harnett).
Demonstrating a previously untapped ability to strike an emotional nerve in this challenging and very human story, Bhav's sympathetic social worker role was a clear standout and marked this young new talent as the one to look out for.
From the big screen in a shorter format, Bhav then significantly switched thematic & medium tracks once again to star in the award-winning streamed comedy series Brothers With No Game. Playing one of the very few significant female roles in a series about a group of guys who, as the title suggests, repeatedly prove themselves utterly unsuccessful in attracting members of the opposite sex, it took a deft approach and concerted determination to create a character of note that would ultimately stand out beyond the expected, stereotypical 'token female' role. Miss Parmar achieved this with aplomb, of course, and may well have settled into a recurring turn as her popular character, but other opportunities to diversify continued to blossom.
Initially auditioning for the role of The Doctor's companion Yasmin Khan, Bhav ultimately won the role of Yasmin's feisty, streetwise & brilliantly opinionated kid sister Sonya and couldn't be happier, particularly given her friendship with Yasmin herself Mandip Gill; a strong sisterhood bond which has grown offscreen as well as on. The sign of becoming a fan favourite in an extremely beloved and popular show is when the writers begin to develop and build your role and bring you back. Who fans rightly wanted more, and in the spirit of giving the audience what they want, the series creators wisely elected to feature Sonya in the biggest audience draw of the holiday season; last New Year's double bill Special.
Sonya encompasses many of the qualities Bhav demonstrated in her many previous roles; humour, wit, sensitivity, gusto, fun, innovation and energy, coupled with a fierce intelligence and confident sense of self. The show's many dedicated fans look forward to the character returning on a great many more occasions in the future. Yet, with or without The Timelord's adventures across time and space, Scene Stealer Bhavnisha Parmar seems destined to continue to remain the one to watch out for, for a very long time, and we can't wait to see what happens next...
Bhavnisha can be booked for your (post-lockdown) event through Scene Stealers, and for Voiceover work through firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep those peepers peeled for our next Spotlight on... blog soon!