Pooja Batra (center) on the sets of “One Under the Sun” with producer Sunny Vachher (left) and director Vincent Tran (right). (Pooja Batra/Facebook photo)

India West


Pooja Batra has joined the growing list of Indian actors landing their big break in Hollywood, and the actress says she is happy to see the acceptance of Bollywood actors in the West.

Indian actors Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Nimrat Kaur have made a mark in mainstream Hollywood projects recently.

Batra, 42, who will play the lead in the Hollywood sci-fi film “One Under the Sun,” directed by Vincent Tran and Riyaana Hartley, said the audience is also opening up to Indian actors.

“Indian actors did not get work before, but, in the last four or five years, things have changed, even the audition feature requirements for Indian actors. A lot of Indian actors are booking shows in Hollywood like ‘Quantico’ and ‘Homeland,’ and the audience is accepting that,” Batra told PTI.

The “Virasat” actress, who has settled in Los Angeles for over 10 years now, is excited about her Hollywood debut, in which she plays the role of an astronaut. She is the lone survivor of a failed space expedition, and, when she returns back to Earth to reunite with her terminally ill daughter, she is treated as a fugitive. And in order to prepare for the role, Batra took cues from Indian astronauts Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams in terms of looks and body language.

“It is a very proud moment for me to play a lead in my first Hollywood film. The role was originally written for an African American actress, but, when the makers saw my audition, they changed the script and took me on board.

“It is a great role. In order to prepare for it, I needed a character sketch. So for my physical appearance, I took hints from Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams. I copied their hair, got it cut short, and colored it black,” she said.

The actress said the film will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival besides Comic Con events.

Batra, a former Miss India, bid adieu to Bollywood in 2003 to marry LA-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sonu Ahluwalia but is now divorced.

The actress, who recently made a guest appearance in “ABCD 2,” however, said she is still in touch with all her Indian producers and hopes to star in a Hindi film soon.

“I am on the lookout for interesting projects, but nothing has materialized yet. I am playing a Canadian-Indian politician in a Hindi film, but it is not a mainstream movie like my previous Bollywood films.”

This story was originally published on India West.