Representation Is Reaching A Global Scale: An Interview with Actress Krupa Pattani

Friday 24 January 2020

This week's guest is actress Krupa Pattani, who is known to many of our UK based readers for her feisty role of Farrah on Channel 4's Hollyoaks, and as Shazia in the BBC 1 Hit Show Citizen Khan

Krupa kindly stopped by Into The Script to talk about her creative process, dabbling in the world of improv and the positive changes starting to be seen in equal and diverse representation on screen!

With an acting career spanning 18 years, starring in Casualty, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Citizen Khan, where did this journey start for you? What was that moment that you knew you wanted to be an actress? 

I think it started around when I was 11 or 12, there are a few memories which stand out looking back. I was doing this improvisation in class in Year 6, I remember making people laugh and I thought, this is something.

I still remember the first time I saw Al Pacino sitting in his shed at the bottom of the garden in Scent of a Woman and being completely spellbound.

There was also Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, there’s a monologue she does to Jo Pesci about a deer. I was obsessed with that.

I wanted to be able to do what they were doing. 

Citizen Khan is, at the time, a once in a lifetime sitcom that depicts an authentic Asian family in a positive light. How did you get involved in the show and what impact has Citizen Khan had on the Asian community? What impact did the show have on your career? Did you see the goalposts moving? 

I got the audition through my agent, auditioned and it went from there. 
I think the show definitely made an impact and helped create space for more representation of the Asian community onscreen.

It was on a primetime spot on BBC One, it put Asian talent onscreen, made people laugh and create a dialogue about further representation.

The show absolutely created more opportunities for me as an actress too.  

As well scripted, you have dabbled in improv, what was that experience like for you? How did the opportunity present itself? And would you do anything differently in hindsight or is that the fun of improv? You just don’t know what will happen next? 

My main experience of improvisation was in a show called “Unscripted” where we asked the audience to give us places, scenarios and characters and we improvised comedy from there. 

My friend Danny approached me about the show, he and Louise had booked a theatre for a week and originally planned to do a scripted piece but it had fallen through unexpectedly. So they decided to create an improvised show and we helped them make a show from scratch.

It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve been a part of; terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. People paid for tickets and there were some nights where we definitely wanted the ground to swallow us up but everyone in the audience ended up having a great time.

Literally, no one knew what was going to happen next and that was really fun to be a part of, for the audience and the cast. 

I wouldn’t do anything differently looking back, I remember being so nervous that I turned to my friend Louise and said “I can’t feel my arms” but I made two of the best friends in my life through that job. 

For other actors and writers who would like to experiment with improv, it must be very daunting. What tips can you share to make the experience more enjoyable?

I think it’s great to find a beginners class somewhere and just give it a go and see what you think, maybe just drop in for a taster session.

It is daunting but I found more often than not, everyone is nervous, to begin with and then once you’ve played a few warm-up games and everyone’s been silly in front of each other it becomes a lot less daunting.

Shoot From The Hip is a brilliant improv comedy group, they do great classes and are definitely worth checking out. 

With the announcement of phase 4 in the MCU to include ethic minority superheroes to the franchise; can you articulate what this shift means personally within this industry, and as an audience member feeling heard, and now represented onscreen?

It means so much, I love Marvel films and the world they have created. 

There’s something profound about representation. Marvel have created characters and stories that people know and love, on a global scale and diversifying that to include superheroes from different ethnic backgrounds is going to be very powerful. 

I’m super excited about Ms Marvel and about this next phase in the MCU. As an actress it’s exciting to know that representation is reaching a global scale with a company like Marvel, I think this always has an influence on the rest of the entertainment industry. 

On a personal level, it will be wonderful for kids to grow up watching superheroes that look like them.

Scott Baker is a screenwriter and producer with a passion for the horror genre. Starting with short films, Scott is currently writing two feature lengths with the goal to produce them
independently and start up a Blumhouse like model here in the UK. 

Aside from writing, Scott works with the London Screenwriters’ Festival who will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary in 2020 and is a content writer for Shore Scripts. Scott has also worked with theGreat American PitchFest and promoted “Once Upon A Nightmare” an Edinburgh FringeFestival production written by the Clarkson Twins and Gemma Hurley.

You can find Scott on Instagram and on his Twitter

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