A star in her own right

After seven seasons, Reshma still feels her character has more to unravel
Reshma Shetty, who stars as Divya Katdare in the hit English drama Royal Pains, is one of international television’s first female South Asian series leads. Originally, a graduate of the famed Opera department at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, on stage, Reshma received rave reviews for her performance as Priya in A.R.
Rahman’s/Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams, as well as critical praise for her Off-Broadway debut in Ayub Khan-Din’s Rafta Rafta at the New Group. It was her work on stage that parlayed into her next success as she burst on to the small screen in Royal Pains in 2009, and Reshma continues to play the lead role in the series which has seven critically acclaimed seasons yet.
The series follows Hank Lawson, a young emergency room doctor, who after being wrongly blamed for an important patient’s death, moves to the Hamptons and becomes a reluctant ‘doctor for hire’ to the rich and famous. Reshma Shetty as Divya Katdare, Hank’s physician assistant, joins the team early and is invaluable to Hank. She initially has to keep her medical career a secret from her parents. Forced by her parents into an arranged betrothal to a childhood friend, she has finally broken free of their control and is living on her own. Her character Divya Katdare, is both sharp and empathetic as she struggles with balancing a career and social life.
After seven seasons, Reshma still feels her character has more to unravel. She says, “With Divya, I think of how a character is developed is like the onion being peeled. There are so many layers to her. The writers are not scared to look into them. I mean she’s gone from a really peripheral type of person to kind of just the business mind. So, it’s definitely challenging just because we are going into different characteristics.”
Reshma, who has been one of the most loved faces on English TV, says she was always inclined towards arts, even as a child. But Reshma’s decision to take to the stage was quite a surprise to her parents. She says, “My parents are traditional. They are from a line of doctors. So, that’s kind of all they knew. And, they were scared. I mean they wanted to support me. But, it wasn’t the easiest to sell. It was a bit difficult. But, as I said, they were really great with it. Obviously, now they’re happy about it all. But, still, a doctor being a doctor — it’s a job, too, that people look up to. And, it’s respectable in their eyes. So, it was a hard sell. But, they wanted me to be happy.”
While most Indian actors in the West have tried to change themselves in terms of looks and accents to suit western sensibilities and to land in more ‘relatable’ and lead roles, Shetty fully embraces her ethnicity and makes the most out of it. “You don’t have to mould yourself to anything. Be yourself and find a way to leave your mark in your own way.”
( Source : deccan chronicle )
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