NEXT OF KIN star Kiran Sonia Sawar says she uses acclaimed actress Archie Panjabi as a “template” for acting success.
So landing a role in the new ITV drama series as her screen sister was a dream come true – even if she mightily embarrassed herself during filming.
Archie, star of US series The Good Wife, has won an Emmy and been nominated for a Golden Globe… and Glasgow girl Kiran would love to follow in her footsteps.
“I couldn’t believe my luck when I got the part,” Kiran told iN10.
“As a young Asian actress, Archie is somebody I looked up to as a role model.
“Getting to work with her and to play her sister, was insane.
“The first three times I saw her, I called her by her character name from The Good Wife.
“I was so embarrassed and kept saying how sorry I was.
“I would Google how she got in to the industry and would then try to follow that. She has done a huge variety of things and done things within her culture but has played outside of that as well.
“She has found that balance. I was literally using her as a template as I was living in Glasgow as I really didn’t know how to do it.”
Archie and Pirates Of The Caribbean star Jack Davenport play the leads in the tense drama which continues tomorrow.
It follows super-smart doctor Mona (Archie) and political lobbyist husband Guy (Jack) whose comfortable London life is thrown into turmoil when a bomb goes off in the city on the same day that Mona’s brother is abducted and murdered in Pakistan.
Their lives are further shaken when Mona realises that her other brother’s son has vanished from university and is being linked to both the bombing and the murder of his father.
“Both Archie and Jack were so generous on set,” confides Kiran. “I learned so much from watching them.
“They had so many stories and such a raft of knowledge. I had the best time and it was a pleasure going in every day.”
Kiran is Mona’s quirky and excitable younger sister Ami and she was delighted to get involved in something that has a responsible portrayal of Muslim life.
“In TV and in films there are parts of society that are not represented and when they are, they become the rule and not the exception,” she insists. “This isn’t us representing all Asian families, it’s one family and their experience.
“I hope people will see the repercussions and ramifications of these global events on one family on a day-to-day basis. It’s very much about one family who are just trying to exist in a complicated world.”
Kiran grew up in Pollokshields and was inspired to take up acting after taking up music and drama for her Highers.
But she went to St Andrews University to study marine biology before finally landing a place at drama school in Oxford after graduating.
“I was 17 when I went to uni,” she explains.
“Drama school would have been hard anyway and I don’t think my parents would have let me. They were keen for me to get a degree.
“I’m glad I waited a bit.”
Until now Kiran has been best-known for role in the harrowing BBC drama Murdered By My Father, in which she played the Muslim teenager who was the victim of an honour killing.
She admits it has opened so many doors for her – “it’s the reason I’m talking to you now” – but says it was a tough experience.
“It was only the second thing I’d ever filmed and it was very challenging. I was still learning and the subject matter was horrendous,” she continued.
“I found it difficult as I hadn’t learned to distance myself from what I was doing.
“I was completely invested in the stories and case studies I was reading and the documentaries I was watching, all these stories of young girls. I just wasn’t able to shake it off at the end of the day.”
Next Of Kin, ITV, Monday, 9pm.