Worked With:

Peter Dinklage


Mark Strong


Melissa George


Mark Valley


David Boreanaz


John Barrowman


Vincent D'Onofrio


Kevin McKidd


Armando Riesco


Sharon Stone

Indira Varma Biography


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Birth Name: Indira Varma


Born May 14, 1973, Indira Varma's exotic appearance was the result of her parentage: her father was Indian, while her mother was Swiss-Genoese. Both had met in art school, and married later in life, which resulted in some anxiety when strangers mistook her parents for her grandparents. Her parents also spoke with pronounced accents, which gave Varma her first taste of passive racism. Despite these external problems, her home life was a joyful one, filled with humor and impassioned discussions. The happy tumult contributed in part to Varma's later career in an indirect way: her family was given to gesticulating to make a point in their debates, and the experience inspired her to study mime.

However, her parents were somewhat alarmed by her vocational choice, and requested that she study drama before making any serious efforts towards becoming a mime. Varma enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and graduated in 1995, shortly before making her screen debut in Mira Nair's "Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love" in 1997. The erotic drama cast Varma as the beautiful servant of a haughty princess (Sarita Choudhury) who exacted revenge by making love to her mistress's fiancé. Varma later regretted her decision to participate in the film, which featured fairly explicit sexual scenes that resulted in it being banned in India. "Kama Sutra" also typecast the British-born Varma as an Asian actress, and she played strictly Indian roles in several of her subsequent projects, including the sprawling biopic "Jinnah" (1998), with Christopher Lee as the founder of modern Pakistan, and as Naveen Andrews' flirty sister in Gurinder Chadra's "Bride and Prejudice" (2004). Her turn as a beautiful but greedy wife in a modernized adaptation of "The Canterbury Tales" (BBC One, 2003) earned her solid reviews from the British press.

Thanks to steady work on the English stage and television, Varma was able to rise above her typecasting and play roles that were not largely defined by her heritage. In 2004, she vaulted to international attention with a substantive supporting role on the HBO drama, "Rome." Varma played Niobe, wife of the series' main character, soldier Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd), who hid an illegitimate child from her husband while he criss-crossed Europe with Julius Caesar's army. Upon Vorenus' return to Rome and subsequent induction as a senator, he discovered that the child he believed to be his grandson was in fact a son by Niobe's brother-in-law. Faced with the terrible truth, Niobe committed suicide before her husband's astonished eyes by leaping from a second-story balcony.

Though cancelled after a single season, "Rome's" popularity boosted Varma's profile, and she was soon cast in major television projects like "Torchwood" (BBC One/Two/Three/HD, 2006- ) and "3 lbs" (CBS, 2006- ). In the former, she played Suzie Costello, a duplicitous member of the titular paranormal investigation agency who becomes obsessed with an alien artifact that brought the dead back to life, while the latter was a short-lived but high-profile medical series that marked her American television debut. Varma later segued into guest appearances on Stateside shows like "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC/USA Network, 2001-2010) and "Bones" (Fox, 2005- ).

In 2010, Varma joined the cast of two major television series on both sides of the Atlantic. She played the estranged wife of obsessive police inspector John Luther (Idris Elba) on "Luther," and in America, joined the cast of "Human Target" as Ilsa Pucci, a widowed billionaire who supported the show's elite security company. Pucci was also suggested as a possible love interest for series lead Mark Valley's hired assassin, Christopher Chance.