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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 21 April, 2019

Anjli Mohindra believes her role in the BBC's Bodyguard dismantled a well-worn trope

Spoilers contained within.

THE FINALE OF BBC drama, Bodyguard, aired last night, and if you’ve been anywhere near Twitter today, you’ll know that Jed Mercurio’s series did not fall at the final hurdle.

And while viewers are busy lauding the drama series, its cast are also keen to highlight the show’s cultural impact.

Anjli Mohindra who played Nadia – a Muslim woman we met in the opening scenes of the first episode who we understood to be the submissive wife of a would-be terrorist – says the role did much to turn a well-worn trope on its head.

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Bodyguard episode 6 tonight. Tuning in from Delhi.

A post shared by Anjli (@anjlimohindra) on

Speaking to The Telegraph, the actress, 28, said:

Women are constantly undermined. We have this idea that women who wear hijabs are oppressed and do so not of their own will, and that is something we need to think about and take stock of because that is absolutely not the case.

Indeed, it was the arc of Nadia’s plotline which convinced Anjli to audition for and ultimately accept the role.

Writing for Stylist, she admitted that she anticipated that the role of a Muslim woman would simply contribute to particular stereotypes.

I know I shouldn’t judge – I’m an actor and that involves breathing life into and humanising a character on the page – but I didn’t want to perpetuate the seemingly Islamophobic narrative.

However, the character’s path convinced Anjli that she would be depicting much more than ‘a plot device’.

“Once I clocked the end game, I thought to myself ‘this feels closer to the truth’”, wrote Anjli.

Indeed, the character of Nadia herself addressed the narrative surrounding the Muslim community in one of the final scenes of the show.

“I built all the bombs. You all saw me as a poor, oppressed Muslim woman. I am an engineer. I am a jihadi,” Nadia told authorities.

Anjli said the complexity of her character was a much more authentic depiction than she expected, writing:

The role wasn’t black or white (or even brown) – it was multi-layered and complex. Just like life. 

The actress says the reaction to the six-part series has been ‘overwhelming’.  

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Niamh McClelland

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