Indira Varma: the woman of the genres


Drama, action, crime, history. These are some of the genre that the actress Indira Varma worked in. She has been on “Rome”, “Human Target” and “Luther”, and now she is going to be a part of “Game of Thrones”.

Indira will portray Ellaria Sand, the paramour to Oberyn Martell and the mother of 4 of his 8 kids, the Sand snakes.

Besides the TV show, she is rehearsing the play Titus Andronicus for the Globe theatre, which she is going to play until mid-July.

In a conversation with The Outsider Argentina, Indira spoke about her character of Ellaria Sand in Game of Thrones, her roles on different genres and her new project on the play Titus Andronicus.

How did you start acting?

I think all kids naturally do role play. It helps them understand the world, behaviour and emotions. So I guess I started from the crib. And the school plays and drama groups and then went to Drama school at RADA.

What does the film “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love” mean for your career?

Kama Sutra was my first job out of drama school. It meant that I was thrown into the jaws of the industry immediately. Apart from learning huge amounts about screen acting and the vulnerabilities and powerlessness of being young and female, it probably gave me a calling card. But my calling card was that I was Indian and took my clothes off. (Neither of which I wanted to pursue!)

How did you get the opportunity of being on Game of Thrones?

Game of Thrones came about as I thought. Hey I would love to be in that epic. Auditioned and let’s see…. But I had done ROME for HBO and had previously worked with some of the people.

Have you been watching the show?

I confess that I hadn’t really plugged in to the show properly. But I am in now and hooked.

What can you tell us about your character of Ellaria Sand? What can we expect from her?

Ellaria is the paramour to Oberyn Martell. Free, open, hedonistic Dornishindira varma people. She is the mother of 4 of his 8 kids, the Sand snakes. They love each other passionately. Wait and see…

Do you have a role model to portray the character? Have you read the books before?

I hadn’t read the books. I don’t think she features that significantly in the books but her story may grow. I don’t have a role model for her as yet. She could be a Boudicca type though.

You have been a part of different kinds of TV shows (drama, action, crime, history) such as “Rome”, “Human Target” or “Luther”, what do you like the most about being in different genres? Do you feel that you have any genre left you’d like to be in?

If you are an actor it is a privilege just to work let alone do quality dramas. It’s great fun to try on the different genres. And oddly even if your preference is gritty naturalistic stuff, the joy is in finding truth and humanity in the other genes. I would love to do something a bit swashbuckling with a sword! And some more out there sci-fi and definitely some horror. As long as there is wit it’s fun.

Which other projects do you have for this year?

Currently I am rehearsing the play Titus Andronicus for the Globe theatre, which will play until mid-July. That’s a pretty grizzly story and I am evil in it! I had a fun part in the new Ridley Scott film which should be coming out soon. And then I started Game of thrones proper. Fun!

Samantha Schuster