'Bodyguard' Actor Anjli Mohindra Says Nadia Role Was 'Multi-Layered' After Claims Character Added To Stereotypes

Micha Frazer-Carroll

Actor Anjli Mohindra has said her role as bomber Nadia in ‘Bodyguard’ was “multi-layered and complex”, amid criticism the character has added to stereotypes about Muslim people. 

In a personal essay penned for Stylist Magazine, Anjli said also working on the BBC drama had taught her about self-acceptance as an Asian woman, as she discussed racism and feminism within the industry.

Anjli Mohindra played terrorist Nadia on 'Bodyguard'

Speaking about her early experience, she wrote: “I was encouraged to put ‘White’ as my ethnicity on Spotlight, the acting database, because it was the only way to get in the casting room for parts to which I felt closest.”

Noting how it felt strange how her “skin colour has become a national talking point” thanks to her role in ‘Bodyguard’, Anjli revealed she didn’t initially want to play Nadia as she felt the role pushed Islamophobic ideas. 

“My response was simple: ‘I can’t do it’,” she said. 

“I didn’t want to perpetuate the seemingly Islamophobic narrative (something which, when the first episode aired, viewers accused the show of doing).”

She said, however, that after talking to her agent, and finding out what happened at the end, she felt compelled to play the role.

“This character felt real – she wasn’t a plot device. I was able to give her a personal backstory which I then felt compelled to bring to life. The role wasn’t black or white (or even brown) - it was multi-layered and complex. Just like life.”

The revelation in the final episode that Anjli’s character, Nadia, was an engineer behind the bombings received a mixed reception on social media, with many people saying it added to stereotypes about Muslim people.