Annet Mahendru

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Some biographical details

The Times of India, April 10, 2016

Daughter of an Indian father and Russian mother, Annet Mahendru has played a key role in one of the biggest TV serials running in the US and much of the world -The Americans, a spy thriller set in the Reagan era.


Cast as a Russian spy who gets into a relationship with an FBI agent, her role won rave notices. She tells Chidanand Rajghatta how she stumbled into an acting career while studying international relations at New York University

For readers not familiar with The Americans, let me say it is a brilliant period spy thriller set in the Reagan-era Cold War, and there is a pivotal moment in this week's episode (spoiler alert). Did you know the moment was coming? How are you taking it and what are the implications for your career from here on?

I was waiting for it since my very first episode. It was inevitable. I found out how [I die] in October, and it happened in November. Just as quickly for me as it occurred in the episode itself. It was a heavily emotional time both on and off set. I realized how sad and expendable her life was. People like that, unfortunately and oddly, fortunately, existed and still do. It was a bittersweet parting as I [like Nina] have gained some sort of freedom. I have been blessed to be on the show for four years. Now I have to take these shoes off and put on new ones. I have another special project in the works that I am quite excited about.

How did you come into the role of Nina Sergeevna? When the serial began did you know how the role was going to develop or did the writers develop it week by week?

Adam Arkin [TV actor] called my team and said something along the lines of how great a role this would be for me and that although I was rather unknown he believed I was the only one to play her. Leslee [Feldman, head of cast ing] at Dreamworks taped me, then the crea tors Skyped with us, or should I say interro gated me like they would a real spy , and two sessions later I was on my way to New York for four episodes. Four years later, I am waving goodbye. The wonderful thing about TV is, because it comes like life, you are forced to experience the story week by week and react to what's happening honestly .

How much was your Russian origin a factor in your getting the role?

It helped... A LOT.

Your dad is Indian and your mother Russian.What influence did they have on you in your growing up years?

Growing up in starkly different cultures allowed me to see the world in a unique way .I can identify with all sorts of things. I have to.I read somewhere that you are quite comfort

I read somewhere that you are quite comfortable in your part-Indian heritage, with things like Indian food and Bollywood movies. Is there an active connection to the Indian side of your family?

Yes, I have 40 cousins on my father's side. Very much alive and active!

Has that taken you to India? Are you open to or looking to acting in Indian movies?

My father and I are planning a trip to India together.That's a start. Also I learnt how to read and write Hindi last year. I felt like an illiterate adult that very moment.It's beyond fasc i n at i n g t o read for the first time. I must say it was the coolest thing I've e v e r done.

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