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One Big Win

Mar/02/2024 / by Habibur Shohon

The casting of Ambika Mod in a popular Netflix series is a score for South Asian representation

David Nicholl’s book One Day, originally published in 2009, follows Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew, recent graduates of University of Edinburgh, over the next two decades of their lives. In the novel, Morley is described as having “bottled-red hair,” “pink mottled cheeks,” and “blue and green” eyes, which led to some surprise—and applause—when 29-year-old British-born Indian actress Ambika Mod was cast to play the role in the Netflix adapatation. Since its release last month, its popularity has soared, garnering both critical acclaim and a huge audience of more than 15 million views.

Addressing the dearth of roles for South Asians, particularly women, Mod told the BBC that she is aware that her casting has great significance and meaning in terms of representation in Hollywood. “”Even up until my early 20s, it was something that was quite rare in TV and film,” she said, acknowledging that it’s changing. “I think we’ve still got a long, long way to go.”

“We thought Ambika had all the qualities of Emma but we didn’t want to ignore her heritage either, so she worked very closely with Nicole [Taylor, series creator] and the writers to make sure that it made sense to her, and I think it worked beautifully. —David Nicholls


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