Sakina Jaffrey currently stars as White House chief of staff, Linda Vasquez in the Netflix original series House Of Cards directed and produced by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey. House Of Cards, a gripping drama of Washington politics at its most Machiavellian, continues shooting through late 2013. Previous television credits include recurring roles as Dr. Hickman, chief emergency room doctor on NBC’s Third Watch, and Mrs. Chandra Suresh on NBC’s Heroes.
Guest star appearances have included Sex And The City, Law And Order and Suv. Most recently, Sakina played Aasif Mandvi’s wife, Beth Qu’osby, on The Daily Show’s Muslim sitcom, The Qu’osby Show, and Lena Dunham’s gynecologist on the HBO hit GIRLS.
In film, Sakina played Nilma, Kate Hudson’s bat-wielding neighbour in Garry Marshall’s Raising Helen. A performance Roger Friedman called a “comic delight”, Roger Ebert said “channels Ethel Mertz”, and The Boston Globe’s Ty Burr simply said: “I’d like to see a movie about Nilma.” Other films include Jonathan Demme’s The Truth About Charlie and The Manchurian Candidate; Sidney Lumet’s Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead; Shari Berman’s The Nanny Diaries; and Frank Oz’s The Indian In The Cupboard.
Sakina has long been a favourite of independent film, shooting more than two dozen films on four continents. Interview Magazine lauded her breakout performance as the “smoldering home wrecker”, Rosie in Merchant-Ivory’s Cotton Mary. Other favourites include Nisha Ganatra’s award-winning Chutney Popcorn, Sharat Raju’s award-winning American Made, Campbell Scott’s Company Retreat, Emily Hubley’s semi-animated feature The Toe Tactic, and Merchant-Ivory’s Mystic Masseur. She will next appear in Academy-Award-nominated Dutch director, Paula van der Oest’s The Domino Effect, due for release in 2014.
Sakina, the youngest daughter of actors Madhur Jaffrey and Saeed Jaffrey, graduated with high honors from Vassar College with a degree in Chinese language and literature. She is currently writing a solo show, “The Severing Sea,” about our newest immigrants and the spirits they call upon to make it in America.
I had the opportunity to chat with the fabulously talented and down-to-earth Sakina Jaffrey during her visit to Toronto for ANOKHI’s 11th Anniversary event where she was honoured for her illustrious contribution to film & TV. She spoke candidly about her role in the super successful ‘House Of Cards’ series, her opinion on the state of acting for South Asians in Hollywood & her advice on how actors from our community should create their own opportunities rather than wait for them to actualize.