Sacha Dhawan: After Outsourced
By Rachna Kapur
September 20, 2011
Actor Sacha Dhawan
After the success of "Outsourced", a workplace comedy series on NBC about an American company’s call center in Mumbai, British actor Sacha Dhawan shares his experiences on the show with Urban Milan readers.
Dhawan played the role of Manmeet on the show which debuted in 2010. Outsourced was the first American show that was based on the South Asian community and featured a large ensemble of South Asian actors. Manmeet's hilarious character on the show had only two interests- American Culture and Women! Through his trials and tribulations the show ended with Manmeet falling in love with an American woman, however the woman did not share the same emotion and ended up hurting Manmeet. Heartbroken, but true to his character, Manmeet realizes there are other women out there and starts going after them!
Dhawan started his acting career at the age of 12, he trained at the Laine-Johnson Theatre School in Manchester, and He attended Aquinas College in Stockport. Dhawan has appeared in a numerous television shows in the United Kingdom. He has had recurring roles in "Weirdsister College" and "Out of Sight". He has also appeared in the mini-series The Last Train, and has guest starring roles on "EastEnders", "Altogether Now", and "City Central".
Dhawan took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to Urban Milan about his experience on "Outsourced", his thoughts about how it ended and what he is currently working on:
UM: Was the cancellation of "Outsourced" a big surprise for yourself?
SD: This is an industry that is full of surprises, and I’ve learnt very early on never to be complacent or take things for granted. OUTSOURCED was an amazing journey for me, and we were fortunate to have done a full season (22 episodes).
UM: Were you worried about portraying Indian stereotypes on the show?
SD: I wanted to do OUTSOURCED because for me, it was one of the first projects I’d done, which WASN’T full of indian stereotypes. This was one of the first shows of its kind with predominantly an indian cast. But that wasn’t what drew me to the project. It was the fact that the ensemble cast were so unique, and different to one another. OUTSOURCED gave me the opportunity to portray a character, not just an ‘indian guy’. The ensemble cast were not representing anything but themselves, and I liked that.
UM: What aspects of the character "Manmeet" have been absorbed into your real personality?
SD: I can be a real ‘stress-head’ at times. I can also be impatient. ‘Manmeet’ is a lot more laid back, and is a real happy-go lucky guy. Playing ‘Manmeet’ for almost a year has made me a lot more ‘chilled’ out; and I’ve learnt that sometimes you just have to sit back, be patient, and let life take its own course.
UM: What did you learn most from playing this character?
SD: This was the first time I’d ever done a comedy for TV! I learnt that in order to make the comedy work, you can’t think about your actions too much. You have to be as instinctive as possible. The real key is to be relaxed, and have as much fun as possible. I guess by playing the role of ‘Manmeet’, it taught me not to take myself to seriously. OUTSOURCED was never a job for me, I enjoyed every minute of it.
UM: Which TV show makes you laugh most?
SD: I’m going to focus on American comedy shows here…the US really know how to make a good comedy. Writing is the key. On OUTSOURCED we had a team of 18 writers! This is unheard of in the UK. I would probably say…’Friends’, and ‘Will and Grace’. I also love a british show called ‘The Inbetweeners’-its hilarious. Sorry that’s more than one….
UM: Which actor on the show did you end up having the strongest friendship with?
SD: I genuinely had strong relationships with all the cast on OUTSOURCED. I remember doing my screen test with Parvesh Cheena back in 2010, and we just hit it off straight away. Even though ‘Toad’ is ‘Manmeet’s’ boss, they have a very strong relationship. By the end of the season, ‘Todd’ is the brother ‘Manmeet’ never had. By the end of filming Ben and I had built exactly that relationship. I have the upmost respect and love for Ben. He’s a great guy.
UM: What's the best and worst celebrity encounter you have had lately?
SD: BEST: Zac Efron
WORST: Vinnie Jones (you might need to look him up)
UM: What's next for you?
SD: I strive to be an actor of versatility. I love playing different characters in different genres. I’m currently in London shooting a new costume drama for the BBC. ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ by Charles Dickens (adapted by Gwyneth Hughes), opposite ‘Matthew Rhys’ (Brothers and Sisters). I look forward to my American fans seeing a totally different side to me. With the great success of ‘Downton Abbey’ in the US, I can confirm that the US channel PBS will be airing ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ sometime in 2012.