Ayesha Dharker

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Ayesha Dharker
Born (1977-03-16) 16 March 1977 (age 40)
Bombay, India
Occupation Actress

Ayesha Dharker (born 16 March 1977[citation needed]) is a British-Indian actress.[1] She is known for her performance in the Tamil film The Terrorist (1997), for which she was awarded Best Artistic Contribution by an Actress at the Cairo International Film Festival and nominated for a National Film Award for Best Actress. She has also appeared in Hollywood films such as Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Outsourced and The Mistress of Spices, television series such as Arabian Nights, the West End and Broadway musical Bombay Dreams.


Ayesha Dharker was born in Bombay,[2] India, the daughter of Imtiaz Dharker, a noted poet, artist and documentary film-maker, and Anil Dharker, a columnist and an ex-editor of Debonair.[3] Her father is from India and her mother, born in Lahore, was brought up in Scotland, United Kingdom.

In May 2010 she married Robert Taylor in St Giles Cripplegate.[4]


Dharker made her screen debut in the 1989 François Villiers film Manika, une vie plus tard. Dharker subsequently went on to star in many American, French and Indian films. She has had many television roles in the UK, particularly in Cutting It and Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee, in which she co-starred with Meera Syal.

In the international award-winning film The Terrorist (1999), she played the lead character Malli, a role that earned her a nomination for the National Film Award for Best Actress in India and the Cairo Film Festival award for Best Artistic Contribution by an Actress.

Her most internationally recognised role came in 2002 when she played Queen Jamillia, the Queen of Naboo, in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Dharker starred in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Bombay Dreams, both in London's West End and on Broadway (2004). She also starred in The Mistress of Spices (2005).

She is currently a recurring cast member of the BBC Asian Network radio serial Silver Street, playing the role of "Ambika"; she has also appeared in the episode "Planet of the Ood" of the long-running BBC sci-fi television series, Doctor Who as Solana Mercurio.

In 2006, she played the role of Asha in the film Outsourced.

In 2008, she played the role of Tara Mandal in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street.[5]

In 2010, she played doctor's wife Kamini Sharma opposite Sanjeev Bhaskar in the BBC's comedy drama series The Indian Doctor.

In 2017, Dharker begun playing Nina Karnik in a returning role on long running BBC drama Holby City.



Year Film Role Notes
1989 Manika, une vie plus tard Manika Kallatil
1992 City of Joy Amrita H. Pal
1997 Saaz Kuhu Vrundavan
1999 Split Wide Open Leela
The Terrorist (Tamil: Theeviravaathi) Malli Cairo International Film Festival Award for Best Artistic Contribution by an Actress
2000 The Mystic Masseur Leela
2002 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones Queen Jamillia
2002 Anita and Me Daljeet Kumar
2005 The Mistress of Spices Hameeda
Colour Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story Dr. Stukeley
2006 Outsourced Asha Bhatawdekar
2007 Loins of Punjab Presents Opama Menon
2010 Red Alert Radhakka


Year Title Role Notes
1991 Misteri della giungla nera, I Young girl
1995 A Mouthful of Sky
2000 Arabian Nights Coral Lips
2001 Doctors Meena Chauhan
2002 Cutting It Sunni Khadir
2003 Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee Chila
Doctors Mina Patel
2005 Waking the Dead Mary Sharman
2008 Doctor Who Solana Mercurio Episode: "Planet of the Ood"
2008–09 Coronation Street Tara Mandal
2010 The Indian Doctor Kamini Sharma
2015 Waterloo Road Yasmeen Khan
2017- Holby City Nina Karnik Regular Role


Year Title Role Notes
2001 The Ramayana Sita Birmingham Rep/Royal National Theatre
2006 Doctor Faustus Mephistophilis Bristol Old Vic
2010 Arabian Nights Shaharazade Royal Shakespeare Company
2010 Disconnect Vidya Royal Court
2015 Othello Emilia Royal Shakespeare Company
2016 A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Play for the Nation Titania Royal Shakespeare Company


  1. ^ Meet Scheherazade Archived 14 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Express India, 1 September 2009
  2. ^ Was officially still known 'Bombay' until changed to ‘Mumbai’ in November 1995
  3. ^ SAWNET: Who's Who: Ayesha Dharker Archived 25 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ WEDDINGSUTRA: Ayesha Dharker's London wedding Archived 3 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Indian actress cast Archived 24 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine. ITV

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