Indian American actress Mindy Kaling will speak Hindi for the very first time in “Ocean’s 8.”
In the heist drama, which releases June 8, Kaling plays the role of Amita, an Indian American jeweler who is recruited by Sandra Bullock’s character for a heist. Apart from Kaling and Bullock, the film also stars Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, and Awkwafina.
At a press conference May 22 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Kaling, according to multiple reports, revealed that she had to learn Hindi to do a scene in the film. She said that although she was born to Indian parents, she had never spoken Hindi and found it “challenging” to learn it.
“I had this idea that the ‘Ocean’s’ movies were just a breezy hangout where George Clooney plays pranks on everyone,” she said. “And this was very challenging for me, because I had to learn Hindi for a scene I had. None of you guys were in the scene, but I had to have a fight with my mother in Hindi.”
Kaling shared in an interview with Parade that she also hired a coach to get the nuances right.
“Although I’m Indian, I was not raised speaking any Indian languages,” she told Parade. “So it was incredibly challenging, and it stressed me out like every night for months before. I got a coach. It’s the hardest thing I ever had to do as an actor – learn another language for a scene.”
The actor also explained that even though her parents are bilingual, she grew up speaking only English.
“My parents are from different parts of India. My mom spoke Bengali and English. My dad spoke Tamil and English,” she said. “When they met each other in Africa, the only language they had in common was English. English was the only language I heard growing up.”