Amara Karan

Amara Karan – whose life is it anyway?

I imagine this is the exact question Amara thought of asking her Dad when she decided to quit her job as an investment banker and enroll into an acting school. I wonder if she did – it sure enough takes guts.

Amara Karan was born to Sri Lankan Tamil parents, who emigrated to Britain two years before she was born and brought her up in Wimbledon, hoping for a stable and prosperous life for their daughter. Amara went to a good school, studied hard and got into Oxford University to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. It was fairly predictable that she became an investment banker in the City of London.

But at some point Amara found her City “hat” did not suit her; she missed theatre, being on stage, acting in school and university plays. At some point that sensible girl, always following her father’s “high hopes” made a decision many would view as foolish. She applied to study acting at The Arts Educational Schools of London.

Just months after graduating, Amara made her film début in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited. Her other film credits include lead roles in indie productions All in Good Time and A Fantastic Fear of Everything. She starred in such TV series as The Bill, Poirot, Doctor Who and, more recently, Kidnap and Ransom. What’s more, Amara spent 2008 and 2012 seasons with The Royal Shakespeare Company playing Jessica in The Merchant of Venice, Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing.

When I met Amara for lunch, she was very candid about still waiting to make a real breakthrough internationally and winning an Oscar, which is fair enough. I am all in favour of aiming high. But I found her happy, relaxed, genuinely in love with what she does, grateful for all the opportunities she’d had so far both on screen and on stage and having no regrets about her unpredictable schedule, hectic lifestyle and taking that fearless plunge.

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