Sophiya-Haque-2-586x783Sophiya Haque was a former TV presenter who then became an actress. In Kollywood she is best known for her dance performance in “September Madham” song from Mani ratnam‘s “Alaipayuthey“.

She recently passed away after a losing struggle with cancer. She was a great dancer and also a great singer because of which she performed in AR Rahman’s musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Bombay Dreams”. She resided in London where she passed away and her friends and colleagues mourn her death. We pray that she may rest in peace.


MARILYN Monroe, Lady Gaga and Bollywood action star Akshay Kumar all did it – but for most people, changing their names to get ahead in their careers is not always an option.

Some change their names to make it easier to pronounce, but for others, it means the difference between a call for an interview or not.

British Asian actress Sophiya Haque, who stars in a new play in the West End, says changing your name to get a job in showbusiness is “normal”, but has revealed she once changed the colour of her hair to audition as a non-Asian character.

“That’s something that’s happened in show business for years and years, where people have to ‘unethnicise’ their name which may restrict you to certain roles,” Haque told Eastern Eye.

Her comments come as a report published earlier this month from the allparty parliamentary group on race and community said racial bias is still an issue for women from ethnic minorities in getting a job, with some having to change their names to secure interviews.

Although Haque, who was born to an English mother and Bangladeshi father, has never changed her name to audition for a role, she dyed her hair to appear non-Asian. “You do tailor yourself,” she said.

“If I wanted to get a job where I wasn’t playing an Indian, I would change the colour of my hair so I could fool them into thinking I wasn’t Asian. In showbusiness this goes on and it’s normal. Also you have to have a unique name because someone else may already have your name.”

Haque has enjoyed a varied career on stage and on the big screen. She was a singer and a VJ host on MTV India and has starred in West End productions like Bombay Dreams, The Far Pavillions, Wah Wah Girls; TV shows Coronation Street and House of Anubis; Hollywood film Wanted; and dance scenes in Bollywood films like Khoobsurat.

For her latest performance, Haque is set to star in the theatre production Privates on Parade on Monday (10) at the Michael Grandage Company in central London. She plays the only female amongst a group of soldiers in what is described as a dark comedy set against the murderous backdrop of the Malaysian campaign at the end of the Second World War.

Haque is currently moving from Portsmouth, where she grew up, to her new home in Surrey.

“I’m trying to juggle moving a house, building a house and doing a new show. It’s probably been the busiest time I’ve ever had in my life,” she said.

And Haque hopes it stays like that. There was a period when she wasn’t “busy” and out of work for almost two years, leaving her feeling demoralised. “People say I’ve had ‘five lives’ already.

In my rock & roll lifestyle where I was an MTV presenter in India, I didn’t have to think about where’s the next gig because I was employed for 15 years by Warner Brothers and MTV. When that’s all you know, you can’t imagine not being in work,” she explained.

“I’ve never had an agent to bring me in the work. It was not until I came back to this country that I had to start back up again. I had two years of saying to myself: “what happens now?” “After doing The Far Pavillions my agent pushed me for TV and film roles. Thankfully since my role in Corrie, I’ve had regular work… touch wood.”

Alongside Haque, other productions at the Michael Grandage Company star Judi Dench, Ben Wishaw, Daniel Radcliffe, Sheridan Smith, David Walliams and Jude Law. There are over 100,000 tickets being sold for £10.

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