Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Get Ready for Mindy! US Comedy Queen set for British TV

Mindy Kaling, the new darling of American comedy, is set to burst on to British TV screens when her hospital sitcom The Mindy Project starts on E4 later this month.

Kaling, whose full name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam, has been hailed as the new Tina Fey since bursting on to the scene with her role as Kelly Kapoor in the US version of The Office.  

Having joined the program as a writer, Kaling, 33, took on directing and acting roles in the hit satirical show and was nominated for a slew of awards, including Primetime Emmy's.

After leaving The Office in Kaling developed The Mindy Project, which she writes, directs, produces and plays the role of gynaecologist Dr Mindy Lahiri; one of the handful of Indian-Americans to helm a show on America's vast and lucrative prime time TV scene.

Born and raised in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, Chokalingam's architect father Avu is a South Indian Tamil while her mother Swati, a gynaecologist, is of Bengali descent.  

The family had moved to the US from Nigeria just before the arrival of Kaling, who was given the middle name 'Mindy' because her parents reportedly wanted her to have a "cute American name" and were fans of the science fiction sit-com 'Mork and Mindy', one of the few American TV shows to air in Nigeria in the late 1970's.

The academically gifted Kaling attended the Ivy League, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where her career in comedy officially began; she was a member of an improvisational comedy troupe and created a popular comic strip for the University's daily newspaper.

After numerous behind-the-scenes jobs on US TV, Kaling was drafted in as a writer by the producers of The Office in 2004 after she and a friend won praise for a play called 'Matt & Ben', in which she played Ben Affleck.

Kaling hasn't looked back since, particularly for The Mindy Project, which has been acclaimed as a fresh and clever if unconventional take on the genre.

She has received particular praise for not drawing too much on her ethnicity, as programme-makers and actors have wont to do in the past, either for comic purposes or because of limitations on opportunities.

Kaling recently told the New York magazine: "I never want to be called the funniest Indian female comedian that exists."

"I feel like I can go head-to-head with the best white, male comedy writers that are out there. Why would I want to self- categorise myself into a smaller group than I'm able to compete in?"

- Staff Reporter

'The Mindy Project' starts on 28 March on E4



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