Mouzam Makkar plays an attorney, Loni Kampoor, in The Fix, which premieres on March 18.
If you thought Priyanka Chopra was the only young Indian face on American TV, then you need to know Mouzam Makkar. The Indian American actor and producer is about to announce her arrival as the next most promising Indian face in the American entertainment industry.
Mouzam plays Loni Kampoor, a Deputy District Attorney, in ABC’s new legal drama The Fix. The series makes its season premiere on Monday, March 18, on ABC.
The actor spoke to the American Bazaar about her character in an interview. “I play Loni Kampoor, an unapologetically ambitious Deputy District Attorney,” she said. “When Maya gets brought back to the DA’s office, my boss and Maya’s ex co-prosecutor, Matthew Collier, removes me as the lead prosecutor on the new Sevvy case and gives it to Maya. Angry about the change, I go to great lengths to make things difficult for Maya when the investigation gets underway.”
Those who have been watching American TV may know that this is not exactly Makkar’s first big role. She was seen last year on NBC’s Champions, which was co-created by another Indian American – Mindy Kaling.
The Fix is a legal thriller from ABC studios and O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark. It is co-written by Clark, Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft. The plot follows the professional highs and lows of prosecutor Maya Travis (Robin Tunney), who loses an important case, leading to her downfall in the media. Travis decides to shift from Los Angeles to a quiet neighborhood in Oregon. But 8 years later, she must renew her career from where she left it, as the murderer strikes again. Makka,r as Loni Kampoor, is the Deputy District Attorney and the lead attorney in the murder.
Makkar’s show premieres soon after the audiences have been enjoying Indian comedian Vir Das on Whiskey Cavalier, also on ABC. What may be interesting to note about both Makkar’s and Das’ role is that the brown characters on American TV may slowly be moving away from the stereotypes. While Makkar plays a responsible attorney, Das on Whiskey Cavalier, plays a CIA agent Jai Datta. Both roles are a far cry from the 7-eleven stereotype that haunted South Asians in American entertainment for the longest time.
“I was lucky to grow up in a family that didn’t expect me to follow any particular career track,” Makkar told The American Bazaar. “My dad is a doctor but he always told me to only pursue medicine if I was truly passionate about it.”
Makkar learnt Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dance classes and took classical voice lessons as a kid. She moved to the United States when she was 12. “I started doing plays and musicals from the moment I arrived in America and all through high school and my family was always supportive of that,” she said.
But Makkar also worked successfully as an investment banker before taking acting full time. “I started college with the intention to double major in finance and journalism,” she said. “I chose to be an investment banker – I really enjoyed it, made amazing friends, learned a lot and really thrived in it. But after a while, I knew something was missing. I took some time off to travel overseas and figure out what I really wanted to do. When I came back to America, I started working in private equity but also decided to use my weekends to start taking improv and writing classes at Second City in Chicago. Most of my weekends were split between acting in student films, improvising, and writing sketch comedy – all in the hopes to learn as much as possible, while still being steadily employed, so I could make the most informed decision on whether I should change career paths. I found out quickly that I really wanted to give the arts a legitimate try and it was very difficult to juggle private equity and acting. So, I finally made the decision to leave finance and pursue acting full time.”
With her new series coming up soon, these are exciting times for Makkar, who is also on a celebratory mode on the personal front. Shejust became a mom about a month ago. We are sure between the new babies’ cooing, she would love to see some action on the screen herself!
(This post has been updated.)