A sought-after actress who is well-known for her diverse talent, Neelam Bakshi has appeared in various TV series, films, and animated shorts throughout her career. Hailing from India, Bakshi has a background in dance and theatre, though today she mostly appears in on-screen roles. Some of her recent TV appearances have been on the comedy-drama series Ted Lasso and the BBC crime thriller Better.

Neelam Bakshi

Neelam Bakshi

Bakshi is a client of BBA Management, a London-based talent agency founded by Bronia Buchanan. BBA represents a select list of exceptional actors and creatives in theatre, film and television.

Bakshi shares insights into how she started acting, the support she receives from Bronia Buchanan and the BBA team and her upcoming projects.

Bakshi’s Dance Background

Bakshi started performing at a young age, though her first passion was dance. Bakshi describes how growing up in India she would dance whenever there was music playing. Seeing her talent, her parents entered Bakshi into a dance school where she learnt Indian classical dance.

Around the age of 12, Bakshi was taking on several solo performances and starring in school plays. She got her first professional acting break when she was 14 after a professional company scouted her for a play; several more theatre projects with the same company followed. Bakshi explains that these jobs were opportunities for “a lot of learning.”

When Bakshi’s family moved to a new location for her father’s work they were unable to find a teacher who could help Bakshi progress her talent. 16-year-old Bakshi found herself unsure about what she wanted to do with her future. Continuing to perform in plays, however, she did feel drawn to acting.

When Bakshi moved to the UK in the 1980’s she didn’t pursue acting as a career straight away. “There weren’t that many roles for Indian people at the time,” Bakshi explains. Initially, she didn’t think it would be possible to audition for, let alone secure, any parts.

After receiving encouragement from a friend, Bakshi realised this attitude was “defeatist.” She got in touch with Equity, the British trade union for the performing arts and entertainment industries. Through working on various projects with a British Asian theatre, Bakshi obtained an Equity card which allowed her to land her first agent.

Discovering Bronia Buchanan and BBA Management

In 2010, the agency representing Bakshi was closing down and the actress sought new representation. Her agent at the time suggested alternative agencies to investigate; amongst the names was BBA Management.

Bakshi was aware of BBA’s high profile and good reputation. She also felt the established agency could help progress her career.

BBA called, asking her to come in and meet the team. Bakshi recalls that she “really liked meeting” the agents, describing them as “cordial.” When BBA accepted Bakshi as a client, she felt “delighted.” In the early days, she met the team frequently “just to see where we were at.”

Over 10 years later Bakshi remains a happy client of BBA Management. She describes the agency as “wonderful” and praises Bronia Buchanan and her team for being “very supportive [..]  and extremely professional.” Even though the team is often busy, they still have time for clients.


BBA’s Response to Black Lives Matter and Covid-19 Challenges

Bronia Buchanan and her team impressed Bakshi with their response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid-19 pandemic.

BBA Management represents several Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) actors and creatives. When George Floyd’s death sparked Black Lives Matter, Bronia Buchanan invited her BAME clients to discuss the situation in a virtual meeting.

When the Covid-19 pandemic imposed lockdowns across the UK, Bronia Buchanan organised weekly Zoom calls for BBA’s clients. Every Friday clients had the opportunity to talk to each other and raise any questions with the team.

Bakshi adds that the BBA team worked “so hard” during the Covid-19 pandemic: “There were no ‘we can’ts’… they were really wonderful. I have such admiration for them.”

Covid-19 turned the world and the entertainment industry upside down. Bakshi found the pandemic made travelling for work particularly challenging. She describes the anxiety of waiting for PCR test results before flying to different countries for casting and worrying whether a test would come back positive.

While production companies typically arranged the Covid-19 tests, BBA had to know everything that was going on and the team remained a constant source of support and contact for Bakshi.

She adds that she sometimes contacted the BBA team out of hours via WhatsApp and the agents were “very helpful.”

BBA Management’s Support Through The Casting Process

Bakshi mainly takes on-screen roles these days and has appeared in several films and TV programmes. More often than not BBA will recommend her for suitable roles; “they’re always putting me up for things,” Bakshi shares. “I’m so grateful for that.”

The casting process has become increasingly virtual in the post-pandemic entertainment industry. Bakshi explains that many auditions now take place over Zoom or involve recording a self-tape. Mostly, after receiving a script, she records herself reading the lines. If Bakshi has questions about the role she asks the BBA team for clarification. The team then checks her tape before sending it on to the casting team.

On occasion actors may receive a script that isn’t the best fit for them. Bakshi emphasises that the BBA team is always “very kind” and never pressures her to take on a role that she doesn’t want.

Once a casting director offers Bakshi a role, the BBA team usually helps her look over the proposed contract. Checking the contract ensures her safety and well-being, concerning transportation and on-set treatment, for the duration of the project.

Working On Ted Lasso and Other Projects

According to Bakshi, BBA’s agents are mindful of her acting goals and promote her in “every direction.” BBA Management has helped her secure several of the standout projects of her career. One of these is the Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso (2020-). So far, Bakshi has played the character of Maria Shelley in two episodes of the Emmy-award-winning show.

Bakshi reveals that she loved working with series writer and star Jason Sudeikis: “He is absolutely amazing.” adding that, when giving actors notes, Sudeikis “really gives something of himself.”

Some of Bakshi’s other favourite projects that BBA helped her obtain include Better (2023), Sweetness in the Belly (2019), and Cha (2020); a BAFTA-long-listed animated short.

The actress also enjoyed working on the BAFTA-nominated Azaar (2019). The short film follows a tribe of women as they wait for the men in their lives to return from war. Bakshi describes Azaar as “very female-orientated”, focusing on a close-knit group where women enforce rules that are ultimately “coming from men”.

Bakshi will soon appear in upcoming TV projects like BBC Three’s Juice (set for a summer 2023 release). She also recently travelled to Prague and Italy to shoot a top-secret series that will come out in 2023.

Preparing For Roles and Advice for Young Actors

Bakshi usually approaches roles with an initial idea of how she will portray the character. Her insights either come from her own thoughts about the role or from talks with the director. She describes her approach to preparing for a role as “subliminal.” She’ll draw ideas from her life experiences and other characters she’s seen in film, TV and theatre.

Bakshi finds the opportunity to portray characters who are different from her “exciting”. Overall, she loves the “adrenaline” that comes with acting, and “the idea that you’re doing something totally different”.

Despite this excitement, an acting career can involve many disappointments and setbacks. Bakshi explains that, for all the auditions an actor will sit, they won’t get every part. This can make actors overly self-critical, looking for flaws in their performance.

When she doesn’t get cast for a part, Bakshi shares that, as long as she knows she has done her best, she can accept that the casting decision came down to factors beyond her control. There are multiple reasons why an actor may not succeed at an audition that have nothing to do with their talent. Perhaps they didn’t suit the role or lost out to a more experienced actor.

Bakshi advises those who are just launching their acting careers “not to give up” and to stay hopeful and positive.

About Bronia Buchanan and BBA Management

Established in 2001, BBA Management helps actors and creatives achieve their goals working in theatre, television, and film. The UK talent agency offers complete personal management that covers every aspect of a client’s career. Clients receive comprehensive support and guidance from BBA’s experienced team of agents. As a result, many of these clients land contracts to work on notable television, film, and theatre productions.

Bronia Buchanan is the founder and senior agent of BBA Management. She brings decades of theatre production experience to the agency, having previously worked at Hammersmith Apollo and Apollo Leisure/Barry Clayman Concerts. She was a founding partner of Arden Entertainment LLP. She also founded End of the Pier Productions.

As a producer, Bronia Buchanan is a member of the Society of London Theatre. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Management from the University of Surrey.

Learn more about Bronia Buchanan and BBA Management.