Anisha Nagarajan

From Bombay Dreams on Broadway to a guest role on ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” Anisha Nagarajan, star of the new NBC comedy “Outsourced,” is using her creative outlets to offset her already outstanding career.



Anisha Nagarajan

Photo by Jeff Xander

It’s Anisha Nagarajan’s lunch break and she’s calling from the set of NBC’s comedy “Outsourced,” now in its first season. Today, the forecast for Los Angeles, where the series films, is sunny and bright as is the future of the show and its rising star.

Nagarajan, 26, plays a shy employee named Madhuri who sells novelties for an American company that has outsourced its order processing to a call center in Mumbai, India. Quiet and on the reserved side, Madhuri doesn’t imitate life: The “Outsourced” star is self-described as driven (she wants to attend culinary school in Paris) and vocal (she has plans for putting out a CD of her own music by the end of this year).

A Squirrel Hill native, Nagarajan grew up in the East End with her family. Her father is a professor at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, her mother is a former developmental specialist at Western Psychiatric Institute and her brother is a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Nagarajan was interested in the arts at an early age and started playing piano when she was 3. When she was only 6, she began taking piano lessons at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill. When Nagarajan was a teenager, her family moved to Fox Chapel.

After her freshman year at Fox Chapel High School, Nagarajan traveled to India with her mother to take care of her grandmother. “It was an amazing experience to live there and experience the culture,” recalls Nagarajan. “I even ended up choreographing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the boarding school I was attending.” After almost a full year in India, Nagarajan returned home to Fox Chapel. Back at her old high school, she auditioned for every musical possible—singing, dancing and acting.

On a recent episode of “Outsourced,” Madhuri tells her boss, “My parents always thought I could do nothing better than work in a factory, but then I got this job. Sometimes parents are wrong.”

Eager to discover if Nagarajan’s own parents thought she could succeed as a singer and actress, she is quick to acknowledge: “My parents were actually right because they believed in my ability to succeed. They were and still are my biggest champions.”

When it came time to apply to college, Nagarajan filled out 17 applications: half for piano and the other half for theater. She also asked her father for his advice about which path to choose. Instead of an answer, he replied with a question: “Would you rather be practicing alone in a room all day long, or do you want to work with a group of people?”

Nagarajan decided on the latter and was accepted at New York University.
 

Q&A with Anisha Nagarajan


During college, what was a highlight for you as an actor?

I was a sophomore at NYU and auditioned for the Broadway musical Bombay Dreams for Andrew Lloyd Webber and A.R. Rahman and landed the lead role as Priya.

Was there an unexpected surprise during your run on Broadway?


During production of Bombay Dreams, I met my husband, actor Aalok Mehta. We quickly became friends and were married in ’05. Neither one of us expected to fall in love.

Another highlight was getting the role of Madhuri on “Outsourced.” Explain.


As I was finishing my B.F.A. at NYU, I auditioned for “Outsourced,” and the next thing I knew, the producers flew me out to L.A. for a test pilot. It was 6 a.m. the following morning when I got the call that I was cast. I moved to L.A. last July.

From Bombay to America. Tell us about being cast on “Ugly Betty.”

It was a small guest role in ’09. I played a coat-check girl at the restaurant [where] America Ferrara’s character, Betty, was eating. My line was: “Plus one?”

Do you visit Pittsburgh often?

Yes, as much as I can. On a recent visit in late December, Aalok and I went to a Steelers game with my father and brother.

Is there a favorite place you like to visit?


I love Bangkok Balcony in Squirrel Hill.

In a recent episode of “Outsourced,” there’s a four-leaf clover hanging in the office. Do you believe in luck?


Absolutely. I’ve always felt that if you believe in luck there’s some kind of hope. If I keep this attitude, things will manifest themselves from a positive outlook.

What’s your future outlook?


I wouldn’t mind opening a restaurant in Paris someday.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

In addition to awarding Best Restaurant honors this year, our Independent Restaurant Review Panel also voted to recognize six chefs for their contributions to Pittsburgh’s culinary community in 2015.
Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

German blends a collage of community activism and soul-searching artistry.
PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

It only takes one person, one jagoff, one childish, attention-seeking, discourteous jerk to send a woo through PNC Park.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Cyclists Say PennDOT's Bike Map a Start, but Could Be Better

Cyclists Say PennDOT's Bike Map a Start, but Could Be Better

The state's new interactive bike map displays the speed limit and traffic flow of state route bike paths.
In the Future: No Driver May Be No Problem for Uber

In the Future: No Driver May Be No Problem for Uber

Pittsburgh is the test track for the ride sharing company's self-driving vehicles.
A Greener Future for the Strip District

A Greener Future for the Strip District

Riverlife moves forward with their ongoing work to build Three Rivers Park, Pittsburgh’s interconnected system of riverfront parks, trails and public open spaces, in the Strip District.
Three Mayors and a PIO Walk into an Elevator…

Three Mayors and a PIO Walk into an Elevator…

Mayor Bill Peduto shares tweets after being stuck in a Westin Hotel elevator.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

In addition to awarding Best Restaurant honors this year, our Independent Restaurant Review Panel also voted to recognize six chefs for their contributions to Pittsburgh’s culinary community in 2015.
Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

German blends a collage of community activism and soul-searching artistry.
PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

It only takes one person, one jagoff, one childish, attention-seeking, discourteous jerk to send a woo through PNC Park.
Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Nearby Canonsburg is a rare find for antiques collectors.
U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

The U.S. Open is returning to Oakmont — and unlike previous tournaments, this one could make the community a vital part of the action.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Cyclists Say PennDOT's Bike Map a Start, but Could Be Better

Cyclists Say PennDOT's Bike Map a Start, but Could Be Better

The state's new interactive bike map displays the speed limit and traffic flow of state route bike paths.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Long-Standing Spoon Chef To Open His Own Eatery

Long-Standing Spoon Chef To Open His Own Eatery

Dave Anoia, the former chef de cuisine at Spoon, will open DiAnoia's Eatery in the Strip District in August.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The quiet rise of Pittsburgh's tea scene gives us a few favorite gems.

Comments


Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

The in-house tavern at the Riverhounds' home stadium is now welcoming guests during weekdays. But is it worth a dedicated stop?

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Crosby’s Long-Awaited Signature has Pens Pondering The Possibilities

Crosby’s Long-Awaited Signature has Pens Pondering The Possibilities

For Sidney Crosby and for the Penguins, happy days are here again. But the emotion of the moment won’t mean much if Crosby and the Penguins aren’t able to build upon it as the series progresses.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Recycled Paper Never Looked So Good

Recycled Paper Never Looked So Good

Whether you’re looking for an original illustration, a cute note card to send a friend or a unique notebook to keep track of your thoughts, Little Alexander’s paper goods offer beautiful locally made options.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Angry Birds Movie Is Just a Total Mess

The Angry Birds Movie Is Just a Total Mess

Plus reviews of "The Nice Guys" and "Neighbors 2," as well as local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Get with the (Wedding) Program

Get with the (Wedding) Program

Have you ever considered making programs for your wedding guests? If not, think again and get creative.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

Spread out across the city for these upcoming events, including a “Tiny House” exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center displayed by the FIY Network.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Pitt Adds New Major

Pitt Adds New Major

The environmental engineering major will be available in the 2016-17 academic year and aims to help students prepare for a changing job market.

Comments