Ok. I'm really happy w this interview in IndiaWest. It's nice when they get things right!

‘Actor. Musician. Geek’: Actress Janina Gavankar
indiawest.com    May 20, 2010 01:26:00 PM 

Her edgy, sensual looks and onscreen wow factor have led actress-singer Janina Gavankar to be cast in compelling roles in hit projects such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Stargate: Atlantis,” Showtime’s “The L Word” and the big screen comedies “Barbershop” and “Barbershop 2: Back in Business.”

Now, she’s got a leading role in ABC’s supernatural series “The Gates,” which will premiere June 20. The show, which will take over the Sunday night time slot currently occupied by “Desperate Housewives,” follows the dark exploits of the denizens of an upscale neighborhood with a peculiarly “haunting” appeal.

“ ‘The Gates’ is a well-to-do gated community where its inhabitants are fairly normal... Except some of them are vampires, werewolves, witches, and other things that go bump in the night,” Gavankar explained to India-West in an e-mail interview.

As she’s done numerous times in her career, Gavankar plays a non-Indian role. “I play Leigh Turner, a cop with a dark secret of her own — don’t think you can figure it out, because it’s simply too crazy!” she said. “Leigh isn’t Indian. I’ve been extremely blessed to have the chance to play a wide variety of characters and ethnicities.”

Gavankar — who describes herself on her Twitter pages as “Actor. Musician.Geek.” — has enjoyed a parallel music career as well. Trained as a pianist, vocalist, and orchestral percussionist, she has performed on the Indian pop circuit and was signed by Universal here in the United States as part of a pop group called Endera. Her Hindi-pop videos can be seen on YouTube.

“I’m right at the end of finishing two very cool musical projects,” she said. “I can’t wait to share them. One is a full length music video and single I’m putting out. It’s dark and sexy. I had a blast doing it. The other thing is a DJ-related project. I’ll be able to talk more about them both very soon. But for now, consider this the official word of warning. Something IS coming!” In her spare time, Gavankar can be found glued to video games. “I’m a gamer for sure,” she told India-West.

“I’m really looking forward to playing all of the sequels that have been stacking up, like Assassins Creed 2, Bioshock 2, Resident Evil 5 and Mass Effect 2. I like to hole myself up and marathon until I complete the game. It’s like my personal reward once I’ve finished a project and right now I’ve got so many darn projects to finish!

“Maybe once ‘The Gates’ is off and running I’ll book a holiday and play till my thumbs fall off.”

Gavankar got noticed in 2003 when she was chosen from a field of more than 600 applicants to be a part of a select group of ethnically diverse actors to be showcased in the ABC Entertainment Television Group’s Casting Project. She also earned a degree in theater performance from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“I started pounding the pavement in college, so I have been extra lucky,” she told India-West. “I’ve always been able to support myself within the arts.”

But asked to define what her “big break” moment was, the actress takes pause.

“The ‘big break’ is an interesting concept. I feel like I’ve had a few, and will hopefully have more,” she explained. “I suppose I consider the first commercial I did, ‘The L Word,’ ‘The Gates,’ and even getting the lead in my high school musical big breaks. All game changers, for sure.

“But really I feel like I’m growing and developing, and every year there is a new amazing role to play or a new character to become. In that sense, every day I get to live this life of art and music and acting, is my big break. Every day.”