Many may not know this, but the Oscar and BAFTA-winning actor Olivia Colman has definite Indian roots. Specifically, she has Bihari roots, as her great-great-great-grandfather Charles had a wife of Indian descent called Harriot, who hailed from Kishanganj of Bihar. She originated in the 1800s when India was under the control of the East India Company.
This was revealed on the show, Who Do You Think You Are. What’s interesting is that at the start of the series, Olivia is certain that her people have never lived anywhere but Norfolk. But as the show progresses, we see Colman excitedly discovering his Indian connections with unabashed glee. First, the acclaimed actor travels to the English countryside and realizes how scattered his family is. The first links with India spring from there, thanks to his maternal great great great great grandfather Richard Campbell Bazett. Bazett had worked for the East India Company and operated mainly out of London and Calcutta at this time. Upon closer inspection, the actor uncovers Richard’s personal life, and yes, adultery and children born out of wedlock were involved.
Later, we see Olivia embark on a trip to Kishanganj where she receives more detailed information regarding Harriot. At first, both the audience and Olivia are led to believe that the connection is merely residential in nature. However, as the video progresses, it is revealed that Harriot’s father was most likely living with a local woman.
Olivia Colman seems genuinely overwhelmed by this flood of new discoveries about her life and ancestry. There are joyful exclamations and some tears too. At one point in the clip, she is heard saying, “I’m so much more interesting than I thought…I had no idea India played a part in my family.”
Olivia Colman is known for her performances in projects such as Fleabag, Flowers, Broadchurch, The Favourite, The Father, The Lost Daughter and The Crown, among others. She is currently filming the highly anticipated film Wonka with Timothée Chalamet in the lead role. The film is billed as a prequel to the beloved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.