Mahira Kakkar was born in Calcutta, India. She received her early education in Calcutta, India and then shifted to America for her further studies. She was given the name ‘Mahira’ by her grandpa, which is derived from an Urdu word Mahir that means “talented.” She did her schooling at Modern High School for Girls, La Martiniere for Girls. While she was only 10 years old, she developed an interest in the Bolshoi and Kirov ballets in Calcutta, and she barely missed any ballet concert in the city and her parents always supported her in her interests. During her childhood, she aspired to become a ballet dancer, actor, or rockstar. She actively participated in the co-curricular activities in her school. She learnt Bharatanatyam dance and Indian classical music and also won prizes in elocution contests held in school. Later, she received a gold medal in English Literature from Jadavpur University in Kolkata. According to Mahira, this institute helped her to gain experience and knowledge that was beyond books. The Indian Express Soon after this, Mahira addressed The Juilliard School Drama Division in New York City. IMDb Although it wasn’t easy for Mahira to get herself enrolled at The Juilliard School Drama Division, she was confident enough about her skills and while addressing the head of the Department of Drama Division, she said,
You have to take me in. You haven’t seen anything like me yet.”
Harold Guksin was her mentor while she attended The Juilliard School Drama Division. After attending the drama academy, Mahira gradually stepped into regional theatres and television.
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Family & Caste
Mahira belongs to a Hindu family.
Parents & Siblings
Mahira is the daughter of Mira Kakkar.
Relationships, Husband & Children
She is married to John Paul Davis who is also a poet, programmer, author and musician. He is also known to be the author of the book Crown Prince of Rabbits. They are settled in New York.
Mahira began her career with plays, regional theatres, and Television. She has done multiple shows in different countries. She has done a series on Netflix “A Suitable Boy;” playing the role of Mrs Rupa Mehra.
Best actress award at the Napa Valley Film Festival (2013) for the role of ‘Asha’ in Hank and Asha.
- Mahira is considered to be the first person of Indian origin to attend The Juilliard School Drama Division.
- In America, while pursuing her education from The Juilliard School Drama Division, Americans found her name ‘Mahira’ difficult to pronounce, and one of the American actresses ‘Gillian Jacobs’ gave her a name “Mah,” which was considered easier to pronounce than her real name. IMDb
- Mahira loves travelling and exploring different places. She feels a place is best explored by walking. According to her, it is the most exciting & relaxing mode of knowing the place well.
- She is mostly driven by language, humour, and young adult fiction. She has learnt multiple languages such as Afghani, German, French, Cockney, Pakistani, and knows Hindi and Bengali as well.
- Mahira believes,
An actor’s life is filled with insecurity. An actor is auditioned on daily basis and can even get rejected daily. If one can not live with this uncertainty then he must walk away and if one can do it then the sky is the limit. One shall move forward, improve his skills and set his own bar.”
- She loves to read books. Some of her favourites are Mathematics For Human Flourishing by Christopher Jachson, Costumes And Textiles of Royal India by Ritu Kumar, The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay, etc. She is often observed sharing her curiosity about books on the social media platform.
- Mahira is actively associated with DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), a non-profit organisation in the United States. The organisation actively advocates for basic human rights including the right to equality for all.
- She is known for playing some strong women characters in many plays such as Viola in Twelfth Night, Emily Webb in Our Town, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and Irina in Three Sisters.
- Mahira faced racism while pursuing her acting career in America. In an interview, she elaborated this experience and said,
Sometimes, it’s hard to be just the brown girl and not the supermodel brown girl, but nobody said life would be easy. If I get obsessed with ethnic bias issues, where’s the energy to do my work?”
- According to Mahira, while performing a character, she completely absorbs the role and tries to perform the best she can. In an interview, she shared an experience that once during her teenage, to play the role of Marry, she went through a lot of books on motherhood, war- survivors, etc., and locked herself in a room and asked herself a question,
What would be a cause big enough for me to sacrifice the person I value the most?”
So that the character comes out to be natural.
- She has got a tattoo inked on her both arms.
- According to Mahira, she feels proud to be a part of two countries, i.e., India and the United States, and she describes both countries as her home.