​Did you happen to binge on Chris Hemsworth-starrer Extraction this weekend? The action-thriller has been garnering love in India not just for the Indian cast and kinetic cinematography, but for Iranian-born actress Golshifteh Farahani. Extraction delivers exactly what it promised it would – dramatic dialogues and mayhem. In between all the stunts and violence, Hemsworth’s (who plays Tyler Rake in the film) handler and primary contact Nik (aka Golshifteh Farahani) makes an appearance.

Why Nik looks so familiar

Okay, back to Farahani. She is best known in India for her role in Asghar Farhadi’s intriguing psychological drama About Elly (2009). Before playing Nik, the 34-year-old France-based actress portrayed Sarah in an indie set zombie flick called The Night Eats the World. Following the stint of experimenting with new roles, Golshifteh in 2017 played a minor part with Disney for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Caribbean fans might not notice her appearance in the film since she was unrecognizable in the role of sea witch Shansa. In 2016’s drama Paterson, Golshifteh plays Laura, bringing bright energy to the otherwise slow-moving film.

Started as a Child Actor

Hailing from Tehran, Golshifteh was born in a family of theatre artists. She began her acting stint at the age of six and debuted in a film at the age of 14. Golshifteh won the Best Actress award for the film The Pear Tree (1998) in the Fajr film festival, immediately grabbing the spotlight as one of Iranian cinema’s rising new talents.

Her father Behzad Farahani is an actor and screenwriter himself. Fahimeh Rahimnia, her mother, is also an actress and she is motivated by her sister, Shaghayegh Farahani. Golshifteh explored roles internationally, including in the United States and starred in the US remake of the French film The IntouchablesThe Upside, etc.

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She has trained as a musician and toured with underground rock band Kooch which got the first prize at the 2nd Tehran Avenue Underground Rock Festival in 2003.

A controversial actress

Golshifteh’s dream came true when she starred in Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies (2008) with Leonardo DiCaprio, but since then it has been a controversial journey for her. In a French promotional video for the Cesars – French version of the Oscars – she was seen exposing one of her breasts. Later she posed for a nude photoshoot for the French magazine, Egoiste. She now lives in exile between Portugal, Paris and Spain as her home country Iran has banned her.

“The rebellion against injustices, against violence against women, was always there in me. When I was a teenager, I used to shave my hair to be able to walk on the streets without the veil. I didn’t want to give in to the obligation of wearing it,” said Golshifteh in an interview to The Hindu.

“I’m a little bit outlaw and I don’t like control very much, of states, government,” said the actress who has been exiled from her birthplace, Iran.

On her exile, she said in a 2012 statement, “Exile is like death. You cannot understand it until it happens to you. The whole world wants to see you as a victim and they push you to be even more a victim because they see you miserable and they feel good.”

“When I left Iran and moved to Paris, I realised I didn’t need to be rough like a man to be free. I could be a woman with all the qualities of a woman and be free at the same time,” she expressed about her sexuality.

The actress also portrayed a role in Girls of the Sun, calling out how Kurdish female insurgency fighters live under political bureaucracy within the Middle East. It premiered at Cannes, poetically preceded by the Cate Blanchett-led 82-woman red carpet march.

Feature Image credit: MensXP.com

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