Olivia Colman sent waves of shock at the Academy Awards 2019 when she bagged the Oscars for the Best Actress. The British star looked visibly overwhelmed as her name was announced for her role as Queen Anne in ‘The Favourite’.
But did you know that this British actress has a surprising Indian connection? A few months before her Oscar win, a British documentary showed Colman travelling to India to search for her roots. Even though all her life the actress thought that ‘the Colmans have never lived anywhere but Norfolk’, her journey to India had a different tale to tell.
The first Indian connection is revealed through her maternal great-great-great-great grandfather Richard Campbell Bazett, who worked both in London and Kolkata as an employee of the East India Company. In due course of time Colman discovers Bazett’s adultery, children born out of wedlock and another Indian connection through her great-great-great grandfather Charles. He was married to a woman named Harriot who was born in Kishanganj in Bihar during the colonial era.
Once in Kishnaganj, Olivia was determined to discover more about her great-great-great grandmother and visited the former British Club where she found Harriot’s marriage certificate and meticulously kept records. Only then realization dawned upon Olivia Colman that Harriot’s mother was not an English lady and was ‘very probably’ a local lady.
The British documentary shows three or four years old Harriot leaving India after her father’s death. She returns to the country in her twenties where her marriage was cut short by her husband’s untimely death. Harriot married again in 1838 and this time her love was Charles Young Bazett, with whom she had spent many years in India.
Olivia Colman stole the limelight at the Oscars this year as she won over other nominees including Glenn Close, who had been considered a shoo-in for her role in ‘The Wife’, Lady Gaga for ‘A Star Is Born’ and Yalitza Aparicio for ‘Roma’. Branding the moment ‘stressful’ and ‘hilarious’, Colman struggled to speak through tears as she attempted to remember her slew of thank you’s.