Shobna Gulati was honoured with The Sophiya Haque Services to British Television and Film Award 2019.
The seventh University of Salford Asian Media Awards ceremony (October 24) at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate was attended by journalists, bloggers and media professionals from across the UK. The 2019 event was hosted by Dani Sinha of Channel 5 news.
Shobna made her name on Coronation Street playing the role of Sunita Alahan as well as a leading role in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies.
Shobna, an actress and writer, has also appeared on TV in Doctor Who, EastEnders, Loose Women and Celebrity MasterChef, amongst others.
The Sophiya Haque for Services to British Television & Film award is a category named in tribute to the late Coronation Street and stage actress, who died of cancer aged 41 in 2013.
Shobna was presented with the award by Sayera Haque, sister of Sophiya.
In an impassioned speech to the audience Shobna spoke about how the importance of supporting others in the industry in breaking down barriers.
“It is a real honour to be here tonight and it is important to be in a room full of talent.
“Look us all representing. How this award ceremony has grown over the years.
“I am so pleased to be standing here because it has not been easy. And I am sure all us have stories of it not being easy, yet I have been determined and determination does win through at the end.
“What I love about my job now is that we have very many more actors on our screens from a South Asian background and that I celebrate every time I switch on the television.”
Of the award she said, “It feels incredible. When I first found out I thought it wasn’t for me.
“In fact. I said when I was up there, I’m accepting this for all the pioneers, the South Asians that have been on screen.
“There’s not been many, but it’s for all of them that have been there on our journey together, opening those doors.”
This year Shobna Gulati was part of the ‘first ever company of women of colour’ performing Shakespeare on a major UK stage, playing the Duke of York in Richard II.
She also featured on the Netflix and ITV series Paranoid and BBC Scotland’s River City and is the voice of Kari in the CBeebies show Treasure Champs.
Shobna’s theatre endeavours have seen her tour the UK with Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal in Anita & Me. She has acted on stage in many plays including Daisy Pulls It Off, Grease, Mamma Mia and The Vagina Monologues.
Shobna was born and grew up in Oldham. She obtained a degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern politics from Manchester University.
Shobna is a vocal advocate for women’s rights and she campaigns, in particular, for Asian women. Shobna became an integral part of Because I Am A Girl, a charity set up by Plan UK to lobby political leaders to step up the fight against the age and gender-based bias endured by many girls around the world.
Giving back to the community, Shobna is active in helping choreograph local theatre and dance groups, including the Tower Theatre group in East London, helping them stage a play for the Cultural Olympiad, a competition run by the RSC for local theatre groups to stage Shakespeare plays.
Recently, Shobna called for an end to the stigma around dementia.
The actress helps care for her mother, who is suffering from the disease, and wrote about her experiences in a blog for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Shobna endearingly said her mother was “the matriarch of the family and the community” and that “when I had to choose a plus-one for red carpet events, it would always be Mum.”
This year’s Asian Media Awards took place the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Thursday October 24 2019.
The University of Salford were premier sponsors and partners to the event included ITV, MediaCom, M.E.N, & Press Association Training.
The official Charity Partners for 2019 were Mosac & Woman’s Trust.
The event was also supported by Manchester Metropolitan University, Routes Into Languages North West, AMT Lawyers, DKR Accountants, 6G Internet, Hilton Manchester Deansgate, Supreme Dream Events, Payal Events & Cleartwo.