Biography, Awards & Training

Balinder Johal is an award winning film, stage and television actress. Born and raised in India, she is fluent in four languages: English, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu. She has used these languages skillfully and effectively in Hollywood and Canadian TV shows, movies and educational videos.

Her Chaachiji episodes on community related issues, previously on multicultural and vision channels, have been an attempt to bridge the cultural, educational, gender and generational gaps within minority communities and the main stream in general. These highly popular episodes have earned Balinder a lot of respect in her community.

In addition to her work for the camera, Balinder has performed in many English and Punjabi plays. These Punjabi plays have been performed all over Canada and part of United States.

Balinder has done a lot of On–Camera and Off-Camera Voiceovers, Narrations and Storytelling in all these languages.

She has also worked as a Cultural Consultant, a Dialect Coach and a Translator of dialogue (English into Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu) for movies and series.

“Maji’s character, played with such conviction by Balinder Johal, was typical of the victim becoming the victimizer, the woman taking on the role of the abusive patriarchy. Balinder proved her mettle professionally and physically during the shooting of the film. We did seven takes of the shot where Balinder is pushed to the kitchen floor by Preity. It was only after I had OK’d the final shot that Balinder admitted that her wrists were weak. She came into her own when she would do improvisation. She improvised all the dialogues between her and Papaji in the scenes shot in the mall. When Papaji was doing his exercise on the escalator she burst into an impromptu song, taking me by surprise! Sadly, it didn’t make the final cut.”
Deepa Mehta — from mongrelmedia.com press kit notes on working with actors in her feature film Heaven on Earth

Interviews with Balinder Johal

Read the following in-depth interviews with Balinder Johal to learn more about her thoughts on life and her acting career:

Balinder Johal - headshot
Balinder Johal
Balinder Johal with Deepa Mehta
Developing Maaji’s character with Deepa Mehta

Awards

Award Year
Canadian Screen Award Nominee — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role — Beeba Boys 2016
Leo Nominee — Best Performance by a Female in a Feature Length Drama — Beeba Boys 2016
Leo Nominee — Best Performance by a Female in a Short Drama — Subsistence (link) 2012
Leo Nominee — Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Feature Length Drama — Heaven On Earth by Deepa Mehta (link) 2009
Harpal Tiwana Centre for Performing Arts Award (India for Theatre, Film, and TV) 2011
Darpan Magazine — Extraordinary Achievement Award as a South Asian in the Film Industry (link) 2010
Sikhlens: Art and Film Festival — Los Angeles — Creative Focus Award (Screen Actress) 2010
Punjabi Arts Association Of Toronto — Contribution to Punjabi Theatre, Art and Culture 2008
Patiala-Fatehgarh Sahib sports & Cultural Club, Toronto, Canada — Theatre Actress 2007
Punjabi Profile TV Award — Multicultural Channel (for Chaachiji — 80 TV Episodes) 2004
New Vision Entertainment Ltd. (for Lead Role in Pardes Series) 2001
Sikh Society Calgary and Dashmesh Cultural Centre (for Sarhind Di Deewar — Play) 1994
Balinder Johal with Leo Award 2008
Leo Award 2008
Best Performance by a Female
in a Short Drama
Balinder Johal
Sikhlens: Sikh Arts and Film Festival 2010 (LA) Creative Focus Award
(photo by Dalj Brar)

Training

Audition and Scene Study workshops with Casting Directors

  • Sid Kozak, Anne Anderson, Susan Brouse/Barry Lee, Carol Kelsey, Coreen Mayrs, Christian Kaplan (20th Century Fox Theatre), Lindsay Walker, Leslie Swan, Sue Brouse/Melissa Perry, Scott Lairson/Dean Fronk. Drew Wallker and Sean Milliken

Commercial Workshops with Casting Directors

  • Drew Walker and Sean Millikan

Acting Schools and Studios — Audition Technique and Scene Study

  • Actor Works — Anastesia Bandey
  • Studio on the Drive — Aaron Craven
  • Lee Strasberg Institute LA — Theatre and Film — Spring Intensive 2011
  • Private Studio — John Milton Branton, Anastesia Bandey and David Lyle
  • Ivana Chubbuck Studio — Scene Study — Jan-Jun 1998
  • Vancouver Film School — Basic to Master class and Cold Read — 91-98
  • Linda Darlow Workshop (12 weeks) — Film Acting Technique — 1992