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Malaysian actress Shiva Kalaiselvan is a rising star in Hollywood

Writer: Heidi Hsia

We hope Shiva can make it big like Michelle Yeoh
We hope Shiva can make it big like Michelle Yeoh

18 Aug - For fans of the hit TV series "New Amsterdam", you would know that a character named Leyla Shinwari has recently joined as a regular on the series. But did you know that Leyla is played by a Malaysian, Shiva Kalaiselvan?


"New Amsterdam" is an American medical drama TV series that premiered in September 2018 in the States. It follows the loves and lives of the doctors of the oldest public hospital in the States called New Amsterdam. The line frequently heard in the show, "How can I help?" is uttered from the lips of the lead protagonist - the charming and likable Dr Max Goodwin (played by Ryan Eggold) who is the hospital's medical director.


Ryan Eggold is Dr Max Goodwin


Shiva is currently based in Manhattan

Shiva joined "New Amsterdam" in Episode 3 of Season 3, and has a recurring role until the final episode of the said season, it being Episode 14. (The season was shortened due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

Shiva plays the role of Leyla Shinwari, a Pakistani doctor who comes to the US to start anew. Leyla was a qualified doctor in Pakistan but having moved to the United States, is not able to practice medicine and has been working as a driver. She first showed up at the New Amsterdam hospital with a passenger and impressed the staff when she was able to make an accurate diagnosis of the patient's condition.

It was subsequently revealed that Leyla was doctor in Pakistan, but does not have a license to practice in the States. She later developed a relationship with Dr Lauren Bloom (played by Janet Montgomery) and moved in with the latter. Encouraged by Lauren, Leyla takes her qualifying medical exams.

Here are some of Shiva's scenes from the show.

Season 4 of "New Amsterdam" will be returning on 21 September 2021.

Before Shiva's role in "New Amsterdam", the Manhattan-based KL actress-producer - who has starred in "Charmed" and "The Originals" - got her first big break in a prominent role in the 2018 series, "Gotham", playing the role of a villain, Leila.


Shiva as Lelia in "Gotham"

Shiva as Katrina in "Charmed"

Aside from these shows, she also has a role in the 2020 movie, "A Nice Girl Like You", and created, wrote and produced "Tuesday Nights", a six-episode web series first released in 2019.

Shiva completed her secondary education in the Assunta Girls School in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia before leaving for further studies in the US. She completed her degree and has worked as an investment banker in the corporate world in Milwaukee, Chicago and London, but eventually followed her dream to become an actress.

With her recent rise to the spotlight, do you think she will be able to go on and reach the heights of Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh with big movie roles?


Cinema Online, 18 August 2021


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