Anjali Bhimani had a passion for performing from a young age, and after earning a degree in theater from Northwestern University, she embarked on a successful career, working with esteemed companies like the Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre among other companies. Anjali’s talent and dedication eventually led her to Broadway, where she joined the cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams. But it is in the gaming industry where Anjali has truly made her mark, lending her voice to memorable characters in popular video games like Overwatch, Fallout 4: Nuka World, Indivisible, Diablo 4, and Apex Legends.
While Anjali’s contributions to the gaming industry are impressive, her talents extend far beyond voice acting. She is now starring in the brand-new series DesiQuest. This high-quality production features an all-South Asian cast, including Jasmine Bhullar, Omar Najam, Sandeep Parikh, and Rekha Shankar. DesiQuest offers a fresh and diverse take on the popular tabletop role-playing game, showcasing the talents of a group of talented performers. She will also be performing in the upcoming series Candela Obscura, the first to use the Critical Role’s “Illuminated Worlds” System. She will be working alongside Robbie Daymond (CR’s Exandria Unlimited), Laura Bailey (The Last of Us), Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us), and Matt Mercer as Game Master.
She discusses with us her experiences in the gaming and film industry and how it impacted her life and career. Let’s see what she has in store for us!
Hello Anjali! Greetings from LADYGUNN! Thanks for being with us today! Is everything going well for you today? What’s new?
Helloooooo! Everything is pretty fantastic around here, I can’t complain. The puppy is happy, work is good, family is healthy and well… and SO much new cool stuff to share!
Could you share a bit about yourself with our audience? What makes you move?
Ahhh, what a great way to ask that question. I’m an actor-author-producer, but really what makes me move is the mission of letting people know they’re not alone in every way I can. Storytelling in every medium is such a wonderful way to connect with people and show them they are seen. I love getting to be a part of creating roles – whether simple everyday humans or full-on superheroes – that people can identify with and then carry the empowerment they feel out into the world. I also love just providing a space for people to experience emotions and catharsis through me and my fellow storytellers – getting to do that in the TTRPG and video game world feels especially powerful, and I’m so grateful to be doing it.
What can you tell us about “Candela Obscura”? Can you tell us about your role in this exciting new series?
This is such a fantastic new game system I can’t wait for people to get their hands on it and dive in. The series itself is divided into chapters that each follow a circle of investigators as they dive into the supernatural events that are happening in their city. My character in Chapter One is Charlotte Eaves, a veteran investigator and proprietress of the Sight Unseen, a tavern in the Red Lamp district of Newfaire. She has a strong connection to another one of the players, Auggie (played by Ashley Johnson) who comes out through the series as well. You’ll just have to watch for more, this is a spoiler-free interview!
You’re a very influential figure in gaming! Can you tell us how you got there?
I loved gaming ever since I was a kid – both video games and tabletop. My brother got me the D&D basic set when I was 8 years old, and we spent many, many hours on the Atari, then the Apple II+, and on and on. Looking back I actually think my passion for storytelling was deeply fed by both. Then, there was a long period I refer to as my “Dark days of gaming” when I thought I had to stop gaming in favor of spending my time doing “more important things” but when I finally came back to the gaming community through Overwatch, then met Matt and Marisha and came back to TTRPG Iive play series, I realized how important gaming had been to me and how much I had missed fueling my creativity in that way for so many years. It’s been so wonderful being able to share my love of games as openly now as opposed to when I was younger and it wasn’t looked upon with the understanding people have now.
I see you recently lent your voice in a secret side quest in Diablo 4. What quest was that? I never saw it (Yes I played D4 lol).
You had to seek her out! I play Izel of the Vizjeriei… not so much a secret but yes a little harder to find than others. The mission is to help restore her from the cursed state you find her in… and again, that’s all I can say because no spoilers!!!
Besides D4, you worked on several other Blizzard games. How was the experience working with them?
I’ve always had a great time in the booth with Blizzard, ever since my very first session as Symmetra working with Andrea Toyias and meeting Michael Chu and Jeff Kaplan as they brought such an epic game to life. I’ll always be grateful to them for bringing a character like Symmetra into my world and the world. She means an awful lot to me and I think to others too.
You also worked in the musical role-playing game “Stray Gods”. First time I heard about that game! What’s it about?
It’s such a wonderful game! It’s a combination of role-playing game, murder mystery, mythological quest, and musical. You play as Grace as she tries to solve a murder that she is being wrongfully accused of by the gods, who in this game, live among us. You’ll meet gods and monsters we’ve all heard of through myths, including mine, Medusa. And yes, we all sing…in fact Troy Baker (who plays Apollo and who also was the voice director for the game) and I are heading to SXSW in Sydney Australia soon to perform songs from the game for their opening night event. I love the game and cast so much it’s just the gift that keeps on giving.
“DesiQuest” is a D&D play with a South Asian cast. Are there any details you can share with us?
DesiQuest is a labor of love that came out of our brilliant DM Jasmine Bhullar’s desire to play at a table with all South Asian players. Historically, D &D has been relatively Eurocentric, and although there have been individual adventures that have come out (especially the brilliant Journeys to the Radiant Citadel last year) we haven’t yet seen a full TTRPG experience where the world reflects South Asian culture. We have an incredible cast – Sandeep Parikh, Omar Najam, Rekha Shankar, Jasmine, and myself – along with some special guests and the story that came out of the world that Jasmine created for us is so wonderful – I can’t wait for people to see it when we launch on November 14 (which also happens to be Diwali, so it’s an auspicious day)!
You also recently played a player character in the new game The Lamplighters League and the Tower at the End of the World. Can you tell us about that?
It’s such a wonderful journey that feels like a classic adventure – like Indiana Jones or The Kingsmen – and the art and gameplay are so much fun! I play Purnima, who is described as “a disarmingly cheerful sniper” and if that isn’t an intriguing paradoxical description I don’t know what is. She’s complex and delightful and I hope that people will not only fall in love with her but all of the characters in the game. It’s another cast of incredible performers and another creative coup that I’m so grateful to be a part of.
You’re also currently in a live play series called Shadowrun: Excommunication. What can you tell us about that?
This show is WONDERFUL and was such a great experience to work on. I had already been champing at the bit for a chance to work with Luis Carazo and Christian Navarro, and when this came up and I knew they were in the cast that was my number one reason for taking the gig. But the game itself became such a unique exploration of humanity that I hadn’t experienced in fantasy live play before because of the darkness of the setting. We had a lot of emotional moments that came out because of the combination of the openness of this cast and the setting being conducive to creating characters who were deeply flawed and doing their best in a set of dismal circumstances. Now that I’ve played it I’m eager to get back to the Shadowrun system again to explore more.
Well, Anjali that’s all the time we have for today. Again, thank you so much for sharing all this with us and our readers. Anything else you would like to add?
Just that I hope everyone gets a chance to experience the joy of storytelling in some way in their lives – whether a TTRPG home game, writing, acting, or just making up fun stories with your friends. There’s a joy to sharing ourselves with each other in that way that I don’t know you can get anywhere else. And it’s a reminder of how connected we all are, which to me, is the most valuable thing.
Photos Kimberly Yatsko
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