Nida Khurshid Explains How Lata Fits Into ‘The Winchesters’ & Hints at the ‘Big, Big’ Bad

The Winchesters -Nida Khurshid
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The CW

[Warning: The following contains plot points from The Winchesters‘ Season 1, Episode 2, “Teach Your Children Well.” So if you don’t want to be spoiled, go harvest yourself some Jasmine for protection.]

The Winchesters got right back at it for its second episode with Mary (Meg Donnelly), John (Drake Rodger) and the gang going after what seemed to be a shapeshifting creature preying on a hippie commune. Along the way, we got a bit more time with Mary’s demon-hunting posse, including earthy, adorable Latika “Lata” Dar, played by Nida Khurshid.

Here, the fan favorite-in-the-making explains why her newbie hunter is ride-or-die for Mary and shares her excitement with both where Lata may be headed and how she represents a community rarely seen on TV.

The Winchesters -Nida Khurshid + JoJo Fleites + Meg Donnelly + Drake Rodger

Elliot Brasseaux/The CW

OK, so I brought this up at the New York Comic Con panel because I’m concerned about Lata. She’s the hunter-in-training and a lot of times, if you’re really ambitious, that sometimes that leads to trouble.

Nida Khurshid: You are not wrong. A lot of people who are really ambitious, I think, come to this crossroad sometimes about who they want to be in society. And I think that is a question on everyone’s mind regarding Lata because she is a “knowledge is power” sort of human being. But how far will she go with that? I don’t know … yet. [Laughs]

We saw in this episode how Mary does kind of diminish her sometimes. How loyal can she stay to this person who doesn’t appreciate what she does?

Oh, that’s a really interesting point. Lata has come into the Campbell family as another little sister and Mary is really looking out for her and making sure that, you know, “yes, she is in this world, but we really wanna protect her.” And it’s scary out there, what we do. Not only dealing with monsters, but also the metaphoric monsters that we all see in humanity as well. So I think there’s a deep level of care and protection that Mary has towards Lata. I think that’s what we’re seeing right now. But also, I’m sure, you know, Mary knows that for people who come into this world by choice, like Lata, it can be a little bit concerning at times.

Meg Donnelly, Jojo Fleites, and Nida Khurshid in 'The Winchesters'

Matt Miller/The CW

When do we start to find out even more about her backstory and how she became part of the Campbell family?

I think you’re gonna be finding out soon. [Laughs] Without giving away too much, I think in the next few episodes, for sure. I would especially say Episode 3, perhaps we’re gonna get another little glimpse into something about Lata’s history. In every episode, we’re gonna get to know a lot more about each one of our characters, how we met, why we are the way we are, and also how this friendship dynamic works between the four of us.

Oh good! Because we do need to know how these people found each other, even though I love that we meet them already as a team and then John is the one who has to join.

Absolutely. I think it’s a beautiful dynamic that Carlos (JoJo Fleites), Mary, and Lata have, especially since Carlos and Lata have this sibling sort of banter dynamic. And that kind of naturally fell into place. When Jojo and I met, we were like, “Wait a minute, are you my lost sibling?”

And now, you are Pakistani-American, right?

I am! I was born in Pakistan.

So do you get to infuse her with cultural touches as well?

Absolutely. And I have to credit Robbie Thompson for being such an amazing showrunner. You know, he has made Lata both Pakistani and Indian because when the Partition happened in 1947 — when the British left India — that’s when like India became India and Pakistan became Pakistan. Before ’47, we were all one country. And for that reason, we both thought that it would be really powerful to make her both, right? Because that is possible and it also tells the story of what was happening in another part of the world at the same time as Lawrence, Kansas.

So you are getting to be almost like be an emblem of that time for people.

Thank you for saying that. I will take that on with pride.

The Winchesters -Nida Khurshid + JoJo Fleites

Matt Miller/The CW

That’s amazing. And it speaks to the show’s diversity, which is presented without comment. It’s not even a thing here, even though it’s in the ’70s, when it could have been a thing. There’s no prejudices amongst anyone.

Yeah. And I think that’s the beautiful part about where we are right now in Hollywood and the stories that we want to tell. They’re much more inclusive and we’re playing just normal people. Like, I can play a hunter without any questions asked. JoJo can be a beautiful non-binary human being and can play a hunter without any questions asked. I mean, it’s such a beautiful, diverse cast that we have and I just feel so lucky to be a part of this story.

How is shooting in New Orleans?

It’s such a good character in itself! I mean, the energy in this city is on another level.

It is haunted as hell down there!

Oh absolutely. When we’re filming at night, you are scared, yes. But you know, where else would we film?! [Laughs]

And this must have been a hot episode to film because you all were outside a lot. Probably close to the swamps, right?

Yeah. Thankfully, I personally haven’t had to shoot on a swamp but I know Drake has. And the funny thing about swamp life is, and I’m sure he’ll tell you this as well, that they have gator wranglers on set, which is fascinating. And we had a snake wrangler for this outdoor forest-y portion of the show. But it’s interesting sort of combating nature and just rolling with the punches. [Laughs]

It’s like you’re filming a show and competing on Survivor.

Yes. I like that analogy! [Laughs]

OK, now at the end of the episode, there is that great shot of the cloaked figure in the woods and those creatures…when do we find out more about them? Because those things were disturbing!

Well, that makes me happy! We’re doing a good job if you’re disturbed. In every episode, we’re gonna be peeling back little bits and pieces that are going to further explain who they are and what the overall story is that we’re telling. I think the fun thing about our show is, yeah, there are bunches of monsters, but there is like the main one. A big, big one. You just have to watch. [Laughs]

The Winchesters, Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW