Kajal Bagwandeen is a South African actress, dancer and model best known for presenting the religious-themed SABC2 magazine show Dharma Moments.
Born and raised in Durban, Kajal attended Ridge Park College, from 1997-2001. She was a class captain for four of her five years at the school, and a prefect in her final year.
After leaving school she studied for a Bcomm Honours degree in accounting, auditing, taxation and managerial finance at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She graduated in 2005.
From 1991-2003, Kajal had classical Kathak and Indian Modern dance training from the Nateshwar Dance Academy in Durban. Although meticulously trained in North Indian classical dance style Kathak, she is also accomplished at modern, hip hop and Bollywood, and Indian folk styles with a hint of contemporary.
Over the years she has worked with the likes of Caroline Smart, Themi Venturas, Flatfoot Dance Company, Ronnie Govender, Jay Pather, Mark Hawkins, Tarun Tahiliani, Christa Schamburger, Anant Singh and Gavin Rajah, among others.
In 2004 Kajal was the first princess in the Miss India SA pageant. She has modeled in numerous campaigns, including Spoornet, McDonalds International and the SABC2 national anthem music video (all in 2003), and was the face of Chalo Cinema in 2006/6.
She was also the lead dancer in Chalo Cinema 3, which aired at the Emperor's Palace in Johannesburg from 27 November - 3 December, 2007.
In 2004 she was one of 12 finalists in the e.tv Backstage Superstar competition.
Bombay Crush, the West End-styled Bollywood musical produced by Anant Singh's Videovision and Sun International, was the turning point for Kajal. She was the lead actress starring opposite Indian TV star Gaurav Chopra and the show ran for over two months at the Sibaya Izulu Theatre.
She then went on to star in several theatre productions, both dramas and musicals, and was a regular actor for Lotus Fm's radio dramas. She was nominated for best newcomer in 2007 in the KZN dance-link awards.
She had a supporting role in Bombay Duck - The Movie (2004), which was released at the Durban International Film Festival in 2006.
Looking for new challenges, Kajal entered the world of television presenting, first with Dharma Moments on SABC2 and then as a finalist in the first Top Billing presenter search.
Soon after she joined the Eastern Mosaic team as their roving presenter, from 2008-2013. She left to focus on new presenting and acting avenues, which included hosting SABC2's Indian lifestyle show, Mela. She also had a guest starring role on the SABC3 drama series Roer Jou Voete, in 2015.
Kajal was the red carpet presenter and a performer at the inaugural SAFTA Awards in Durban (The South Africa India Film and Television Awards).
She has a deep love for film, having a few big screen acting credits to her name. Jozi, directed by Craig Friemond, For Better for Worse (Brightside productions) Echo Beach (Shadowy Meadows) and The Dance (Quizzical Pictures for the NFVF).
She was the National Treasurer for PANSA (the Performing Arts Network of South Africa) and a board member and treasurer of Catalina Unlimited. She is also a KZN speaker for finance literacy inspirational talks with Sanlam.
Kajal's passion for animals sees her assisting rescue organisations where possible and she is an advocate of rescue adoptions. She is an ardent animal lover who enjoys spending time with her family and friends, globe-trotting and fashion, and is a self-confessed foodie.
Kajal was born in Durban, has two younger sisters, is married and has two furry kids.