Parminder Nagra began acting while studying at Soar Valley College. She later joined Hathi Productions, a local theater company, and later ditched a chance to go to college, preferring to pursue acting in London. She appeared in several Indian theater productions, as well as some television shows, throughout the 1990s.
Nagra's breakout role came in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, earning her fame both in the UK and around the world. After appearing in the Disney film Ella Enchanted, she starred in the NBC medical series ER, where she stayed until the show's cancellation in 2009. She currently stars in the Fox mystery series Alcatraz.
- Bordeaux International Festival of Women in Cinema, Best Actress, 2002 (for Bend It Like Beckham)
- Ethnic Multicultiral Media Award, Best Television Actress, 2004 (for Second Generation)
- Dushmani Jattan Di (1991)
- Park Stories (1999)
- Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
- Ella Enchanted (2004)
- Maya the Indian Princess (voice, 2005)
- In Your Dreams (2008)
- Horrid Henry: The Movie (2011)
- ER (regular, 2003-2009)
- Alcatraz (regular, 2012-present)