Movie Masala

Anupam Kher’s 500th film The Big Sick is with Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani

Written by Shruti Misra

At a time when Bollywood has snapped all ties with Pakistani actor, surprisingly Anupam Kher’s 500th film The Big Sick is with Pakistani-American comedian turned actor, Kumail Nanjiani.

According to Mumbai Mirror, Anupam Kher says he saw Hollywood’s The Big Sick as an opportunity to broaden his horizon as an actor after having worked with the likes of Woody Allen and Robert De Niro.

Anupam got the role of Nanjiani’s father because Nanjiani’s real father was keen on the actor.

Directed by Michael Showalter, The Big Sick is about the real life story of comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who not just features in the lead role but has also penned the film’s screenplay with wife Emily Gordon.

“I loved the idea. Though I had never seen his work, I immediately warmed up to Kumail Nanjiani. And when I got to know I’d get to work with American legends like Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, I felt it was one more opportunity to broaden my horizon as an actor, having worked earlier with the likes of Woody Allen, Ang Lee and Robert de Niro,” Anupam said.

“The Big Sick is a very important film. It talks about racism, xenophobia, cultural isolation and the way Muslims are regarded with suspicion and distrust. And it deals with such serious issues with warmth and laughter. I love it.”

Anupam got the role of Nanjiani’s father because Nanjiani’s real father was keen on the actor.

“Kumail asked his father whom he would like to play him. Apparently, Kumail’s father said my name without a second thought. But Kumail didn’t know how to get in touch with me and there was no time. The shooting was about to begin. Luckily, they got in touch with me through a relative of mine.”

On hearing how keen they were to get him for the role, Anupam personally rang up Nanjiani.

“I rang up Kumail and said I was Anupam Kher. He said, ‘Okay’ and hung up. He thought it was a crank call. I called him again and this time told him it was actually me and offered my services. Within no time it was firmed in.”

The big moment for Kumail’s father was when he visited the shooting to meet Anupam.

“It was just two days before we wrapped up. Since Kumail’s father was so keen that I play him, it was important that we meet. It was a very emotional moment.”

Interestingly, Kumail made only one request.

“Kumail wanted me to grow a French Beard since his father has one. I gladly complied.”

 

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Shruti Misra

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