Fusia Interviews Dr. Cabbie’s Kunal Nayyar
“It really gave me a chance to show the world a different side of my acting ability.”
In a departure from his nerdy astrophysicist character, Raj, on TV’s incredibly successful Big Bang Theory, Kunal Nayyar makes the leap to the big screen with the role of wise-cracking and reckless side-kick, Tony, in his first feature film, Dr Cabbie.
Directed by Jean-François Pouliot and co-produced by Bollywood star Salman Khan, Dr. Cabbie is a tale of a newly arrived Indian doctor to Canada (played by Vinay Virmani), who cannot get a job and is forced to become a taxi driver. He becomes a local hero when he converts his taxi into a mobile medical clinic. And of course, hilarity ensues…
“ I came to America from Delhi in 1999. I know what it’s like to be an immigrant. I genuinely liked the script. I thought it was funny.”
Born in London, England, but raised in India, Kunal didn’t even consider acting until he was hard at work on his finance degree at the University of Oregon. He took a few acting classes for fun and soon was hooked. After graduating and writing his own plays he decided to change paths. He applied for and was accepted into the highly prestigious Masters of Fine Arts program at Temple University that only takes on 8 students every 3 years!
“Working with this cast was an incredible experience. I feel like I have made friends for life. I think all actors want to work in an environment where they feel safe. It was a drama-free set and was all about the work, but it was fun. And Toronto is a great city. I did some damage to this city! I apologize to all the bars and restaurants I frequented!”
Dr. Cabbie is Kunal’s first feature film with an almost all Indian cast. It has received rave reviews and promises to be a success for South Asian films. He believes America may not be ready quite yet for an all-Indian sit-com.
“A show needs to be relate-able to all walks of life and all ethnicities. If it is just Indians doing stereo-typical things, then maybe that isn’t too interesting, but if people connect…you could have something.”
Unlike his character Raj on Big Ban Theory, Kunal has no problem with the ladies! In fact he is married to Miss India 2006, Neha Kapu. He tells a story of how they met at a club in Mumbai; he knew who she was and he decided to show off by telling her he was on Big Bang Theory, she just shrugged and said she had no idea who he was! But something obviously impressed her and after (very) long distance dating for over a year they married.
Neha is currently hard at work in LA on her own clothing line. “My wife is incredibly strong and independent and has her own life. She moved to the US at the age of 30. She left everything behind for love. I admire her and thank her for that.”
You can catch Kunal on the big screen in Dr. Cabbie, or on the small screen in Big Bang Theory.