'Big Bang Theory' Star Kunal Nayyar on Representation of South Asian Actors on TV
He also discussed his close relationship with actors such as Aziz Ansari, Mindy Kaling and 'Quantico's' Priyanka Chopra and revealed he would "hundred percent" guest star on Ansari's 'Master of None' if asked.
At the Wednesday premiere of his new movie Consumed, The Big Bang Theory's Kunal Nayyar (who plays Raj Koothrappali on the series) talked to The Hollywood Reporter about his thoughts on South Asian characters currently on TV, his show's ninth season and his increasing distaste for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Before the screening, Nayyar voiced his support for shows such as Quantico, The Mindy Project and Master of None, noting that their representation of South Asian actors was "wonderful."
"I love diversity," he said. "America's a wonderful country, but there are people from many ethnicities and political divisions," he continued. "It's really wonderful — not only are they Indian, but they're very talented. I think the focus [should be] on their brilliance, really."
Nayyar, who guest-starred on the season-four premiere of The Mindy Project, also discussed the possibility of working with other prominent South Asian actors. He said he "hundred percent" would want to guest star on Master of None, Aziz Ansari's new show on Netflix (although the show has not yet heard if it will be renewed for a second season).
"I'm friends with them — they've all got me inspired," he said of actors like Ansari, Mindy Kaling and Quantico's Priyanka Chopra. "I'd love to work with anyone who would have me."
On the latest season of Big Bang Theory, Nayyar expressed some sadness on seeing characters Sheldon and Amy, collectively nicknamed "Shamy," break up. "I like seeing them together," he said.
Still, he seemed pleased with how the program has matured. While early on, the CBS darling had a lighter tone, the ensemble of physicists are now older, wiser and more fully developed. Newer episodes still focus on sitcom-level shenanigans, but season-long arcs have also dealt with marriage and children, with the characters now in their late thirties.
"Obviously, the characters have to go on the passage of time," he said. "I think that's a function of us being on the air for so long, is that these characters have to grow, though slowly. But it's really nice, you know, the writers do an incredible job at writing human characters, and we're lucky to be a part of it."
Currently, Nayyar is also working to promote his new film, Consumed, in which he plays a scientist concerned about the possible effects of GMOs in food.
"It's so prevalent, and not a lot of people are talking about it," he said at the premiere. "That's why we act, that's why we create art — to help educate people."