Like many other actors who were stereotyped in long-lived sitcoms, Kunal Nayyar aims to move on from ‘The Big Bang Theory’.
Kunal Nayyar played the caricatured Rajesh Koothrappali during the 12-season run of ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Although he has never explicitly complained about the unfair treatment of his character, fans have been vocal about the stagnant character arc of Raj. Nayyar is widely remembered as Raj from the sitcom. However, just like former co-star Kaley Cuoco, he has made up his mind to forget the days of playing Raj Koothrappali by reinventing himself.
- Kunal Nayyar’s dismal days as Raj
- Kunal Nayyar’s reinvention
- Kunal Nayyar aiming for the stars
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
Kunal Nayyar, the sweetheart that he is, has never ridiculed his ‘The Big Bang Theory’ past. In fact, he has tried to defend the underwhelming fate that Raj met in the final season of the show by elaborating it wasn’t “formulaic”. He even tried to console disappointed fans. He mentioned that in the world of characters, Raj’s “adventures are continuing”. This doesn’t negate the fact that his character was mistreated by the sitcom’s makers.
It’s puzzling why the actor didn’t choose to move on from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ before its ending. If we take up the past of Kunal Nayyar’s Raj in the sitcom, it’s evident that he was shown as a highly stereotyped Indian character. He relied on his father for money, was an overprotective brother, wore shabby clothes with his hair oiled and was too nervous to talk to women without getting drunk.
Raj’s character could have been so much more interesting. But the show’s writers resigned him to a sub-character and lost a great opportunity of exploring his potential, despite Kunal Nayyar being in the main cast. While Jim Parsons’ Sheldon got his own spin-off ‘Young Sheldon’, Kunal Nayyar was unfairly manipulated to serve the arcs of other characters as his own story remained motionless.
TAKE TWO FOR KUNAL
After being let down in the past by ‘The Big Bang Theory’, it’s only natural that Kunal Nayyar will attempt to make people forget his role in the sitcom. His journey of reinvention was kickstarted by Season 2 of ‘Criminal: UK’ where he played the suspect Sandeep Singh, a menacing killer. This contrasting role from TBBT’s Raj is not an accident but a well-thought move by Nayyar.
He explained to “Metro” that after ‘The Big Bang Theory’, it became imperative for him “to do something that completely breaks the barrier”. However, this wasn’t the easiest for him as the spectre of Raj Koothrappali did not leave him behind and he found it difficult to forget playing him. Nayyar expressed,
“I still have some mannerisms of Raj. Just as I have some mannerisms of this character, but I wanted to make sure that whatever I did next was like, ‘Wait, who is this? Oh my God. Is that the guy from The Big Bang?!’ as opposed to ‘Oh there’s Raj, playing a killer'”.
Ultimately, Kunal Nayyar’s biggest achievement on ‘Criminal: UK’ was to make fans differentiate between Raj and Sandeep and go, “Wow! They’re so different!”
AIMING FOR THE STARS
While the 40-year-old actor began to move on from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ with the Netflix series, he has not stopped since.
For starters, he has completely revamped his look and compounded his gorgeousness. He recently posted a workout picture on his Instagram in which he is carrying a light beard but a thick moustache, looking like every lady’s dreams — far from the childish clean-shaven Raj of TBBT. He even teased the fans by writing, “Would you recognize me like this on the street?? Hehe. #moooostache #praha”.
Clearly, this was not enough as he has also grabbed a lead role in the upcoming film ‘The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry’. The film is an adaptation of a best-selling novel of the same name by Gabrielle Zevin. Nayyar will play a widowed bookstore owner whose life is thrown into turmoil when his most prized possession is stolen. However, a series of mysterious events drive him into transformation.
‘The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry’ seems like the most compelling film in which he can fully display his craft and play a layered role, unlike before. To add to the excitement of Nayyar’s fans, he will finally venture into space, after playing an astrophysicist in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ in the past. The actor is aiming for the stars with a role in Adam Sandler-starrer sci-fi drama ‘Spaceman’.
Kunal Nayyar will be appearing alongside big names such as Paul Dano and Carey Mulligan in this space adventure film. It might be the perfect thing he needs to move on from ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and chart his own arc as an actor.
What do you think of Kunal Nayyar’s tenure in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and his exciting upcoming projects? Comment below!