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British Indian Actor Kunal Nayyar to Play Lead Role in Gurinder Chadha’s ‘Christmas Karma’

British Indian Actor Kunal Nayyar to Play Lead Role in Gurinder Chadha’s ‘Christmas Karma’

  • The contemporary Bollywood musical set in London, is inspired by Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Actor Kunal Nayyar will lead an ensemble cast in Gurinder Chadha’s “Christmas Karma,” the contemporary Bollywood musical set in London, inspired by Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The “Big Bang Theory” will star alongside “Bridgerton” fame Charithra Chandran, Eva Longoria, Boy George, Billy Porter, British-Kenyan actor Nitin Ganatra, and others. 

Chadha wrote the the script and is producing as well as  directing, with music by Take That alum Gary Barlow alongside Shaznay Lewis and Nitin Sawhney. The film sees her return to the big screen following her time working on the Indian historical television series “Beecham House.” Her last feature film, “Blinded by the Light,” inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen, debuted at Sundance in 2019.

“Just as I have enjoyed Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ for many years, my aim with ‘Christmas Karma’ is to create a festive classic for our times and for generations to come,” she told Deadline, speaking about her new film. “By adapting one of history’s greatest novels, I am making a British Film from my unique, original point of view but one that resonates with Dickens’ masterful statement on the human condition.”

Although no details on the film’s plot are yet available, Nayyar told news outlets that the film will be told “through the eyes of an immigrant.” He continued: “To explore a beloved holiday tale through the eyes of an immigrant story (much like my own) is exactly the kind of movie that I believe will resonate with so many of us who are searching for the meaning of home. It takes a visionary like Gurinder to take a chance on a story like this, and I am humbled to be a part of it.”

Chadha has previously mentioned that while her new film “is close to Dickens’ original themes with the cost of living crisis in Britain,” her Scrooge is “an Indian Tory who hates refugees.” She even spoke about the film with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. And when he asked her not to “make him look bad,” she responded that she didn’t have to do that for him. She had also confessed to have faced struggles to finance “Christmas Karma,” because of its contemporary twist.

Chadha is best known for the films “Bhaji on the Beach” (1993), “Bend It Like Beckham” (2002), “Bride and Prejudice” (2004), “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging” (2008), “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife” (2010), “Viceroy’s House” (2017), and “Blinded by the Light.” (2019). She is also working on her upcoming Disney Princess movie with an Indian lead along with a ‘Bend It Like Beckham ‘sequel.

Nayyar was born in London but grew up in New Delhi, India. His family moved to the U.S. and he only started acting in college to make friends, according to IMDb. After graduating from the University of Portland with a business degree, he pursued an acting MFA at Temple University. He landed his very first TV role just after graduating — the socially awkward scientist Raj Koothrappali on “The Big Bang Theory.” 

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The hit sitcom which ran for a whopping 279 episodes and racked up five consecutive SAG Awards nominations for Outstanding Performance By An Ensemble In A Comedy Series. He also voiced Vijay on the Nickelodeon animated series “Sanjay and Craig.” 

He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2021 British Academy Television Awards for his role in “Criminal: UK,” where he played a convicted serial killer named Sandeep on the Netflix UK production. He appeared in the final episode of Season 2, which was released in August 2020.

In the same year, he joined the cast of the thriller TV series “Suspicion” on Apple TV+, based on the Israeli thriller TV series “False Flag,” alongside Uma Thurman, Elizabeth Henstridge and Elyes Gabel. He also played the title role of A. J. Fikry in the comedy-drama “The Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry,” an adaptation of the best-selling novel by Gabrielle Zevin.

He voice Guy Diamond in the long-running Trolls movie franchise and has a role in the Adam Sandler space drama “Spaceman,” which released in February. He reunited with Big Bang Theory costar, Melissa Rauch, making a guest appearance on an episode of “Night Court,” a reboot of the 80s NBC sitcom of the same name.

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