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Hollywood Act With Hasan Minhaj: The Comedian to Write, Produce and Star in the Film ‘For the Culture’

Hollywood Act With Hasan Minhaj: The Comedian to Write, Produce and Star in the Film ‘For the Culture’

  • Minhaj launched his company 186KFilms to produce the feature film with long-time friend and collaborator Prashanth Venkataramanujam.

Hasan Minhaj will produce and star in “For the Culture,” a film he’s scripting for Amazon Studios along with long-time collaborator Prashanth Venkataramanujam. The film will be the first venture of Minhaj’s newly-launched production company, 186KFilms. The comedian, actor and host will serve as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, with Venkataramanujam serving as Chief Content Officer and Tyler Babin as Chief Digital Officer.

Deadline reported that 186K’s first feature, “For the Culture,” “landed with Amazon Studios following an eight-studio bidding war.” The report described it as “a raucous comedy set in the cut-throat world of collegiate Bollywood dance competitions—a vibrant, joyful celebration of Indian-American culture that bridges the gap between Western audiences and those who grew up watching Bollywood films in the U.S. and India.” Rideback’s Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich will produce alongside 186K.

“When we first started our careers, the industry wasn’t looking for people like us,” said Minhaj and Venkataramanujam in a joint statement, according to Deadline. “We were comedians on the fringes playing characters on the margins. But now, our only goal is to bring the margins to the mainstream,” the duo said. “In launching our production company, we want to focus on finding and producing stories that have been deemed culturally irrelevant, but in reality, have massive, universal appeal,” they continued. “There’s a huge audience out there that’s not seeing their experiences, their lives, and their stories on screen in prestige television or studio films. Those are the stories we want to champion.”

Minhaj is currently on the road with his one-man show — “The King’s Jester” — which is touring the country with shows in several cities. He’s best known for his breakout Netflix comedy special Homecoming King and his critically acclaimed political satire show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, which ran on Netflix for six seasons, winning a Peabody, an Emmy, and a Television Academy Honor. 

The Indian American also returned to acting and starred in the second season of Apple TV’s “The Morning Show,” where he plays the role of new UBA anchor Eric Normani. The series tells the story of what goes down behind the scenes of your favorite morning news show, alleging that “the smiling, folksy anchors who greet you every morning aren’t just faking their friendships; they’re backstabbing one another at every turn.” 

He told Decider that his earlier shows — “The Daily Show” and Netflix’s “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” — prepared him for his role in the Apple TV series. “I’ve been playing a fake TV anchor for seven years, so this wasn’t a stretch for me.”

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Additionally, Minhaj will voice the Riddler in “Batman Unburied,” a forthcoming scripted podcast from Spotify in partnership with Warner Bros. and DC Comics. He joins the cast of the superhero thriller from executive producer David S. Goyer, along with Lance Reddick, Toks Olagundoye, John Rhys-Davies and Ashly Burch. Variety reported that Spotify hasn’t provided a release date yet for “Batman Unburied,” announced last fall. “The series is the first project under a multiyear pact inked by the audio streamer with Warner Bros. and DC for narrative scripted podcasts,” the report said. 

Minhaj was the featured speaker at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he roasted President Trump in absentia. In the 2020 election season, Minhaj put his comedy where his mouth is by campaigning for the Biden-Harris ticket, participating in online fundraisers. Minhaj shot into national fame with his stint at the “Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and later with his stand-up special, “Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King,” which was based on his Off-Broadway one-man show.

Venkataramanujam is an Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning writer and producer who currently serves as the director and executive producer of Hasan Minhaj’s one-man show, “The King’s Jester.” He’s best known as the co-creator, head writer, and showrunner of “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” previously serving as a staff writer for the Netflix series “Bill Nye Saves the World,” the head writer for the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner and a producer on Netflix’s “The Fix with Jimmy Carr.”

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