- He was active in organizing the South Asian community in support of the Biden-Harris presidential campaign and has co-founded a forum for South Asian artists.
Indian American actor and activist Nik Dodani is among Teen Vogue’s ‘New Hollywood Class of 2022’ honoring actors, artists, directors, and young celebrities “changing how we think about the world and our place in it.” The magazine says those selected “are daring to think about Hollywood differently, challenging the old ways at every turn. It takes guts to reimagine an entrenched system, and they have them in abundance.” This year the magazine has “shifted” its focus “to encompass more of the people involved in making our favorite movies and shows: the actors, yes, but also the writers, directors, and exciting comedic voices.”
Growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, Nik Dodani was involved in community theater. He took something of a detour to study politics in college and later worked on Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign. He also produced a comedy tour called Laughter Trumps Hate for MoveOn.org
In September 2021, Dodani was chosen by the AAPI Victory Alliance and AAPI Victory Fund for its inaugural AAPI Ambassador Program. One of the most-watched emerging talents in the entertainment industry today, the 28-year-old Dallas-born actor co-founded The Salon, a forum for South Asian artists and executives in entertainment to accelerate their creative development in TV and film through community organizing. Last year, Dodani, along with Reena Singh and Rishi Rajani, announced the inaugural Salon Mentorship Program, a year-long program that will connect aspiring South Asian talent to established members of the entertainment industry.
Throughout 2020, Dodani was also active in organizing the South Asian community in support of the Biden/Harris presidential campaign. To kick off the election season, Dodani teamed up with Meena Harris to design and release the “Vote for Aunty” merchandise campaign that celebrated Kamala Harris’ South Asian heritage and raised money for Biden/Harris. He further rallied South Asians from film and TV for a NowThis video to celebrate Harris’ ground-breaking candidacy and to discuss the power of voting, specifically in the South Asian community.
Dodani, who wrote, directed, and produced the video, was joined by other Hollywood heavyweights, boosting the video to become one of the most-watched political spots of the cycle.
Following the success of his first video, Dodani re-teamed with Maya and Meena Harris (Kamala Harris’ sister and niece) to produce and star in a follow-up video to help motivate the South Asian community for the Georgia runoff elections. The video was the first in a series of Georgia voting videos from IMPACT, the Indian American Impact Fund. In addition to directing, Dodani co-wrote the video alongside Meena Harris.
He also rallied fellow entertainers in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, joining efforts to oust former LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey and co-organized a Netflix town hall in support of the #BlackAutisticLivesMatter movement.
Teen Vogue says that while Hollywood is slowly beginning to give diverse talent a real seat at the table, Dodani’s been busy building a table of his own.
The young actor was seen in Universal’s feature adaptation of “Dear Evan Hansen,” based on the Tony Award-winning original stage musical. He plays the quirky and charismatic Zahid on Netflix’s “Atypical” and recurred in season two of Netflix’s “Trinkets.” Before this, he wrapped a series regular role on CBS’ continuation of the award-winning iconic series “Murphy Brown.”
On the film front, Dodani had a starring role in Columbia Picture’s horror “Escape Room” and Netflix’s Alex “Strangelove.” At the start of 2020, Dodani wrapped director Hannah Marks’ sophomore feature, “Mark, Mary & Some Other People,” which will be premiering at Tribeca Film Festival.
“It’s this constant struggle of being so grateful for all the roles I’ve gotten and just so eager to do more, do different things,” the told Teen Vogue. “I mean, I have been America’s sidekick character for so long,” he adds. “I do think the industry is getting more imaginative, but I will say it’s been tough. I’m still getting a lot of auditions for hacker boy, medical student, doctor, nerd, right? I would’ve thought that by now, maybe that would change.”