At 33, he has managed to carve his own niche in the west as Raj Koothrappali in popular TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Actor Kunal Nayyar believes scope for niche Indian actors has widened a lot in international market, and so, they are taking acting a lot more seriously.
"International market has widened scope for Indian actors a lot. We were making movies a lot longer than the rest of the world. The quality of movies coming out of India is fantastic. I think it has opened the eyes of the world regarding the quality of movies and the quality of talent that not only filmmakers and directors but even actors and actresses in India have," Kunal told IANS over phone from US.
"Indians are definitely taking acting a lot more seriously. A lot of change has happened in the past 15 to 20 years, where people from small town, who do not belong to any film backdrop, have got success in the industry. We are on par over the rest of the world when it comes to our talent in making films," he added.
In recent times, a lot of Indian stars including Nimrat Kaur, Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Ali Fazal have made a foray into the international film industry as Kunal says now Indians are being approached for better and meaty roles.
Kunal said: "I’m honoured to be on the number one TV show in US as I play one of the lead characters in it. I feel blessed that I’m working as an actor here, but then I know how difficult it is to crack characters in any industry – Bollywood or Hollywood."
Asked why Indian actors are only approached for character-based roles, Kunal added: "I don’t want myself to get caught up in those sorts of discussions because I don’t have the luxury to do it. I think if I was a huge Bollywood star, I would have understand why it will be tough to leave everything that I’m going through and then move on to Hollywood, though not stuck in the bottom, but have the same brand that I’ve in India. So, it’s something that I haven’t faced yet.
"But, the Indian persona is changing. Here, we have a lot of characters, especially in TV shows where we have an Indian playing the role of an American. So it’s something that has never happened previously."
Apart from The Big Bang Story, Kunal has also appeared in films like Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Scribbler and Dr. Cabbie. He has also been part of TV shows like NCIS, Sullivan & Son. He was even seen hosting The Late Late Show.
Talking about his career graph, he said: "I’m lucky to be working in Hollywood. If I look back and watch some of the things that I’ve done in the past years, I see a long journey with The Big Bang Theory and hosting The Late Late Show — under the lights of David Letterman and Craig Ferguson — it was quite unprecedented for an Indian."