When asked in 2009, what bugs him, he answered bloggers, bad customer service and unfunny comedians. Nobody would 'read or care about what [bloggers] have to say. Not when [they are] commenting about today's episode of Tyra'. Also, he expects to be treated with respect and professionalism when he is a paying customer and he thinks that, lately, a lot of stand-up comedians are delusional about being funny with nobody telling them differently.
Favorites (Interview 2009)
Favorite books: Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck; The Story of my Experiments with Truth, Gandhi's autobiography; Marlon Brando, by Patricia Bosworth
Favorite movie: On the Waterfront, 1954
Favorite TV shows: Fawlty Towers, Arrested Development
Can't live without: Showers, twice a day
Favorite place to live: London
First album he bought: Nirvana, Unplugged in New York
First album he was given: The Lion King Soundtrack
Celebrity crush: Penelope Cruz
Favorite food: Sushi
Adhir Kalyan had his first acting experiences with theater productions in South Africa. He played in MacBeth, Oliver, A Christmas Carol, and The Ground Beneath Her Feet.
Despite initial skepticism, Adhir Kalyan's portrayal of the Muslim character Raja on Aliens in America was positively evaluated by Muslim advocacy groups in the US. The Hollywood Bureau of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) served as a consultant on the show and awarded the show's creator Zarka Nawaz, a Muslim woman, for being a voice of courage and conscience. Edina Lekovic, spokeswoman for MPAC, stated: "We are hungry for a normal Muslim character."
He speaks a wide variety of languages and is able to possess many accents. His languages include English, French, and Afrikaans and he can adopt accents, such as British, South African, Middle Eastern, Indian, Pakistani, Scottish, French, Australian, and American ones.
Adhir Kalyan: (on his clearest memory from childhood) I was telling my parents a story after dinner. I was 6, dressed in my pyjamas, standing in front of them in our living room. I was describing the emotional state of a character, and I said 'he was so fucking angry.' I froze immediately. (His mother asked him to repeat it and he wouldn't.) I dropped my head, turned around, and went to my room. It was fairly clear story-time was over. That's what Jeffrey said anyway. He was my imaginary friend.
Adhir Kaylan: (in March 2009) Thus far in the States, I have been very fortunate to play a variety of characters, the minority of whom have been Indian characters, the majority, characters who so happen to be Indian.
Adhir Kalyan: (joking about his character in the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop) The only similarity that I do share with Pahud is that he enjoys being in a semi or completely nude state is his apartment and that's the way I choose to spend my time in privacy as well. But not out on the red carpet? No, I mean. And that is not because I feel a need to put on clothing onto my body. It's just that I know that other people aren't quite as comfortable with my nudity as I am.
Adhir Kalyan: (on the challenge of playing Raja, a Muslim character on Aliens in America) I understood that I had a responsibility not just to the character, but to the Muslim community. It was important to understand the core things in his life and to portray him as a complete person, not a stereotype and also not as an absolute saint.
Adhir Kalyan: (on being perceived as a Pakistani Muslim by casting directors) Once they realize that I'm actually a South African with a predominantly British accent, I think it makes them more intrigued to see what else I can do.
Adhir Kalyan: I know there are certain things that I find difficult to do. For example, yawning - I can't get yawning right. Accents are something that I grew up doing a lot of variations of, because South Africa has so many. Growing up watching American and British films, it's always been of great interest to me. The accent was something I was really looking forward to doing and they did provide a vocal coach and we found a happy medium with something that sounds Pakistani.
Adhir Kalyan: I wish I could rattle off stories of cultural shock, but I've been very fortunate to move around a lot in the past year. As a result, I've been in contact with different cultures. Los Angeles is really a melting pot of many of those cultures, so it was a pretty easy transition. There are some things that are a little strange, like the portions of food are ridiculous. It's not necessary for people to eat that much, and it's not even good food. It's unhealthy. I don't understand.
Adhir Kalyan: Growing up in this post-apartheid era, the first generation of teens in South Africa living in this new democracy, I often found myself feeling different. I was often the only person of color in an otherwise all-white school. And within the Indian community, because of my training with an English acting teacher, my accent was very different. And also by the time I auditioned for Aliens in America, the July 7 bombing had happened in London. So I'd had those experiences where I would get onto the Tube, and people would get off. So there was a lot about Raja that I understood.
Adhir Kalyan: If I hadn't left South Africa, I felt I was at risk of being pigeonholed. I looked around and saw actors who, 10 to 15 years into their careers, were still playing stereotypical Afrikaans characters, stereotyped Indian characters. That was not something that I wanted for myself.
Adhir Kalyan: (about Raja, his character on Aliens in America) I think he is an example of a portrayal of a positive Muslim character on the show. But, in addition to all of this, he's also a sixteen year old boy. You know, full of mistakes yet to be made and experiences that he has not yet experienced, but he is certainly a wonderful character to play. (...) Raja's a very sincere, humble human being. He's a selfless young man with a very generous spirit.