Cape Town – “Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state. Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started, wait…”
Now, if you can’t finish the rest of that theme song then you need to catch up with The Big Bang Theory and fast. This entertaining yet intelligent sitcom follows the lives of a group of friends just trying to make it in the real world and I got to chat to one of them.
After a couple of rings I finally hear Kunal Nayyar, better known as Raj in Big Bang, on the other side of the line and we start chatting as if I’m just another one of the guys in the lab.
Kunal has revealed in previous interviews that he initially started acting to make friends in college. But I have to know if there was a specific moment he realised this was something he wanted to take more seriously and it’s as though we take a step back in time.
'I told my parents I want to be a professional actor'
"I was in the middle of a play on stage, I don’t know what happened to me, but I had almost like a moment of enlightenment," Kunal starts. "I realised this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life." After walking off stage Kunal’s first instinct was to share his decision with his family and fortunately the news was well received.
"I finished the play and called my parents, who are in India, and I said ‘I’ve decide to be a professional actor’ and they said, ‘okay that’s good, you should follow your dreams and do whatever you want to,’ and from there I got my Masters in acting and that was that."
Raj and Kate Upton?
Fast forward 10 years and Raj has crawled into the hearts of millions of TV fans. But while everyone else is pretty much moving forward in the love department, especially with Sheldon proposing to Amy at the end of season 10, we can’t help but wonder what’s next for the astrophysicist.
Kunal’s first reaction is, "he’s going to date Kate Upton," or at least he wishes he could date the Sports Illustrated model. In all seriousness however, Kunal has no idea where the next season will take Raj but he is certainly looking forward to it.
No prep needed
For someone who appears so comfortable in a role and makes it look so effortless, I ask Kunal how he prepared to portray an astrophysicist. And well, according to him, he didn’t really prep at all.
Astrophysics was actually last on the list. Instead, Kunal concentrated on Raj’s personal qualities as well as "the physical symptoms of pathological shyness and what it means to have selective mutism," as these are real diseases that people, including Raj, face every day.
And speaking of personal virtues, the one quality of Raj that Kunal wishes he had most is "his inherent sweetness," even though I’m pretty convinced he already has that.
The Big Bang family
Big Bang Theory is one of America’s longest running sitcoms and rightfully so. For Kunal, as difficult as it may be to answer, being part of it all has been the greatest experience of his life. "It’s difficult to answer but I can say that to be an actor, to have an opportunity like this, it’s a dream come true. We are all living the dream and we know how lucky we are."
Another hard question for Kunal to answer is which of his cast members he’s closest to. And the truth is… they’re just like one big family. Describing their relationship onset, Kunal says: "Every day we all sit around together, we’re reading the newspaper, we’re having coffee, we’re talking about life, you know, it’s just so easy. What you see onscreen is how it is off screen."
We couldn’t forget to talk about precious little Cinnamon. Just like Raj’s special relationship he has with his furry friend in the show, Kunal shares the same relationship with his own dog, Boba Fett. Of his four-pawed bestie, Kunal gushed: "I absolutely love Boba! I give him lots of kisses on the mouth, I just love him to death!"
I thank Kunal for allowing me to step into his world and just like that my chat with a famous TV star is done. I have unravelled the mystery that hides behind an adorable smile and curly dark hair...
Relive Big Bang Theory moments with reruns on Comedy Central (DStv Channel 122).
Check out the TV times below:
1 to 14 June Monday – Friday at 16:50 and 17:15
15 to 30 June Monday – Friday at 18:30 and 18:55
July: Monday – Friday at 18:30 and 18:55