Love from Austin Film Festival, Project Greenlight (& other stuff)!

It's been a while since I posted any news on here and that's not because I haven't been busy! If you follow me on social media, you already know.  Since my last post in April, I acted in two staged readings directed by Saheem Ali (A Free Man of Color - Broadway).  The first reading was entitled Tsunami, by Tunisian playwright, Jalila Baccar, which went up as a part of the PEN: World Voices: International Play Festival and dealt with the events around the Arab Spring's origins in Tunisia.  I played a reformed rebel fighter who'd lost his brother in the Syrian war.  I got to work with some amazing talent including Kathryn Kates, who plays Larry Bloom's mother on Orange is the New Black.

Next, Saheem asked me to be a part of the first staged reading of a play entitled Bhuta Kala, a NYU MFA Thesis by Nathaniel Shapiro.  This play was super interesting and also dealt with some very heavy material concerning the genocide that swept over Bali during the Communist purge in Indonesia between 1965-66.  The playwright told the story in the tradition of Balinese theater steeped in Hindu myths, but used humor throughout the piece while the dark events unfolded before the audience.  I played a young Communist who gets executed by his one-time classmates who remain loyal to the old guard.

After those two readings, as I alluded to in my last post, I became consumed by revising Dear Brother.  I spent the next two months getting it in shape to submit to a number of competitions. 

The fruit of that labor...I got on a list! Dear Brother wound up in the top 15% of scripts that advanced to the Second Round of the Austin Film Festival Screenplay competition.  Unfortunately, that's where it topped out, but the sheer volume of submissions (close to 7,000) makes that feat somewhat noteworthy.  So I may join fellow screenwriters in Austin come October, we'll see!

Meanwhile, the director of Lily In The Grinder has apparently been busy trying to get on some lists of his own because the film is a PROJECT GREENLIGHT finalist! Right this very moment, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (or probably their interns) are curled up in their PJ's watching my mug on a big projection screen, how wild is that!? 

That's all for now my peoples.  In a few hours, I'll be cloud-hoppin' on my way to a vacation.  Curious as to where? Follow me on twitter and instagram! I need to recharge so I can put out the next hotness I have in store :P




New York premiere of Dear Brother short!

Click through for tickets! 

Click through for tickets! 

If you've known me at all for the past four years or so, you have, at one point or another asked me what I'm working on and, if I held your attention long enough, I eventually got to the part where I described a screenplay that I've poured most of my non-acting free time into- mind, body and soul, titled Dear Brother.

For those that are unfamiliar, the logline: An English born Pakistani boxer, Saleem, fights for his freedom after being wrongfully convicted of planning terrorism.

The script tallied a couple wins at competitions/festivals,  but it needed some more work to really hit all the notes that a powerful story like this ought to.  Well, I've been plugging away at it and luckily, along the way, I met a seasoned and well accomplished screenwriter/Sundance-alum, who believes in the story and has graciously guided me through the most recent round of revisions.  Deep breaths...I am thrilled about this rewrite. 

SO, what better time than now to screen a 3 minute short film adapted from Dear Brother !? I shot this film in response to a competition that a London-based theatre company named Headlong Theatre organized in honor of the 10th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001.  When I found out about the competition, I had exactly three weeks to put the film together. That meant writing it, pre-production (i.e. casting, location scouting, etc.), shooting, and post, condensed into a three-week span, squeezed in between work and other life necessities like food, air and water.  Favors were called in and graciously answered (notably, my brothers; Abhijeet for coming up from New Jersey in spite of the flu, to lend his editing expertise, and Samarjeet for remotely scoring the opening music).  

In the end, we ended up with this short that you can view on my website OR you can come watch it on the BIG(ger) screen on Saturday, April 19th, when it screens as a part of Katra's monthly film series alongside some stellar films including, one starring Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston....!? Yes, I'm not burnin BLUE ICE over here. That's the honest to Jah #TROOF.  So please come out and watch, support, mingle.  Tix available here

Hope to see you all there! If not, you will probably miss out taking pictures with me like this classic one with the cast of Lily In the Grinder which screened on April 1st.  I clearly thought I had to kneel like it was the JV baseball team photo. Go Cougars! (I was next to a flight of stairs OK!?)

Cast and Director photo - David Gregory, Dan Amboyer, moi, and Dir. Michael Morgenstern at the Anthology Film Archives, NYC.  April 1, 2014. Visit Lily In the Grinder's facebook page for more pics and updates on this film!

Catch Me Off-Broadway in 2014 and 2013 wrap up..

Excited to announce that  I've joined the cast of Nivedita Kulkarni's How I Died going up as a part of the Riant Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Play Festival in February! (Feb. 16th to be precise).  Really thrilled to work with Nivedita who's a regular fixture at Upright Citizen's Brigade here in NYC and a talented actor/director. 

2013 RECAP

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FEB - MARCH 2013 - I played "Sidd" in Turhan Calyk's play Ringmaster that was presented as a part of the Kraine Theatre's 2013 FRIGID Theatre Festival in the Lower East Side. 

APRIL- MAY 2013- I got to work with an award-winning young director, Michael Morgenstern, and two really talented actors, David A. Gregory and Dan Amboyer, on Michael's short film, Lily In the Grinder.  Lily is a surrealist piece on the elasticity of time and how we perceive/experience death.  It's in post-production right now so stay tuned for updates! 


JULY-AUGUST 2013 - These two months were packed! First, I got to work on my first New York Fringe Festival show when I joined the cast of Joe Martin's Soundwaves: The Passion of Noor Inayat Khan as Noor's younger brother, "Vilayat".  The true story about an English spy of Indian descent who hailed from a Sufi Muslim family is one of the great stories of the WWII era and I'm so happy I was a part of keeping this legend's tale alive. 

Then, on the heels of Soundwaves closing, I was cast in a short film, BK, by a graduate student from USC, Jay Julian Cohen.  Jay's film is an ode to friendship, Brooklyn, and the cost of following your dreams.  I play "Pardiv", one of three best friends who room together in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and share a crazy night when their cat sneaks out of the apartment.  Had a lot of fun working on this project and pulled a couple of beast all-nighters on the streets of Williamsburg and Bushwick.  The cast and crew were amazing to work with and made some great friends in the process. This one's also in post-production so keep an eye out for updates!  

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OCTOBER-DECEMBER - I got to meet Marci Phillips of ABC Prime-time Casting in New York City thanks to ABC's partnership with South Asians in Media & Marketing Association (SAMMA). I was selected along with 15-20 other South Asian actors from hundreds of submissions to participate in a workshop with Marci on audition techniques for booking series regular roles and it was invaluable! 

I also hit up Los Angeles for Actors' Connection and auditioned for some pretty well known casting directors and agents to let the West Coast know what I have to offer (e.g. Russell Scott who cast Breaking Bad).  This trip was a huge success because two agencies invited me back for interviews and I'm happy to announce that I am on board with  Rogers Orion Talent Agency!  

All this bouncing around and hustling this year must have left an impression on interwebs because a couple of weeks into December I got a call from the newspaper India Abroad to do a piece for their India In New York weekly magazine about my life in New York City as an artist in a segment they call "Desi View". Needless to say I was thrilled to share my story and it's posted on my site if you want to check it out. 


And last but not least, this is the final two months of my film For Flow's run on HBO. I've been spamming my social media feeds about this so one more mention can't hurt right? Go check out For Flow on HBOGo! 

I want to thank all of you, my friends and family for all the support over the years. This journey is just getting started and I have a lot more exciting work to share with you.  



"Soundwaves" opens 8/18 @FringeNYC and...

I just got cast in a new short film! This week is going to be a doozy.  We're in the final week of rehearsals for Soundwaves: The Passion of Noor Inayat Khan  which opens on 8/18 at 7:45pm. See the rest of the schedule and buy tix @ FringeNYC, scrolling down alphabetically under "S".

During the latter part of the week, into the weekend, I will be on set at nights (no sleep till...) starring as one of three friends in the short film BK by Dir. Jay Julian Cohen, an MFA Candidate in film at USC.  I'm super excited to be on board this production b/c the script is funny and the cast & crew are talented folks. I get to show off my comedy chops too so keep an eye out for behind the scenes snaps from the set! 

Thanks for the love ya'll! 



Catch me in "Soundwaves" going up @FringeNYC !

I'm thrilled to announce that I just got cast in an amazing play, Soundwaves: The Passion of Noor Inayat Khan  by Joe Martin, produced by the Bridge Theatre Group.  It was an O'Neill National Playwrights Contest semi-finalist and tells the story of Noor, the daughter of a renowned Indian Sufi preacher who came of age in France just as Nazi Germany began its march into Poland.  

Although she was raised with the Sufi principles of universal love and non-violence (ahimsa ), she and her brother, Vilayat, played by myself, choose to draw a line in the sand and join Great Britain in the fight against Nazi Germany.  Noor joins England's SOE forces (Special Operations Executive) and becomes a spy who is dropped behind enemy lines in France where she would relay vital messages during the war until she was ultimately betrayed by a double-agent.  Meanwhile, Vilayat joins the Navy and becomes a pilot who conducted several sorties and suffered the tragic loss of brothers in arms.  Watch the video below for a snapshot of Noor's life: 

If you can't tell by now, I am ecstatic to be involved in this project. These are the kinds of stories I want to help bring to life and folks like the Bridge Theatre Group need your support to do it.  Please donate to their indiegogo campaign and come see Soundwaves at the NY Fringe Fest (SUN 8/18 @ 7:45; MON 8/19 @ 4:15; THU 8/22 @ 2; FRI 8/23 @ 9; SUN 8/25 @ 3)

 - As always Thank You for the love :) 


I'm On The Internets!

I'm going live with my website! Finally got motivated to put everything I've been working on in one place. Welcome! 

As for the latest in my showbiz life...

I recently wrapped shooting a short film with Director Michael Morgenstern  (Shabbat Dinner ) called Lily In the Grinder .  Story's about friendship and loss among three young men living in NYC who seem to experience haunting premonitions of a tragedy. Time, space and perception bend to create sort of a visual poem.  Can't wait to see the final product and was a pleasure working with co-stars David A. Gregory (One Life to Live ) and Dan Amboyer (William & Katherine).  My instagram feed (kwable) has some snaps and follow the film's FB page to keep posted! 

Thank you all for the love and support.