Things look­ing up for star of

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

To say Ku­nal Nayyar looks up to his wife would be an un­der­state­ment-he barely reaches the beauty queen’s shoul­der when she puts on stiletto heels for the red car­pet. But the “Big Bang The­ory” star, who mea­sures 5ft 7in (170 cen­time­ters) — three inches less than for­mer Miss In­dia Neha Ka­pur-has no rea­son for “short man syn­drome.”

Tow­er­ing astride the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try as one of the world’s best paid ac­tors, the 35-year-old Bri­tish-In­dian has be­come one of the big­gest celebri­ties in Hol­ly­wood. “I feel like the tallest guy in the room,” he tells AFP in an in­ter­view to pro­mote his lat­est project, a star­ring part in DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion’s “Trolls” along­side Justin Tim­ber­lake and Anna Ken­drick. “Maybe I’m the short guy who got the beau­ti­ful woman, I don’t know. I have no qualms about it. She’s not only a beau­ti­ful per­son, she’s also an amaz­ing hu­man be­ing.”

Nayyar has good rea­son for his easy self­con­fi­dence, hav­ing seen his salary bloom from $100,000 per episode to a re­ported $800,000 for his role in “The Big Bang The­ory,” known by its ded­i­cated fans as “BBT.”

He is mak­ing around $22 mil­lion a year, ac­cord­ing to Forbes, mak­ing him the world’s fourth high­est paid tele­vi­sion ac­tor, a short dis­tance be­hind three of his fel­low cast mem­bers.

There has been much spec­u­la­tion over whether sea­son 10 of BBT will be the last, and while Nayyar says he’s “not ready to say good­bye yet,” he is al­ready look­ing for­ward, with plans to star in Bol­ly­wood.

‘Hu­man­ity is love’

Out­side of the show, he re­cently took on a star­ring part in Jesse Eisen­berg’s ac­claimed play “The Spoils” and has a suc­cess­ful book-”not a mem­oir”-in stores, called “Yes, My Ac­cent Is Real.” “Trolls,” in­spired by the fuzzy-headed dolls pop­u­lar in the early 1990s, is set for re­lease in the US on Novem­ber 4.

Os­ten­si­bly for chil­dren, it fol­lows Poppy and Branch on their mis­sion to res­cue their friends from the Ber­gens, gi­ants who be­lieve the only way to lift their melan­choly is to eat the cute, col­or­ful trolls. Nayyar plays one of the cap­tives, an en­dear­ing lit­tle troll called Guy Di­a­mond who re­fuses to wear clothes and farts glit­ter as a means of spread­ing joy.

When he talks about the film’s mes­sage that “hu­man­ity is about pos­i­tiv­ity and love,” he comes across like his char­ac­ter-dis­arm­ingly an­i­mated. “It’s a film for both kids and adults and the mu­sic is in­cred­i­ble... And the world looks beau­ti­ful-the hair on the trolls, the glit­ter on Guy Di­a­mond, the qual­ity,” he en­thuses.

Born in Lon­don and brought up in New Delhi, Nayyar moved to the US at 18, ini­tially to pur­sue a busi­ness de­gree at the Univer­sity of Port­land, Ore­gon.

‘Good over­comes evil’

He was al­ready on BBT when he met Ka­pur on a trip to In­dia and mar­ried her there in 2011, in a lav­ish six-day cer­e­mony in­volv­ing white horses and 1,000 guests. The cou­ple were dubbed “Beauty and the Geek,” ir­ri­tat­ing Nayyar, who ad­mits he gets frus­trated by the me­dia con­flat­ing him with Raj, his shy, nerdish char­ac­ter on the sit­com.

“Trolls” comes out four days be­fore Amer­ica gives se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion to elect­ing Don­ald Trump, a pop­ulist pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who has po­lar­ized the pub­lic with his rhetoric on Mus­lims, Mex­i­cans and im­mi­gra­tion. “As an im­mi­grant, I am be­gin­ning to se­ri­ously worry-if Trump gets elected does that mean I could get de­ported and no more Raj?” he tweeted a few days be­fore his in­ter­view with AFP.

But the ac­tor-again, like his troll char­ac­ter-is an op­ti­mist at heart and clar­i­fies that he was be­ing “glib.” “I think the world is be­com­ing a smaller place and I re­ally do be­lieve in the bot­tom of my heart-and this may sound triv­ial to some peo­ple-that good al­ways over­comes evil,” he tells AFP.

“That’s why the uni­verse, the world, is where it is to­day. A lot of bad things have hap­pened in the past, in many dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions. Our par­ents sur­vived world wars. I think we’re go­ing to be okay.” — AFP

Ku­nal Nayyar (R) and Neha Ka­pur at­tend the pre­miere of 20th Cen­tury Fox’s “Trolls”, in West­wood, Cal­i­for­nia, on Oc­to­ber 8, 2016. — AFP

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