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Thursday, December 09, 2021

Kumail Nanjiani on playing MCU’s first South-Asian superhero in Eternals: ‘Had to put the responsibility out of my mind’

Kumail Nanjiani was asked whether he felt any pressure or a sense of responsibility for his Eternals role. Kingo is big step in South-Asian representation in commercial cinema.

Written by Kshitij Rawat | New Delhi |
November 3, 2021 7:50:49 am
kumail nanjiani, Eternals , kumail nanjiani EternalsEternals releases on November 5. (Photo: Reuters)

Comedian-actor Kumail Nanjiani makes his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut with Chloe Zhao’s Eternals. He portrays the role of one of the titular beings that have secretly lived among humans on earth for over 7000 years.

Kumail’s character in the film is called Kingo, who lives on earth as a Bollywood film star. Since Eternals were tasked only to counter their misshapen counterparts called Deviants, they have assumed secret identities to blend among the mortals.

The actor had to not just get in prime shape, he also had to learn complex Bollywood dance moves to essay the character. For Kumail, putting on a superhero costume was an experience in itself.

Kumail Nanjiani recalled the experience while in conversation with He said in an answer to a question that the costume was put on piece by piece and the first time it is done, “you have a very emotional reaction. I remember just standing up straighter and walking out on the set, and everyone looking at the costume for the first time. And everyone applauded. It was definitely a day I’ll never forget. It helped that the costumes were actually very comfortable. Made me feel very cool.”

We also asked him whether he felt any pressure or a sense of responsibility for the role. Kingo is big step in South-Asian representation in commercial cinema. He is the first superhero from South-Asia in MCU, beating out Kamala Khan actor Iman Vellani as her Disney+ series Ms Marvel will not come out until next year.

Nanjiani said, “The responsibility is a real thing, because there haven’t been other South Asian superheroes in the MCU, or any other Hollywood mainstream movie for that matter. But I had to put it out of my mind, because I had to do a good job as this character. I can’t represent every South Asian person in the world, because we’re all completely different, right? So while there is that responsibility, I want to do a good job. Something like that can really weigh heavily on you. I want to do a good job at this. And hopefully, we’re going to get enough South Asian superheroes that never falls to one person to represent us.

Eternals releases on November 5.

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