“Master of None,” the new Netflix comedy co-created by Aziz Ansari, is one of the most critically-acclaimed new shows on television. One of the show’s standouts was the episode “Indians on TV,” which is about trying to be an Indian actor without resorting to stereotypes.
Actor Ravi Patel guest-starred in the episode, and argues with fellow actor Dev (Ansari) about whether or not it’s ok to do a stereotypical Indian accent while auditioning for roles. Patel thinks it’s fine, while Dev refuses.
However, their real-life differences on the issue almost made Patel turn down the role. Despite saying he was flattered, Patel told INSIDER that he initially said no.
“When I read it I thought it was kind of condescending to the blue collar Indian actor,” he explained. “He was talking a lot about how he doesn’t do the accent. I felt it was condescending to guys who do do the accent. I’m one of those guys, and I’m also friends with all of those guys, and I just have a lot of sympathy for the inherent kind of s****y role exposure that you have to endure if you’re a blue collar actor… just trying to work your way up to get to a place where you can say no…”
If you’ve seen the episode, this might sound familiar. Patel and Ansari talked it out in real life, and it was this disagreement that led Patel to being cast.
“He called back and he was like, ‘Hey man, I can see why you think that but that’s not at all what I want. In fact, that’s why I want you to do this,'” Patel said. “I just thought it was a really mature response.”
The entire first season of “Master of None” is now streaming on Netflix, and “Meet the Patels,” a documentary that Patel co-directed with his sister, Geeta, is playing in select theatres.
Story by Ian Phillips and editing by Chelsea Pineda
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