Actor Kal Penn shares scripts revealing Indian stereotypes in Hollywood

  • Actor Kal Penn shares scripts revealing Indian stereotypes in Hollywood

Actor Kal Penn shares scripts revealing Indian stereotypes in Hollywood

Penn recoiled from the seemingly rampant belief that casting someone to speak in a pronounced accent would immediately provoke laughter.

He said that lots of Indian characters in TV scripts are not named at all. He had a high profile role in the TV sitcom How I Met Your Mother and now stars opposite Kiefer Sutherland in the show Designated Survivor.

Kal Penn took to Twitter yesterday to share some of the scripts that he's received over the years which he thinks perpetuate racial stereotypes in Hollywood.

"Found a bunch of old scripts from some of my first years trying to be an actor", he wrote alongside a photo of a document calling for such characters as Gandhi Lookalike, Snake Charmers and Fire Eaters.

Penn also recalled several occasions of pushing back against having to use over-the-top and unnecessary Hindu accents and being asked to make an accent "more authentic".

Apu is an Indian animated character on "The Simpsons". It was for a pilot called "The Stones", according to Penn.

Penn - American born to Indian parents - is best known for his role as Kumar Patel in the Harold & Kumar films, as well as Lawrence Kutner in House.

The parts were for shows running in the 90s, including Sabrina the Teenage Witch and King of Queens. We got INTO it about why he had to have an accent. "I'm laughing about it now but they were such d--s".

Penn said for one pilot, called The Stones, he asked to speak without an Indian accent and to "make it amusing on the merits", but was told no.

Penn was offered and accepted the role of Prajeeb on "Sabrina". Mr Penn also auditioned for a role in The King Of Queens, a show he "loved" till he was asked to audition for a character named Sanjib - the name was made the butt of jokes.

The actor did note that he had some "wonderful" experiences on projects like The Steve Harvey Show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and 24.

He also starred in the medical drama "House" from 2007-2009, and praised creator David Shore for casting "largely color & gender blind".