Kumail Nanjiani didn't always love Riz Ahmed. He was too talented, too refined, and Nanjiani, 39, had no choice but to despise him. Such is the competitive nature of Hollywood. Now, he loves Riz Ahmed; they're friends. The Silicon Valley actor and standup comedian penned an essay for The Hollywood Reporter about his fitful relationship with Ahmed, who became a household name with the HBO show The Night Of.
It began with Four Lions. "The first time I saw Riz was in Four Lions. He was hilarious, vulnerable and angry," Nanjiani writes. "I thought, 'I hate this guy.'"
Then, Nanjiani saw Rogue One. Nanjiani is a Pakistani immigrant and Ahmed is of Pakistani descent. Seeing an action hero on screen that resembled himself made Nanjiani soften.
"I saw a guy who looked like me playing an action hero in a Star Wars movie. And I started getting tears in my eyes. I thought of kids who looked like me seeing Riz kick ass on screen. I smiled and fought back tears. I couldn't hate him anymore," says Nanjiani.
"Not hating" is different from love, though. I don't hate Baked By Melissa cupcakes. That doesn't mean I'm ordering a 24-pack anytime soon, though. Nanjiani fell in love with Ahmed when he met the Rogue One actor in person.
Nanjiani's laundry list of Reasons To Love Riz Ahmed: "He's kind, he likes good food, and he is passionate about making South Asians feel like they are a valuable part of pop culture and the world at large."
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