Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ajay Naidu.

b. February 12, 1972.
Ok, so you remember all those neat kids films about having some weird body swap or morph, like Freaky Friday and Big and 18 Again! and Like Father, Like Son? Well for my money, the best of those is a little movie from 1988 called Vice Versa, starring Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage as a father and son who swap bodies. Aside from the hilarity of seeing Reinhold playing a nine year old boy in a man's body, the film also has a teenage Ajay Naidu, playing a mean kid who picks on Savage at school.
     You get a lot of "It's that one guy who was in that other thing" moments with Naidu, because for a time there it seemed like he was the only young, cute, Indian guy appearing in American movies (now, with Kal Penn and Aziz Ansari, there are three! Progress.) Which meant that, any time a film called for a humourously accented convenience store clerk (as in Richard Linklater's SubUrbia) or cab driver (as in episodes of Monk and 30 Rock), it would be Naidu. And he's really distinctive and funny - much better than the comic stereotypes that those roles call for. He is probably most known for his role as Samir in the cult comedy Office Space, and for appearing in nearly all Darren Aronofsky's films to date (he has parts in Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and The Wrestler.)
     One thing that I've really enjoyed with writing these posts is seeing how fans react to these actors. Because they're not big stars people seem to feel they can address them directly, lay claim to them, be more familiar than they would be with the unreachable A-listers. Of course, this means on one hand, you get the crazy, like the bodyguard guy who was so fond of Linda Manz , but on the other hand you can get some really sweet interactions that you know probably made someone's day. On the discussion boards for Naidu on IMDB, several people have written things along the lines of Hey Ajay, we were in highschool/college/the neighbourhood hometown together. We're so proud of your success. And several times he's written back: I remember you, you were friends with my sister. Big respect to you and your family, Ajay. What a lovely guy. 

EDIT: Here's a link to a rather sweet piece about the building in which Office Space was shot.


  1. Oh, I just clicked that your images must be self-authored! They're really neat! And, for me, the visual impact of them gives a sense of how they stand out within the films they appear in. Cool!

  2. Thanks Allison! Yeah, that was the intention with the way I wanted them to work. It's nice to be drawing on the regular again after so many years.