Bhaskar in 2015
31 October 1963 |
Ealing, London, England
|Medium||Comedian, actor, broadcaster|
|Notable works and roles||See below|
I've always saved. I believe in keeping money back for a rainy day and living within my means. I don't buy expensive clothes; I have a 10-year-old car I'm hoping to replace when a big job comes in. I suppose when we do go on family holidays, I am quite happy to spend when we are there.
I've always felt I had to prove myself, and now it has become second nature. When I first went to university, I took lodgings with a woman who said, 'What are the chances of you staining my pans?' I said, 'I don't think I understand the question...' and she said, 'When you cook your curries.'
It always interested me that 'Goodness Gracious Me' and 'The Kumars,' when shown around the world, were referred to as British comedy. It was only here that they were referred to as Asian comedy, even though I always felt it was very British in its humour and structure.
Both my parents were migrant workers who came to the U.K. in the Fifties to better themselves. The culture I grew up in was to work hard, save hard and to look after your family.
My mum thought my TV and film addiction was laziness. If you're an immigrant, you know you'll never be an accepted part of society, but you hope your children will be, and you try to make them essential to the community in a practical way - being a doctor or a lawyer. Acting was beyond their comprehension.
With 'Mumbai Calling,' I was surprised it was ITV that went for it because it didn't traditionally seem like the kind of programme they would make.
I was the first member of my family to cross into Pakistan and find his ancestral village.
The worst moment in my life was when I was seven years old and I discovered that there was a thing such as racism. You don't know you're different until someone lets you know.
'The Kumars'... played on five continents, and even when I came up with the idea, I was slightly surprised that no one else had.
I started working myself from about 14, really, so I wasn't a burden on my family. I did a paper round and a milk round. When I was 15 or 16, I worked in a supermarket on Saturdays stacking shelves, and then every summer I temped, right through university until my working days started.
Casting me as King Arthur was quite bold of 'Spamalot's producers, although it has been historically proved Arthur was Asian, and that Sunday trading started with Asians in 11th-century Britain.
I am officially a doctor, and believe it or not, I can save lives and tune certain instruments and can beat peasants with a stick.
Theatre has always been better disposed to colourblind casting than telly or film. Given that most television is contemporary, and it reaches 56 million people, I am disappointed there still isn't more representation.
I'm sure I went through a stage when I resented being Indian because in every other manner, in terms of cultural reference points and vocabulary and all the rest of it, I was way ahead of everybody else - so the one thing that set me back was being Indian. And I couldn't do anything about it.
During an early performance of 'Spamalot,' I left my regal gloves in the fridge to cool down and didn't remember them until I was on stage. They needed to be thawed overnight.
I love team sports - they give me something to focus on rather than the fact that I can't breathe or my muscles are aching.
On a radio drama, I'd like to feel that I had just as much chance of playing Mr. Darcy as anyone else because I can sound like him, yet many radio producers find it very difficult to extend their imaginations to employing anyone who's non-white.
One of the benefits for me of starting late in this business is I realised that if acting was the only thing I could do, I would struggle, so I always wrote as well.
We lived above my father's launderette. Both my parents ran the launderette, but my father was also a factory supervisor, and my mum worked part-time in an accounts office.
I think family, friends and a sense of community give you greater happiness than money. But, of course, one has to have a minimum on which to live. The joy I get from sitting around and having a laugh is immeasurable - much greater than anything that I have ever bought.
My mother says I was two and a half when I first mentioned I wanted to be an actor. My father said, 'The word is pronounced 'Doctor!'
Because of my Asian-ness, I couldn't be anonymous - what I said, what I ate, what I did at the weekend were startlingly different to what everyone else did. I was also a performer, quick and chameleon-like, good at accents, so that made me stand out.
I make terrible jokes every time I go into a hospital. I think it's a defence mechanism.