After more than two years, Netflix’s semi-autobiographical series “Special,” written by and starring Ryan O’Connell as a gay man with cerebral palsy, has received its second and final season, which introduces a slew of new characters as well as some old favourites. Ravi, Kim’s (Punam Patel) childhood buddy and romantic interest, is one of the new characters who appears in the final three episodes of the new season.
If you glanced at Ravi and thought to yourself, “Hm, I feel like I’ve seen him before,” you probably have. Utkarsh Ambudkar, who has portrayed a variety of memorable roles throughout the years, ranging from humorous to dramatic, plays the character.
He’s also a fantastic musician, rhyming with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan, and other excellent rappers in the hip-hop comedy group Freestyle Love Supreme.
Here are a few places where you might have seen Ambudkar before.
Utkarsh Ambudkar’s Major Break Came When He Rapped In Pitch Perfect.
Ambudkar has played a rapper in several of his early roles, which is fitting given that he’s been a member of Freestyle Love Supreme since 2005 under the stage moniker UTK the INC.
He also appeared in “The Me Nobody Knows,” “Rafta, Rafta…,” and “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” among other off-Broadway productions. One fun fact from this period of Ambudkar’s career: During developmental readings for “Hamilton,” he played Aaron Burr before handing the role over to Leslie Odom Jr., who won a Tony for his epic turn as the man who shot A. Ham (Miranda).
Ambudkar’s huge cinematic break came as a result of his rapping abilities.
After appearing in a couple films with Anna Kendrick, including 2007’s “Rocket Science,” Ambudkar reunited with her in 2012’s blockbuster hit “Pitch Perfect,” playing Donald, a member of The Bellas’ rival group, the Treblemakers.
Ambudkar had the opportunity to show off his remarkable musical and acting capabilities to a global audience as one of the lead rappers, beatboxers, and vocalists, opening the door for many huge roles to come as one of the lead rappers, beatboxers, and vocalists.
Basmati Blues Gave Ambudkar His First Leading Part.
Following “Pitch Perfect,” Ambudkar appeared in a number of other films, most of which were comedies.
Parminder in 2015’s “Freaks of Nature,” Amir in “Ride Along 2,” and Raja in “Barbershop: The Next Cut” are among them.
However, one of the actor’s first big parts occurred in the 2017 musical “Basmati Blues,” in which he plays Rajit, an Indian farmer who falls in love with Linda, an American scientist (Brie Larson).
They collaborate to prevent the importation of genetically modified rice into the country. Unfortunately, the film was heavily criticised for its use of racial stereotypes and the “White Savior” cliche, and as a result, it underperformed (via NPR).
Fortunately, in the 2019 film “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” he reprises his role as Jern Dahn, the romantic interest of the titular marathon-running Brittany (Jillian Bell).
In the same year, he won two additional supporting roles as Rin in “Blindspotting” and Bae Awandi in “Game Over, Man!” Even “Basmati Blues” couldn’t stop Ambudkar’s meteoric rise.
On The Mindy Project, Ambudkar Makes His Major TV Debut As Mindy’s Younger Brother.
Rishi Lahiri, the younger brother of the titular Mindy (Mindy Kaling) on “The Mindy Project,” was one of Ambudkar’s first major TV appearances.
Throughout the show’s run from 2013 to 2017, he appears in ten episodes. Rishi is a struggling rapper on the show, which is a far cry from Ambudkar’s true talent and success.
In addition, he plays Malcolm, protagonist and budding comedian Floyd’s (Jay Pharoah) agent, on the short-lived 2017 series “White Famous,” in which he plays a man who doesn’t always have his client’s best interests at heart. In a 2016 role on ABC’s “The Muppets,” Ambudkar plays the bizarrely titled human character Pizza.
He also features in the documentary “The Problem with Apu,” in which he discusses how “The Simpsons” character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon influenced the perspective of South Asian-American entertainers and even their careers.
Ambudkar Continues To Put On A Show That Is Both Humorous And Profound.
Ambudkar also appeared as Raj in Season 2 of “Brockmire” in 2018. Raj is the main character’s competitor and broadcasting colleague. In the same year, he starred as Sanjay Kahn in the six-episode Amazon Prime series “Bartlett.” Sanjay (Chrissy Mazzeo) is Maggie’s (Chrissy Mazzeo) results-oriented lover who has empathy issues.
In Season 2 of “Never Have I Ever,” he played Mr. Kulkarni, an English teacher at Devi Vishwakumar’s (Meitreyi Ramakrishnan) school, in 2021.
Ambudkar also played Skatch, a con artist, in the live-action remake of “Mulan” due out in 2020, but his sequence was tragically removed.
With the release of “Godmothered” on Disney+ that same year, he received his next chance to appear in a Disney film for real. Grant, Eleanor’s ruthless boss, is played by the actor (Bell).
Ambudkar’s résumé already demonstrates his versatility, and it’s evident that he’ll be a performer to watch in the future years.
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