British-Pakistani lad, Riz Ahmed is reaching new heights and made way on his own in the world of entertainment. He became the first actor of South-Asian descent to win an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor’ for The Night Of. And Riz Ahmed is all set to conquer the best of all worlds with his talent.
Ahmed has been featured on the British GQ magazine’s cover and could well become the first ‘brown Bond’. He shared his experience of joining the US television and how his life was while growing up in London. Ahmed has always stayed true to his roots and wants to change the stereotypical roles of Muslims in the entertainment industry.
The 35-year-old starred in the adaptation of The Reluctant Fundamentalist in 2012, which became his stepping stone toward success.
In the crime series The Night Of, he played the role of Nasir Khan, a Muslim living in the US and facing a murder charge alongside John Turturro. His role showed the clichéd portrayal of how Muslims are projected or treated overseas. After his role and success, he became the poster boy for Muslims in the entertainment industry and started to transcend diversity.
Explaining about his role in the crime series, Ahmed said that he came out with his own demons and the character did trouble him at times. In GQ Ahmed said, “It’s weird to say this, but at points, I almost felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown, while I was filming, physically and mentally.”
Ahmed is all about R&D, and it led him to research for the character of Nasir Khan in New York, and he met many people as well as inmates at the Rikers Island prison.
Ahmed never hesitates to speak his mind and had always been vocal about the issues faced by the Muslim community in the US after Trump’s Muslim ban. When he was asked about the travel issue in the US on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, two years back, he had said that he is still subjected to random secondary searches whenever he tries to enter the US. He further told that when he was growing up (in London), he felt like he had to qualify it by saying he is a British Pakistani. “But now it kind of feels like in this day and age, this is what British looks like. [It] looks like me, looks like Idris Elba, and hopefully, through Nasir Khan, people can see that that’s what Americans can look like as well.”
Last year Ahmed was named among the top most influential South-Asian in Britain with London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Ahmed is gearing up for his next project, the BBC documentary series Englistan, which will be based on three generation of British Pakistani family. The series will be in nine parts. Apart from that, he will also be seen in his first superhero movie Venom alongside Tom Hardy and The Sister’s Brother with Jake Gyllenhaal.
With all these major projects in hand, there is no stopping for Riz Ahmed, and he is destined for more. Yes, it is his time, and he is changing the scene for South Asians across continents.